Thursday, May 31, 2012

Buzzer Beater

All right, Nature. I get it. Perhaps I'm not spending enough time with you, and you feel the need to come to me. Because as I was unloading groceries from my car last week, I happened to look up and see a wasp's nest hanging inside my trunk lid. Not cool, Nature. Not cool.

There was a single wasp perched on the baseball-sized structure. I immediately froze. I looked at it. It looked at me. And I know we were thinking the exact same thing:

"This shit just got real."

But I still had perishables to unpack, so I closed my trunk and went inside. I then placed a call to my dad, a veteran of many wasp battles, to inquire about an appropriate plan of attack. Upon hearing my predicament, he laughed for a full minute. Then we strategized.

Having been stung before, I wasn't terribly worried about anaphylactic shock. But I did know that that little sucker was capable of stinging me multiple times, and I didn't know if he had friends. I wanted to end the night after sustaining the fewest injuries possible (which I think is a good aim every day).

So the second time I popped the trunk, I did so with a can of insecticide in one hand. I was all, "I'm here to unload groceries and kick ass. And I'm all outta groceries."

And the wasp was all ... dead. It was a bit anticlimactic, really. I grabbed an old license plate, flipped the nest out of the trunk, and then stomped on it for good measure.

When I told my sister this story, she said, "Aren't you afraid there will be hornets in your car now?"

Well, I wasn't . . . until she said that. Perhaps I'll just have to drive around with the windows down more often. Let a bit of nature in. And, if that little bit of nature is airborne and angry and full of poison, maybe let it out.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh, Duck

Last year, I wrote the following post:

This spring, I had the great misfortune to see a mother duck lead her ten chicks across a parking lot and into a picturesque little pond not far from my apartment.

I say misfortune because, as I watched their tiny, fuzzy bodies plunk one by one into the water, I knew I would have to closely monitor this family all summer long. They had adopted me, and they didn't even realize it.

So every week I would pause briefly on a bench after work and watch them paddle around, cheep-cheeping and sticking their little butts in the air as they dove and splashed. And I would conduct a head count, just to make sure there were still ten, none of them having been nabbed by a predator or squashed by a passing car.

When I mentioned this compulsion to keep tabs on the ducks to one of my coworkers, he demanded to know why these animals were so irresistible. But you can't really explain that level of cuteness. So he posed a Sophie's choice question purely out of deviousness. "Okay then, would you rather lose one of the ducklings, or have a baby fox starve to death?"

After some horrified thought, I finally had to admit, "Well, I guess ten is kind of an embarrassment of riches."

I felt a bit guilty about that answer. Until a few nights later when, driving home from this same coworker's house, I almost hit a fox that darted across the road. But I didn't. I spared him. So I believe I earned the right to keep my fine-feathered family intact.

They're so grown up now that I can't tell which are my original ducklings and which are just your run-of-the-mill Mallards. But sometimes I wonder if they recognize me, ever watchful. #11.

This year, I'd hoped to avoid the responsibility of worrying about yet another family. So you can imagine my consternation when I walked out of my building last week and saw this:


Monday, May 7, 2012

Devil in the Details

Perhaps I'll take the order number as a sign that I should limit my fast food intake.