Dances with Wasps
Yes this is a terrible play on a movie that I was forced to watch during my history GCSE, but it is a tale about wasps, even if the rest isn't true: For the longest time I have had a weird relationship with these common summer pests, however its not the regular fear of being stung (which I have been now TWICE) but instead is something a bit...weirder. Let me take you through a journey of my life and my good friend; the wasp.
It all began in the summer of 1995: A wasp flew into my arm crease when I wasn't looking and stung me. This is a pretty regular encounter that instilled in me a completely understandable fear of any wasp within two meters of me, so lets fast forward all the way to October 2011. At the time I was living in house in Chalk Farm with a Zimbabwean family and two women in their thirties, which by itself isn't really the regular University halls experience you hear most students talk about. I had a tendency to go to sleep quite late either from partying or just surfing the internet but this night I must have gone to sleep at a reasonable hour with my light still on. I was woken at around 10pm by the faint sound of buzzing and my immediate reaction was to stay under the covers as still as possible. After plucking up the courage to peek my head out of the duvet I saw a wasp on the wall next to my lamp. As it was late and the elderly grandfather slept in the next room I quickly switched off the light and hid back inside my bed. When I woke in the morning it had gone, so surely i'd dreamed the whole thing, right?
(Above - me: a young, wasp tormented 20 year old)
The next night I nervously went to bed after examining my room, only to be awoken at 2am by a 'tap'. This was followed by another 'tap', and another. It was coming from outside. I shone the torch from my phone on the tiny window near my bed and that's when I saw them; at least a dozen wasps flying directly at my window and headbutting it one after another. It was like a scene from a horror movie. I managed to somehow get to sleep, only to be met with more weirdness the next morning. Walking out onto the landing, I looked down to see the grandfather very matter-of-factly sweeping up hundreds of dead wasps from the stairs. During my time living there I woke up from a night out covered in bruises and on a separate occasion was burgled. Needless to say from that point on-wards I considered wasps to be somewhat of an omen of bad things to come.
In the years since I have encountered dead wasps on a number of occasions in situations that were eventually ill fated; a single dead wasp in the doorway when moving into an apartment (in October), a single dead wasp near the doorway to an office where I would not work very long and even a sting in the neck at 4am during a relationship that wasn't meant to be. Although October tends to be the time of year that wasps come inside to escape from the cold and lack of food in their environment, it just seemed like I was some sort of wasp magnet. When my now partner and I decided to get together I had to inform him of this strange fear I had. Now, Daniel and I have known each other since high school so hearing me say to him 'bad things happen when I see wasps,' didn't make him bat an eyelid. On the day we moved into our first home together (another cold October morning), a wasp flew in through the living room window and I just stood there and cried. Any regular man who saw his girlfriend standing, sobbing looking at a wasp on their moving day would probably have run a mile from the nutter, but not this keeper of a man. He hugged me and softly said 'but look, it's alive this time!'
Fast forward to today and upon opening our conservatory doors I saw a wasp, struggling on the floor, clearly exhausted and close to death. I spent 45 minutes feeding this little guy sugar water, raspberries, flipping him the right way up and striving to keep him alive. It didn't work and he eventually must have had enough and popped it, but the important breakthrough is that I was not afraid of him. Whilst I lifted the little fella outside I felt like id given him my best effort, just as he and his mates had in trying to give me warnings all these years.