Thursday, March 3, 2011

My biggest fear

A yellowjacket.  Just looking at this thing gives me the chills.
When the weather starts to get chilly, I eagerly anticipate the return of my normal warm and/or hot Florida weather.  I was born and raised here and when the temperatures are to go below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, I wind up pulling on the jackets.  I feel absurd as I do so, but what'll you do?

So, as I said, I really look forward to warm weather and summer.  But I forgot one thing that summer brings. One thing I could rather do without.

Bees.

I am terrified of the suckers and all of their stinging cousins like wasps, yellowjackets, hornets, horseflies... you name it, it's got me fairly paralyzed with fear.  We could owe all of this to the wasp sting I got (through clothing) when I was 6.  They certainly scared me enough after that.

But my fear hit a new level when I was around thirteen years old.

My dad had a business thing up in Georgia and the whole family went to a barbecue on Lake Lanier.  We anticipated a day of regulatory fun in the sun.  While walking from the lake back up to the lakehouse, I felt a sharp pain on my shoulder and screamed, stopping dead in my tracks to clutch at it.

That would have been bad enough for me.  But the next thing my family and I knew we were surrounded by a buzzing swarm of yellowjackets.  They flew into my hair and my mom's, rested on our backs and we started running, screaming through the woods like we were being shot at.  My dad swatted at the suckers with his shirt, my hands were in front of my face trying to protect it.  I lost my shoes somewhere along the way, along with my purse.  My brother was stung three times in the forehead, and we all kept running.

Right into the barbecue.

Just imagine for a minute being at a casual business barbecue and suddenly having a family of four come sprinting in, screaming, chased by a swarm.

The other people there started swatting them off of us and stomping the nasties to death and things gradually calmed down.  After being stung eleven times, I was something of a sniffling, shuddering, terrified mess.

So at least now if I ever freeze in the presence of a stinging insect in front of you... you understand why.
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