Friday, June 11, 2010

Wasps and Fear

Yesterday, as I was leaving the church, I spotted a speckled moth on the sidewalk. Wanting to capture this extraordinary creature on film, I hopped over to my car, opened the door, and grabbed my camera. Enamored by the beautiful bug, I forgot to close the door.

After satisfying my curiosity with pictures, I returned to my car, set my crutches aside, and started to step in. That's when I saw it: a small, formidable flying insect with a narrow stalk connecting its thorax and abdomen. My failure to remain guarded had made passage for a wasp to sneak into my car. It arose and hovered over my backseat like a wall cloud, waiting for the opportune moment to drop its stinger into my skin. I shut the door, and scurried a safe distance away. Maybe I can call someone to come pick me up. But then I realized that my phone was being held captive in the wasp's new lair. I would have to lure the creature out. Timidly, I approached the car and opened the door, hoping the fearsome insect would voluntarily abandon his stuffy stronghold for the open air. Then I waited.

For as long as I can remember, I've been terrified of wasps. My fear may stem from a childhood experience in which my older brother was stung on the ear and had an allergic reaction. On that day, I learned that even the strong could be weakened by this small yet menacing creature. But knowing the source of my fear has not diminished it.

Sweat was starting to form on my brow as I waited for the wasp to emerge. There was movement. The wasp made its way toward the open door. Just a little bit farther... Yes! It's out! I raced to slide into my seat but, taking advantage of my handicap, the wasp flew in before I could close the door. So, out I hobbled and continued to wait.

When I was eight years old, my friend Isaac and I used to spend the afternoon catching butterflies. When Isaac suggested we catch wasps instead, I was quick to find an alibi in his little brother. Feigning concern for the well being of this mere babe, I took Toby by the hand and got outta dodge quicker than a fugitive running from the law.

And now my arch enemy had returned, taking up residency in the only vehicle that could transport me home. Maybe I'll just walk home. Enclose my fear in the locked car and hope it suffocates. Avoid it for now, and maybe it will be dead when I return. I even took a few steps in that direction before realizing how ridiculous my plan was. The trek was over a mile, up and down hills, and I was on crutches. Oh, what great lengths I will go in order to avoid that which I fear!

But no. I would stay. The next time my nemesis showed his face, I would shut the door with my crutch and wait for him to fly away. And that's eventually what happened. The wasp flew out, the door shut, and I waited until the coast was clear before entering my vehicle. But as I drove away, the wasp made one last appearance at my windshield. With the security of the shield between us, I let out a little laugh, mocking my Fear. It hovered as if to say, "You haven't seen the last of me yet! Until we meet again..." I shuttered and drove home, glad for the reprieve but aware that though I had won the battle, I had not yet won the war.

Now, if only wasps were the worst of my fears...


  1. That poor wasp was probably just as terrified of you...

    Happy birthday! I hope you don't meet anything with a stinger today.

  2. True. That's why I had to be wary because frightened wasps are more apt to sting! :-)