Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Grass Is Always Greener

I went over to my Dad's house about a week ago to mow his lawn while he's in Florida with my Grandmother. The strange part is that he's been away for about two months and the thing is barely overgrown. I wonder if maybe one of his neighbors got irritated with it overgrown and decided to take care of it themselves.

As I'm going to work, I notice this hoodlum looking kid walking by, giving me the eye over. I say "Whaddup" using a familiar dialect of the English language known as Ebonix in order to retain my street status.

It's important to call attention to two things here. First of all, I grew up in NYC, so I learned how to mingle street slang with my education. It creates an interesting duality when you can say something like, "I had mad epiphanies last night, dogg. It was some seriously wacked out conundrum, but keep it on the DL." Ok, that was horrible, but you get the idea. Secondly, my father's house has been broken into and robbed a few times, which is weird because he lives in a good neighborhood, right next to a high school. Therein, however, may be the problem. So whenever I see a hoodlum lookin' fella around, I get my street cred and say my thing, kinda like pissing on the lawn to mark my territory.

So anyway, I'm just going about my business, in the middle of some grass with nothing around when something hurts. I figure, illogically, that something kicked up behind me, because it's not common to get random pains on the cheek of your ass. I'm also trying to play cool while this dude is giving me the eye. So I slyly give my rump a little bit of a rub just to take the edge off. Keep it cool, Johnny, keep it cool...

All of a sudden I feel a pain in my calf. What the hell is that? And then, the noise. That horrible, shiver-up-the-spine noise.


I let go of the lawn mower and swat by my head. BAM! Another pain in my leg, and soon, more and more all over my lower body. I yell like an absolute lunatic, barely registering the fact that the lawn mower has taken awhile to shut off, and that the hoodlum is looking at me in a way that says, I will NEVER walk down this street again. I'm tearing my shirt off while I'm running into the house. Unbuckling my pants. Bzzzzz. Bzzzzzz. Pinch. Pinch.

Now, I'm officially yelling. GODDAMNIT GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!!! Shoes, socks, clothes, all completely off. My dad, however, in the effort to conserve waste, has shut all the hot water off, and I remember this popping into my head briefly as I turn on the cold, COLD shower and jump in. All clear.

Visibly shaken, cold, wet, and violated, I walk downstairs and pick up my phone. "Dad, I'm not gonna get your lawn done today. I got stung by a few bees." He tells me about the Benadryl spray in the bathroom cabinet and suggests I might want to look into an application. I go in the bathroom, and hear the buzzing. "I'm gonna wait awhile, Pop, let things calm down. I'll call you later."

In that bathroom, flying around, is the one yellow jacket that survived my thrashing, slashing, and dousing of water. That one damned little thing. I grab a newspaper, roll it up, and I'm attempting to gingerly work my way in the bathroom. It lands on the wall cabinet, and I take a shot, but it flies up into the lights. Crack... fizzle... One light down, and I don't care. I wait, and wait, finally getting my moment to stun it on the wall. It falls to the sink counter. At this point, my nerves are done and now I'm pissed, because this yellow jacket is going to pay for all it's kind and all the hive. Whack...WHACK...WHACKWHACKWHACKWHACK Over and over. I think I swatted it about 20 times AFTER it was visibly dead. Huffing and puffing, I scoop it up, into the toilet and flush.

I win.

Well, I finally just pack up and go to the pharmacy, but I'm already limping and acting a little funny. Keep in mind, I'm not really allergic to stings, but I do have a little reaction. I ask the pharmacist for a recommendation and she cheerily comes out to show me, and notices I'm walking a little funny.

"Are you allergic to bee stings?"

"I dunno. I doubt it, I've been stung before, so I think I'm ok." This roughly translates to, "I'm an idiot and go looking for bees, just to have a little adventure in my life. I hate myself." I can see this registering in her eyes.

"Good luck, this should help."

"Do you have the spray kind?" I ask.

"Oh, um, sure. Right here."


I wobble away quickly, not really wanting to take the time to chat, pay for my stuff, and head over to see a friend at work. By now, I'm walking really funny, and I'm getting light headed. I walk up to the counter at the YMCA and say hello. She's working with another girl there, and the girl says, "Oh, as you were walking up, I was thinking either this guy is really stoned, or he's totally crazy." I've never met this chick before. I smile at her just because I don't really want to tell this stupid girl how Darwin postulated that she wouldn't breed.

I hang out there for a bit and head home, because I'm pretty woosy. I go to check the results of my battle, and find out I have stings numbering like so:

1 on the left ankle
3 on the left calf
1 on the right ankle
1 on the right calf
2 on my ass, 1 inch apart (these were the ones that swelled up the worst)

I had trouble sitting down for most of the day and night, but I managed. The worst part is, now that it's over a week later, I'm itching like a madman, and it just won't stop. I'm starting to wear holes in my legs. Ah, the joys of nature have taught me another valuable lesson....

THEY win.


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