Life happens: When nature attacks

By Aprill Brandon
May 9, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.

I've lived in a variety of places - the Midwest, South Texas, Boston. And each place has its own unique set of pros and cons.

For example, the Ohio countryside where I grew up has some of the most spectacular sunsets on the planet. On the downside, every single road in that state is currently under construction and will continue to be under construction until the end of the world (and even then, the roaches that survive will still have to deal with only one lane being open on Interstate 75 as they make their way home from the Twinkie factory).

South Texas has some of the best food I have ever tasted, bar none. On the downside? I'm still recovering from a sunburn I got down there in 2006.

And Boston? Well, the biggest con is that everything costs approximately 10 more dollars than I can actually afford. But the biggest pro?

I don't have to deal with nature. And any nature I do deal with is of the "park" variety, meaning morbidly obese squirrels and unnecessarily aggressive birds.

At least, so I thought - until a couple of days ago, which is when I had to surrender my back porch.

I'm not even sure how it happened. One minute, I'm sitting out there with my cup of coffee, enjoying the spring sunshine and the next - well, the next I'm on the losing side of a vicious battle I didn't even know I was involved in until it was too late.

But perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Everything you've ever read about me and insects is true (I know this for a fact since if you've read anything about me, it was written by me since I am the only one who feels I am important enough to write about).

At this point, I've had so many epic battles with bugs and other vermin that I'm practically a seasoned four-star general (that loses a lot, including losing three and a half of her stars, which were carried off by a bunch of fire ants).

So you would think at this point, I'd be used to it. But I'm not. That's why when a seemingly friendly bumblebee tried to become all buddy-buddy with me by hovering directly in front of my face, I freaked out and did the wacky, wavy, inflatable-arm-flailing tube man dance, swatting him away in the process.

Sure, the bumblebee probably meant no harm. But I'm a big believer in there is a reason nature was invented, and that reason is so bugs have some place to live far away from me so I don't have to see their stupid faces.

Now, that whole episode in and of itself wasn't that big of a deal. But then, not even five minutes later, a wasp decided to check out the situation, which is when I freaked out again and threw my remaining coffee in his general direction.

Then suddenly, it got quiet.

A little too quiet, if you know what I mean.

And just when I thought it was all over, that's when, for the first time in recorded history, a wasp and a bumblebee put aside their differences (and centurylong feud over whose stinger was bigger) to come together to defeat a common enemy.


Now granted, I can't be too sure of the details considering they hatched their plan out of my sight, but I'm pretty confident what happened next is the bug version of an '80s movie montage:

SCENE ONE: Bumblebee and Wasp, both indignant over my treatment of them, spread out a blueprint of my back porch and look very serious while pointing at things and sticking pencils behind their ears.

SCENE TWO: Rapid-fire images of them running up steps, lifting weights, boxing each other, running up steps again, dragging a Matchbox car behind them with a tiny rope, a close-up of their bug muscles in action and finally reaching the top of the steps where they do a total rip-off of Rocky.

SCENE THREE: Obligatory dressing room scene where they take turns coming out of the dressing room dressed in different military/ninja/soldier gear while the other one shakes his head no, followed by one coming out in a ballroom dress (for some cheap laughs) finally followed by the perfect outfit, which is exactly what they were wearing before.

SCENE FOUR: The two of them sawing some wood and using those fire thingies that weld stuff and you have to wear those creepy masks like in "Flashdance" that I was never allowed to use in shop class after a completely innocent incident where Pete Mackleroy's hair caught on fire.

All of which culminates in the following ingenious plan:

"OK, Wasp, so I'll keep dive-bombing her head while you guard the door by repeatedly running your body into it."

Yes, for no less than 15 minutes, I was held hostage in the corner of my porch while these two played out their evil plan. They had even anticipated my counter-tactic of crawling across the porch floor, military-style, in a desperate bid to reach the door.

It's all kind of a blur now, but somehow - by some miracle and no shortage of pure, unadulterated bravery on my part - I managed to finally run inside and slam the door behind me, leaving them glaring at me from behind the glass.

And that's where they still currently are - manning their posts, refusing to let me back outside. And laughing their tiny, stupid, bug-faced laughs.

I guess I really only have myself to blame. I did strike the first blow.

Although, after relaying this story to my friend Billy, it could be that I'm actually an unwitting participant in some sort of conspiracy. Which means, if Billy is right, this whole harrowing experience was actually the bumblebee and wasp running interference for some shady caterpillars cooking up meth in the corner of the porch.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at



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