Monday, August 29, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

an irrational fear of wasps

Sometimes the story does not go the way you plan.

The plan was to go home and collapse after training.  I was feeling ill, and there was a storm coming.  I was going to sort through files and watch the storm come in, maybe do some laundry if I felt up to it but otherwise relax and recuperate.

Then I saw the wasp.

I don't actually know if I'm really allergic to them, but they have always scared the bejeebers out of me.  Our basement used to be a haven for them.  Every spring, I would have to dodge the lurching zombie wasps coming to life as spring called to them even though it was still barely above freezing in our basement.

I have an irrational fear of wasps.  I think of them roughly the same way Allie thinks of spiders.  (Note the tattoos.)

And so I nearly ran down three flights of stairs and told the apartment manager about the wasp in the apartment and what I thought might be a wasp nest outside the window (I had thought it to be a bird's nest, but now I feared I was wrong).  Then I watched the wasp from the hall as it held me hostage.  For half an hour.  I prayed that it was a loner wasp with no friends at all.  An anorectic loner wasp, the only one of its kind able to squeeze through whatever hole/opening it had used to invade my home.

The manager sent the handyman up, and he whacked it and couldn't find the corpse and put in some more packing around the AC, which had lots of gaps after the last time he fixed it, apparently.  He was sorry he couldn't produce a corpse, but he whacked it pretty hard, so he was sure it was dead.  I want to see the body before I believe anything, but I know I have trust issues I need to work on, so I had to let him go when his phone rang the second time.

Later that night as the rains came down, I heard a familiar angry buzzing that sent a jolt of terror to the already not-feeling-so-hot pit of my stomach (also my spine and brain stem).  I turned around slowly, and there it was, dive bombing my recently turned on lights.  As soon as he moved away from the lights, I turned them off and looked at him.

No, it wasn't a zombie wasp; it was a recovered-from-near-death art-loving wasp hanging out around my painting where I couldn't kill it even if I wanted to, which I didn't, but it's not like I could call the poor maintenance guy back from his house  40 minutes away after hours just on the off chance that the thing might kill me overnight.

And so I stood in the hallway watching it and feeling sick and going through my options.  I could leave it alone and hope it left.  I could hide in my bedroom.  I could try to kill it, make it mad, and die.  I did not like any of these options.

After another half hour of being a hostage, I had enough.  I was not going to go hide out in my bedroom after stuffing something impenetrable in the two inch gap under the door.  (If I did that, I had no doubt he would be waiting for me the next morning in the bathroom, knife in hand and swastika tattoo firmly in place.)  I was going to kill the darned thing or quite possibly die trying.  I had files to sort, dagnabbit!

I moved furniture carefully out of the way, so that if I wounded him, I wouldn't have bits scattered on my couch or trapped behind something where once again, I could not confirm the death.  I kept both eyes on him at all times, but he was quite dedicated to art appreciation (I hope not a she laying eggs on my painting).

Space cleared, breathing ridiculously hard, and with a solid 2005 newspaper in hand, I turned on the light and lured the creature over to a whackable place.  Pushing down my fear (that if I did it wrong, the wasp would ride the breeze (of my failed whacking) up the newspaper and to my hand, where he would sting me, and I would die all alone, unable to even reach the phone to call for help), I whacked that thing like I my life really depended on this one blow. 

Then I pathetically took eight tries to brush him off the bookshelf with the humorously shaking newspaper onto the floor where I placed the newspaper nervously on top of him like a shroud, watching for any signs of sudden resurrection, and then stomped the ever living crap out of him just to be sure.  Controlling my ridiculous almost-sobbing, I then took the newspaper out into the hallway and left it there.  Yep, I didn't even have to worry about trying to scoop him off the floor, whimpering the whole time.  He was one with the newspaper.

I didn't even want to put it in the trash in my apartment because what if he came alive again or all his friends came seeking vengeance?  (I want them to be unsure of who killed him and fair-minded enough to know that they can't just punish random people without proof.) 

I'll take him to the dumpster tomorrow on the way to work when I'm a bit less hysterical.

The end.  I really, really, really pray that's the end.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

on being a scary book lady

"It's like you're a scary cat lady . . . only with books." - a friend
There are a lot of reasons I hate moving, but one of the worst is book damage anxiety.  I pack them with love and care in precise and scientific ways to lower the chance of damage, but the fact is that after carrying 25 boxes up two flights of stairs, people helping me move cannot realistically be expected to treat my book boxes with the gentleness I would like.   I cannot blame them; they are saints to be helping in the first place.

It also rained during a part of the move, and by "rained," I mean "something sometimes akin to a monsoon."  Two boxes were casualties of this water; neither of them contained books.  Go ahead and breathe that sigh of relief with me. 

One bookcase did die, but it has been propped up sufficiently to be able to shuffle along as a zombie until the next move when it will surely perish.  May it rest in peace for the years that elapse before that next move . . .

I unpack the book boxes first because they take up the most space but also because I don't want them to be crammed and cramped for any longer than they have to be.  I unpack with fear and trembling, mourning each bent corner and new scrape, the same sorts of injuries I myself end up getting in the course of a move.  At least books don't bleed as much as I do.

I love touching all my books again.  I'm the kind of person who loves shelving and alphabetizing books, getting (re)acquainted, especially this time since I was separated from 75% of them for almost a year due to allergies. 

It's not like I never visited them; the visits were just hurried and infrequent because my mom didn't think I should be at my offsite library storage site alone since I live in the Big City.  The separation anxiety wasn't terrible all the time, but sometimes, I would really wish I could run my fingers over the spines and curl up with a certain something that was temporarily out of my grasp.  On occasion, it was maddening. 

Now we are all together again.  Or we will be when those extra shelves and pegs arrive, and I can unpack the last of the caged nonfiction and poetry . . .

Looking forward to that glorious day,

Monday, August 1, 2011

in case you were wondering

I fell off the face of the earth due to packing for a move, moving, and unpacking.  I'm still unpacking, but there may be a return to our regular posting schedule soon . . .