I happily crawled around weeding in spider-filled soil, with bumblebees buzzing around in the blueberry bushes above my head and the odd snake slithering in front of my path. Yet when a wasp came into the equation, I was reduced to a fearful wreck.
My problem with wasps is their aggression and tendency to give chase, not thinking twice about stinging you as they do not have the unfortunate result of dying after dealing their dose of poison, as is the case with the much more friendly bumbles.
Going on a stinging spree is, I bet, all in a day’s work for the wasp.
Outside, it is not such a huge deal. If a wasp decides to buzz my way and try to ruffle my feathers, I just move along.
There is plenty of space to formulate a quick escape.
But when I am stuck in close quarters with one, I can get panicky.
This happened during my two-week stay at a farm in Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, through Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms (WWOOF).
Excuse my seemingly over-dramatization of the situation, but this is one of my irrational fears.
Close encounter of the wasp kind
One evening I noticed there was a wasp in my room. I opened the window and left, hoping it would aim straight for the exit and be gone by the time I returned.
Later on I could not hear or see it anywhere and decided to shut the window to prevent any more flying visits.
I shut my eyes and slept soundly…until around 5.30am.
Oh no, it was still here, stuck in this tiny room, angry and frustrated at the fact they it had most likely been flying into windows for some duration in a bid to get out.
Let the madness begin: me versus wasp
My mature reaction when it seemed to be making a bee-line for me was to hide under the covers, naturally ensuring all of the corners were secure so it could not reach me.
How big is its sting? I was thinking. Can it sting me through the sheets?
The wasp kept flying at me aggressively and then it was quiet for a while and I popped my head out anxiously, expecting it to dive for me and sting me right on the honker.
Fear had transformed me into a shaking, nervous wreck.
I realised it was gathering its energy for the next offensive on a window in the room, which happened to be the one that did not open.
I stared at it obsessively and thought back to an instance when my sister’s former boyfriend, Juan, who was Colombian and used to work in the Amazon Rainforest, simply picked a wasp up that had landed in our living room and threw it outside where it flew off harmlessly.
He was used to dealing with insects that could actually kill you with one sting or bite.
What is the worst that can happen? I reasoned.
Maybe I would have a reaction to the sting and go into anaphylactic shock…
There was no way I was going near it. I was crazed with anxiety over this tiny creature.
I opened the window across the room, hoping it would fly out.
Cowering in the corner, I waited to see if there was any movement.
But it stayed put.
I went downstairs to get some water, hoping it would budge by the time I returned.
It had not.
Should I squish it? I began to consider.
Oh, but what about the karmic repercussions of killing something? I pondered, realising this hippy community I had been living in for the past week or two had rubbed off on me a bit.
What happened to the wasp?
I took the easy way out and quickly squashed the wasp with a book, immediately feeling remorseful that I had chosen to kill it rather than risk getting stung by attempting to waft it in the direction of the other window, or trapping it in a cup.
There was also relief that this episode was over, despite it being a bad ending for the wasp.
Do you have any irrational fears that prompt over-the-top reactions like this?