Aug 272009

Following my epic battle with the solitary invader, I returned home from work to my fiancee and her sister. We set about preparing dinner…when I noticed a yellow jacket. It had just come through a small hole in the upper corner where the exterior wall meets the ceiling. Another one of these things was in my home!

Of course, my initial reaction was the spheksophobic response. Watching it warily, I tried to keep it as distant as possible. It seemed to sense my loathing and terror, hovering ever-closer to me. Instinct took over and I crouched down into a tiny ball, whimpering. In the back of my mind, shame was washing through me for putting on such a ridiculous display. Little I could do about it; the phobia was in charge.

The wasp got within a foot of me before deciding I had been sufficiently terrorized. It then proceeded to fly around Cody’s sister’s legs for a bit, before returning ceiling-ward. We all lost sight of it. I looked about for it, frantic. The only thing worse than knowing a wasp is present is knowing that it’s present and not knowing where it is.

We finally spotted it. It had landed on the wall above the kitchen window, over the sink. Throwing caution to the wind, I yanked the Swiffer out of its usual corner, swung it around so that I could mash the flat pad against the wall, and slammed it down on top of my nemesis. A partial sense of relief flooded through me, but I wanted to be sure. I started dragging the pad along the wall and over the cabinets, bring it closer and closer to the trash can. When I finally removed it from the wall…the yellow jacket wasn’t there.

This worried me. While the ladies assured me that it had probably fallen on top of one of the cabinets, I wasn’t so sure. Wasps are tough bastards. As a preventative measure, though, I busted out the spackle and covered the two holes (there was a hole in the opposing corner too, though it was an interior wall). I had been planning to spackle anyway, so this just gave me an excuse.

Satisfied that there would be no additional invaders from these spots, I returned to my sandwich. In the back of my mind, I was still thinking about the lack of a corpse. That’s when Cody spotted it. It had fallen into the sink…and it was still very much alive.

Though it was not airborne, it was moving about uninjured in the basin of the sink. Its wings looked undamaged, suggesting that it could probably take flight at any moment. Reacting as fast as possible, we covered it with a small glass jar. It was contained and the immediate threat was neutralized.

That’s when the other half of my phobia kicked in. You see, when you have an irrational terror like this, your threat response is fear. Once it’s contained and you can do something about it, it’s rage. Nebulous fears (I also suffer from mild acrophobia — fear of heights) don’t have this, since there’s nothing to get angry at. In this case, there was.

After running water to ensuring that the yellow jacket’s wings had been soaked, I lifted the jar just enough to let the tail-end of the invader out and slammed it back down, bisecting the insect. Relieved of its primary weapon, I felt comfortable removing the jar.

It was still moving! Still crawling unimpeded, as though it hadn’t just lost half of its body! In the course of its bisection, it had also lost its wings, so it could no longer take flight, either. Nevertheless, the fear started to take control again. Before it could, I slammed a wadded paper towel down on the black-and-yellow demon. Picking up all of its pieces, I crushed the paper towel as hard as I could.

Still not convinced it was dead, I opened the paper towel a bit. It was still moving, but these were the nerve misfiring twitches of something dead.

Finally, some peace.

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