After a somewhat winding walk from the central library to the SW 1st and Arthur 7-Eleven -- craving a Slurpee, to be more fully disclosed and all -- I braved crossing under Naito Parkway and walked around the little stand of homes between the major arterials of Naito and Kelly. The homes near the National College of Natural Medicine that you can see after you've crossed westbound over the Ross Island Bridge, if you need some additional geographic clues. Scanning around, I saw movement on the Meade St. sidewalk. I looked down.
A bee seemed to be trying to fly side-first into the sidewalk. (I first considered writing "shoulder-first," but bees don't have shoulders. You know more now. Though you probably could've guessed.) Seemed determined. Or maybe drunk, if bees can get drunk. I looked around for a couple of seconds, then looked back and spotted it again.
Its legs were in the air. It had gotten itself upside-down. I may never have seen a bee like that until then. It was trying to get righted, but was stuck. Me, leaning down, took the dangling end of one of my backpack straps and placed it very close to the struggling bee. I waited. I didn't have to wait long. Its legs got some purchase on the loop at the end of the strap and it right itself. Soon it was hovering, close to the sidewalk but closer to behaving as bees should. Then I lost sight of it. I got on my way, brushing at my face to be sure it hadn't landed on my forehead.
Okay, so that was a better bee encounter than some I've had.
Before you think I'm all "I love the bees and want to hug them forever" hippy-dippy, I should admit: I can have trouble with small flying things. I appreciate many of them in concept, mind you, and yep we need bees (and not, of course, for just sweet sweet honey) and many other little living flying things, but I think I prefer my little bugs to be able to crawl. Spiders, for instance (and I like spiders a lot; they're neat. One friend had a baby tarantula I swear was Gir with eight legs. LOT of personality). I've had annoying experiences with flying things -- swarms of gnats in Northern Virginia from fifth grade on -- and eye-widening experiences with them. One example: SOMETHING fly-y came out from under a Virginia house's rain gutter and it looked like a bee -- a bee almost the length and shape of a cigarette. Maybe I saw it wrong, but it looked like that. And it looked wrong: somehow not the right size, shape or length for bees. I still remember that blasted thing and I had to have seen it in the early 90s. WRONG, I tells ya.
And, like most of us. I've been stung by bees. At least I'm not allergic, so it's just hurt-causing and annoying.
So maybe I'm unfair to little flying things. A week or so ago I'd noticed a small fly in my apartment. I started to close a window and then realized the small fly was between the glass and the screen. I finished closing the window. Then I actually thought about how I was trapping the thing in there. Really a fair thing to do? No! Want to get rid of it, don't be so passive-aggressive about it! But I didn't want it flying around my room still. I managed to squish it. By hand. THERE. So maybe I was an ass to that fly, but I meant what I did. I was hands-on.
I once heard of someone apologizing to bugs before killing them. I've done that plenty of times. I wasn't in the mood to do that to that fly at my window. But today, I wasn't in the mood to let a bee flop around like it was drunk.
Maybe I'm getting better about little flying things.