Disclaimer: This is not the post I originally intended to write today, but sometimes things happen and you just have to share them. There may be swearing in this post. I can’t help it – it was an exciting day- though I usually subscribe to the Arrested Development school of thought, where the bleeps are funnier than the actual cursing.
I am in the process of making the most exciting dessert I’ve made in a long time. Maybe ever. And I haven’t even tasted it yet. But wow, my heart is racing.
So there I was, innocently caramelizing some honey, taking its temperature because it’s hard to tell by color with honey and I’d hate to burn it. Suddenly, something flies in the open window. This, in itself, is not an unusual occurrence, and I saw no cause for alarm. Until it started heading for me, standing at the stove. A bee! I stepped back, dripping honey on the floor, and it hovered around a bit before flying back out the way it came. Whew!
I returned the honey to the heat and began peeling and slicing apples, when I heard a buzzing sound emanating from the window, near the ceiling. ”Damn it! Go away!” I yell at the intruder. ”Just. Get. Out!” Heedless of my warning, the bee aims for my sticky, apple juice-covered hands, and I become acutely aware of the bareness of my feet. (The one time I’ve been stung by an insect it was on the bottom of my foot, and I am in no hurry to repeat the experience.) Again I back away, knocking over the garbage can in the process, only to be ambushed on the other side by ANOTHER bee, who has sneakily entered via the other window. It is about now that I notice the cat staring rather intently at the third window, this one closed because it is blocked by the dining table. She seems to have cornered a third bee. I say a brief prayer that she isn’t allergic to bee stings, because I really don’t want to make an emergency trip to the vet today, before one of the bees flies at me and manages to chase me into the hallway.
I find a safe haven in the WC (like many French apartments, mine has a separated bathroom: one room with the toilet – the WC – and another with the shower and sink) and close the door. Ah, safety. Now the Rational and Irrational parts of my brain have a chance to talk.
Rational: We can’t just stay in here forever.
Irrational: Yes we can! Or at least until Nick comes home. He’ll know what to do.
R: Don’t be ridiculous! He just left. It’ll be a couple hours, at least.
I: We could clean up in here. Look, the catbox needs to be cleaned.
R: True, it does… No! We have to get out of here! They’re just bees. They’re not even an inch long. That’s it, we’re opening the door.
And there the bees are, hovering, waiting for me. ”Fig plucker!”* I shout, shutting myself back in the WC. Irrational voice steps in, convincing me they’re after us. Rational voice concedes that there’s an outside chance that the bees smell my sticky-sweet hands, which are still covered in apple juice. I consider rinsing them in the toilet, as though this were some sort of life-and-death situation. I do not end up doing it.
Eventually, I open the door again, and decide that I need clothing more protective than a T-shirt and pajama pants. I grab a nearby sweatshirt and pull it on. I zip it all the way up to its usually-kind-of-useless cowl neck, which I now understand is perfect for protecting my face from stingers. Yay! With my hand inside the sleeve, I reach out and open the hall window, which has somehow blown shut and has a furious bee banging himself against it in an attempt to escape. Or is it a trap? I’m not taking any chances. Once I open the window, I try to get back to the kitchen, and am nearly attacked by a low-flying bee, which reminds me that I’m still barefoot. I slip on my sneakers without socks and leave the laces untied. Now that I have my armor, I’m ready to do battle.
I open all the windows wide, even the one that involves moving the table. When I see a bee fly out the hall window I hurry over to shut him out for good. My shoelaces get tangled up with the iron cord dangling on the floor, and crash! There goes the iron. I hurriedly put it away and focus my attention on the two idiot bees who have gotten themselves stuck between the blinds and the window. Aaargh! Lots of cursing and oven-mitt swatting later, they are gone and that window, too, is closed, the table back where it belongs.
But there is still one bee who has made himself quite at home in the kitchen. As I try to figure out how best to get rid of him, in comes another one through the still-open kitchen window. Damn it! I have another brief fantasy of just closing myself in the office and playing on the internet while letting the bees have run of the house until eventually it all blows over. No, no, says Rational voice, you are the human. You have opposable thumbs, and thus, the upper hand.
I wonder if throwing the pot of honey out the window would lure the bees away. But then I’d lose my honey. There has to be a better way. Just then, I spy out the corner of my eye a bee exiting. I do a quick scan of the kitchen and determine that it is safe. I close the kitchen window with a ha! and realize that the oven has now been preheating for over half an hour, I’m wearing a thick sweatshirt when it was already warm enough to have all the windows open, and my dessert is no closer to being made than it was 20 minutes ago. Feeling ridiculous, especially after the anticlimax of the bee situation, I get back to work. This had better taste amazing.
*Not really, but say this three times fast: I’m not the fig plucker, I’m the fig plucker’s son. But I’ll pluck your figs ’til the fig plucker comes.