In the heat of Florida’s version of February, I leaned over my aging car’s engine to check the oil (Don’t be fooled — it is one of only two things I do to cars. The other is pump gas.). Afterward, I walked up the driveway toward the open garage. This is when I first encountered the bee.
Please note that since childhood, I’ve been averted to things that creep, crawl and fly, and more so if the things that creep, crawl and fly are covered in fuzz. The black and yellow bee flew past me, and into the garage.
Which is when I noticed the fuzz that covered it. Already, I didn’t like the bee, though he or she was tiny and in no way apparently interested in me. So I stood on the line between the driveway and the garage and watched. The bee, I learned, intended to land on every thing in the garage at least once.
“Frick,” I said. But I tried to be patient. I paced.
He or she spent a couple seconds on the treadmill. A couple more on the bike. A couple on the fridge. A couple on the bench. Then the bee flew toward the clothes line. This was a problem for me, in part because the laundry area of the garage is way back (it’s a big garage) and it’s way hard to coax a bee into flying from there to where I stood. This was also a problem, however, because of the dream I had a couple nights ago, in which — in my garage — I discovered a bee inside the dress I was wearing. In the dream, I naturally spent the entire ordeal standing completely still while thinking really hard about whether a way exists to get a bee out of your dress without ripping the dress off your body.
But back to the bee. I was able to brush off thoughts of the bee dream. Surely, the dream was not a premonition and certainly, I would not leave my driveway post until I saw the bee leave the garage, which, therefore, would prevent the bee from making a home out of any of the clothes drying on the line. And, in fact, the bee then flew from the laundry area to continue carrying out its M.O.
A couple seconds on a stack of books. A couple more on a Rubbermaid bin. A couple on the recyclables, which — if you haven’t seen my garage — are very close to the line between it and the driveway.
I got brave and walked past the bee, into the garage. I leaned toward the bee.
He or she didn’t leave.
I said it louder.
“Get. Out! Get out of my garage!”
Still didn’t leave.
Bees, I thought. They never listen! I got frustrated.
“FRIIIIICK.” I said. While the bee dilly-dallied, I wandered to the laundry area. The tables had turned.
Come on, bee, I thought. This is my garage. I work out here. I do laundry here. I cannot have you here when I do these things. I probably stomped my feet. I may have shaken a fist.
The bee flew the line between the driveway and the garage. I watched until I no longer saw the bee.
Which is when I saw what I hadn’t once seen throughout the entire encounter with the bee:
My neighbor. I’m pretty sure she saw everything…
except for the bee.