I had just picked up my husband, Nick, from the train station and we were on our way home. It is important to note that Nick was exposed to the outdoor elements and all the harsh realities of nature a sunny Northern Virginia afternoon has to offer while he waited on his bus stop bench. As usual, I relinquished the driver seat to him for the way home because God forbid he be seen as a passenger to his wife. I mean, it is bad enough to be forced to drive a mini-van but a soccer mom operated mini-van? The horror!
Any-hoo, Nick was regaling a wonderfully fascinating story about his very interesting day at the office, “So in my response to his e-mail, I made sure to point out that…there is a huge wasp on my leg.”
“Hmm. That is great, honey.”
“No. I am not even kidding. There is a wasp on my leg.”
“Wait, what?” It took me a while to snap out of the stupor I tend to fall in when knee-deep in one of his e-mail sagas.
“There. Is. A. Huge. Wasp. On. My. Leg.”
His strangely calm attitude left me grappling back and forth between calling his bluff and flinging myself from the moving car; the obviously only appropriate reaction to this alleged wasp. I settled on a nice in-between. I instructed him to pull off the road when the appropriate place should present itself while I subtly placed my hand on the door handle and angled my body for a tuck and roll exit. Meanwhile, he was babbling on about the monstrous size of the wasp, using just as monstrous words like ‘africanized’ to describe it, which was only making the hard pavement rolling underneath us at 55 mph look all the more enticing.
After what seemed like eons, and every second that passes by when you are stuck in the car with a huge Africanized wasp (even if you have yet to lay eyes on said wasp), is like an eternity in hell. Heaven came in the form of the apartment complex Nick finally pulled into, releasing us from the highway prison that kept us confined with what may yet be the death of us (otherwise known as Little River Turnpike). I was now free to jump ship at anytime without the repercussions of road rash.
We each opened our door with careful control and perfect synchronization that rivaled that of the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team. I teetered on the edge of my seat, ready to head for the hills or lock myself back in the car should the wasp find me a better victim than my mate. Nick slowly got out and immediately engaged in what could only be described as a slow-motion robotic chicken dance. Corny Collins would have killed or died to have this on his show. Killed or died.
Satisfied the wasp was no longer there, Nick swooped around to my side of the van, “Do you see it anywhere? Is it still on me?” He was no longer calm. He had lost his suave I-can-handle-anything-even-if-it-is-Africanized attitude. Whether it was because the threat was no longer traceable or because he had just been reduced to a chicken dance in the middle of an unknown apartment complex, we’ll never know. Either way, I responded with a contradicting, “No-YYYEEESSSS!!!”
Looking back, I can now see that marriage has it’s perks. Our thus far 13 year courtship no doubt helped Nick to correctly interpret my screams into what I TRULY meant to say, “Why, yes my good sir. The offending party is, in fact, on your back this very moment.”
A quick swipe of his hand and the wasp was flying through the air. He should have done that the first time. Having lost his first victim, the wasp was quickly on the hunt for another. It didn’t take it long as Nick was quick to point out, “It’s above your head, IT’S ABOVE YOUR HEAD!” Geez, I heard him the first time. What I didn’t hear was his sound advice of, “Get back in the car.”
At this time I was running frantically around the car, flipping my hair like a wild woman and screaming. It was my turn to dance and I apparently wanted to be sure to attract as much attention as possible. We certainly had the attention; several cars lined up around us as Nick had picked an opportune spot to stop the car, blocking traffic from three different directions.
Whether the wasp was hot on my tail or not, we’ll never know. I made my full circle around the car and hurled myself inside. Nick, having gained his composure now that we had an audience, calmly shut the door behind me, waved sheepishly to the onlookers, walked around the car and got inside himself.
Yes, we managed to avoid a nasty sting from the Africanized wasp that day, but we’ll never know what happened to it. In fact, it could still be in our minivan, biding it’s time for the next attack…