Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Wasp Whisperer

I met a Wasp Whisperer last Sunday. I didn’t know I was going to and if I had, I wouldn’t have gone to the book discussion. You see, I am petrified of wasps and yellow jackets. Actually almost any insect except for pill bugs and lady bugs will send me into a screaming mass of fraying arms and legs as I try to escape the portion of my world they are in at the time. I still remember once when my then to-be-husband, Eddie, took me, my son and his three children to the local park to play tennis. Not being that athletic, after a few sessions of chasing the tennis ball instead of hitting it, I opted to sit on the sidelines and watch. Everything was going well, his kids seemed to like me, and then… a bug flew inside the front of my blouse. I’m not sure that my screaming and pulling my blouse over my head made the best impression on Eddie or his kids that day. Or the folks playing on the other tennis court. But he still married me eventually.

In my defense, I am deathly allergic to stings from wasp, yellow jackets and fire ants. I’ve also had some close calls in the past when stung. I always carry my Epi Pen in my purse which never leaves my side. This might explain why I’ve often been compared to Sophia of the Golden Girls.

Now that I’ve given you a bit of background, you can understand better why, while sitting in the living room where the book discussion group met Sunday, I abruptly interrupted the leader by standing up and saying, “Excuse me, but there’s a wasp climbing on that picture,” before I darted to the hall way. Eddie always boasted, that even in a group of 500, if there was a wasp anywhere I’d be the first to see it.

I honestly expected everyone to rise in mass hysteria as well but no one did. It was as if they were waiting for her to take command. The Wasp Whisperer. This woman serenely, a word I would have never imaged using to describe this scene, got up, opened her spiral notebook, walked over the wall where the wasp was, invited it into the page, gently lowered the notebook cover just to the tips of its wings, and said, “Open the back door and I’ll let it outside.” Don’t hold me to this, but I swear I heard her sweet-talk it as well.

Dazed and not believing what I just witnessed, I went back into the living room to join the book discussion. Four more wasps appeared in the room and throughout the meeting, the Wasp Whisper would nonchalantly nudge one into her notebook and quietly release it outside without disturbing the group. Amazing as this sounds and more so to have witnessed, I was more awe-stuck with how calm I became and how safe I felt being surrounded by this group of woman, wasps and the Wasp Whisperer. Hum, maybe this woman was a Betty Whisperer, too?


  1. Very interesting! From my own experience with bees, they won't sting if you are not agressive. Most of the time they are exploring, not defending. I wonder what she was whispering to them? Thanks for sharing!

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