I’ve spent a good portion of my adulthood complaining. I think I’m developing a reputation as the Vampire of Liberal Arts because every time I leave my office, I flinch and run from the sun. I even bought sunglasses that make me look like I’m always going to a Beatles-themed Halloween party because I need all the protection from the sun I can get, and I wasn’t going to shield my retinas with something that doesn’t make me look like I just spent all night in a skunky cloud of rock.
But it’s not just the sun that’s out to get me. It’s the flowers.
I live in an apartment complex that seems to be beautiful in direct proportion to how much I want the sun to be blotted out forever: the more I beg for the eternal eclipse, the more pink flowering trees rustle in the spring morning and gentle breezes blow through the supple grass.
And it’s going to be the death of me.
I think I’ve written about my one weakness before. There is but one thing in this mortal plane that can cast me from the Earth, and the prettier my home gets, the closer I come to meeting my end. Spring has sprung, the Earth is alive again, the flowers have bloomed, the bees are back.
Checking the mail has become an exercise in just how zen I can get myself. I figure, if a bee sees me walking along the path to the mailboxes, they’ll be more likely to leave me alone if I seem like the kind of person who is totally in touch with the universe and definitely not one of those people that sprays flowers with pesticides or exploits bee labor to make my tea taste like dancing. Sometimes I hum a peaceful tune to communicate my benevolence.
Music has helped me get to this deep level of creamy contentedness I need to appear as a child of nature and not, as I should probably be understood, as a child of the capitalist machine. If I leave the house, you can bet there’s one of three soundtracks running in my head–because I lost my headphones in the move, and I’ll be damned if I buy another pair before I’m certain they’re gone. The music could be the graceful plucking of a harp, which I’ve listened to so much online that I think I could mimic the sound with a rubber band guitar. My internal soundscape could also be characterized by something I think is called a space drum, but it just sounds like someone hitting a really cool tin can with some drumsticks. Or it’ll be the raw harmonic rampage of whatever catchy metal song I’ve got stuck in my head because I like to fall asleep listening to it in my office.
No matter the song, I do my best to show the bees I am neither a threat nor like one of those people that wears bright colors and could be reasonably confused for a flower–though I did kill it in my role as a dandelion in my first-grade performance of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
I made it through a pretty shitty childhood, undergrad, grad school, and a few other significant hurdles, but there’s still a gaudy vibrating insect that could butt-stab me to death if I stumble into a bush. That’s weird. It’s also weird that I have to carry around big crayons full of adrenaline in case the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot tries to take me out.
If the EpiPens seem like an uncharacteristic artifact of actually useful foresight, it’s because my SO is better about caring about me than I am and asked me to invest in them. This was likely a good thing because, as I’ve learned from testimonials online, no amount of meditation music would help me if a beehive fell from a tree in front of me, or burst from a barbecue on a hot spring day, or fell from a very specific kind of cargo airline.
Though I’ve managed not to get stung since learning I was allergic–a fun experience that involved my face swelling shut–it’s still an odd feeling that the nicer my home gets, the more vibrant and delightful the trees, the more tolerable the weather, the more likely it is that a creature, whose entire existence is characterized by being the middleman for plant reproductive discharge, could wipe my salty self off the table.
It’s not a feeling I’m particularly used to, and I’m beginning to wonder how I can use it. Should I look forward to autumn more because that’s when everything dies and the bees do whatever bees do when their crop has run out? Should I use it as some kind of workout motivation? I could throw a beach ball into a flower patch and have a fantastic reason to finally start running again. I could use it as a really good excuse to never go outside, but do I really need another one of those?
No, I think I’ll just try sweetening my tea with sugar. If I stop writing suddenly, assume that my fixation on high-end honey got the best of me, and I died in glorious battle with an Epipen in either hand, a fly swatter in my teeth, and a monarchy to topple.