I’ve done some adventurous things in my life, but as a general rule I play it safe(ish.) So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that I’ve been dicing with death (or at least a painful personal injury) for the past week.
The malevolent heat bubble that pushed our temperatures up to 42C/107F has finally moved on and the weather has been lovely since; so in the evenings I’ve been sitting outside. Our deck chairs are cheap and light, and we leave them hooked over the edge of the deck to prevent them from playing Smash-Up Derby whenever the wind picks up. So every evening I’ve been unhooking a chair, dragging it over to my favourite spot, and enjoying a few peaceful minutes.
No danger in that, right?
While I’ve been sitting there, I’ve noticed some paper wasps buzzing around the other chair. “Hmmm,” I’ve thought each time. “They must be starting a nest under that other chair. Lucky I grabbed this one. I should probably do something about that nest…” Then I finish my drink and go inside and forget the whole thing until next time.
So yesterday I finally decided to check and see if I needed to deal with a nest. Paper wasps are relatively docile, but they’re still wasps; so I used appropriate caution. I got up from my chair, crept over to the other chair where they were hovering, and gingerly eased it over to look beneath.
Whew, that was a relief.
I went back and sat down. But the wasps kept hanging around. Flying under that other chair and circling. And at last realization dawned: The chairs normally sit side by side. They were looking for their nest. It wasn’t under the other chair. Ergo…
Slowly and with dread, I got up again and carefully tipped my chair over.
Yep, there was a wasp nest right under the seat, inches away from where my leg (and some other important parts of my anatomy) had been. And all week I’d been dragging that chair around, sitting down, shifting, getting up and strolling around; all but waving my arms and yelling, “I’m a threat, sting me!” I can still hardly believe they didn’t.
So now I’m torn. After they tolerated my obnoxious presence in peace for a week, it seems rude and ungrateful to smash their home and slaughter them all. But (in a stellar example of applying safety measures after the danger is past) I don’t want to spend another second on, or even near, the hot seat.
I can’t quite bring myself to wipe them out, though. So I guess I’ll be uneasily sharing the deck with them for the rest of the summer. At least I know they’re docile.