Family Comes in Many Forms

by JL Beeken on 8-06-2010

I noticed awhile ago that a wasp had taken up residence in the driver’s side mirror of my car – a 10+ year old foreign model in case you’re wondering.

Last week I took a high-pressure hose to the car hoping to wipe away any trace of a nest if there was one. A wasp came flying out, flew about ten feet away and then hovered in the air with his legs dangling down in a relaxed sort of way waiting for me to turn the hose off.

I’ve seen just one wasp several times before. And I can count. 1=1. And I’ve always assumed it’s the same one. If people can be solitary I guess wasps can be too.

Today I went out to drive downtown. As soon as I pulled away from the curb he flew out from behind the mirror, as usual. I assume because he doesn’t like traveling. Other than that he’s like a pet dog. He knows where I park my car. He might even recognize the sound of the motor by now. If he was to go ten miles up the road with me he might get lost so he’s playing it safe by staying home and waiting for me to come back. He always does.

I drove a few blocks and another (another?) wasp appeared from behind the mirror and flew away. A couple more blocks and another (and another?) one. As you can imagine, this is not a safe way to drive. It’s worse than cell phones; eyeballs turned to the side while driving forward. Then a 4th wasp appeared, carefully crawled to the top of the mirror and hung on for dear life all the way to Walmart. Picture here Snoopy with his WW1 goggles and scarf perched atop his dog house.

Meanwhile I’m driving in the middle of the day, middle of summer, 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a non-air-conditioned car with the windows closed because – you know – I might get attacked by a hoard of wasps while out in traffic. I’m a prisoner in my own car and suffocating.

At Walmart I climbed across the gear box and got out on the passenger side. I was in the store for quite awhile looking at headsets and microphones and when I got back Snoopy was gone, or gone inside his house. I don’t know which. It was too hot and I was too tired to make another plan but I’m thinking low-tech cayenne pepper for tomorrow.

One summer I got rid of a woodpecker that was knocking a hole in the back of the house at all hours of the night and day by putting cayenne pepper in the hole. But, first I have to go downtown and buy some. And that means getting into my car again …

Other stinky or sticky options already on hand: paint thinner, bleach, alcohol, shoe polish, Vaseline, moth balls, nail polish remover, oven cleaner … I wonder which, if any of those, could eat through vital car parts.

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