Tuesday, 24 January 2012

And the bees

"Oh, can someone please suck it out?"
We are visiting this sweltering, delapidated animal farm. It consists of three chickens, a goat and girls who sing songs about hot spaghetti and mashed potatoes while frantically performing infantile dance movements. With every languidly approaching sheep or tame hopping rabbits we come across, I have daughter L. of three years old, hysterically clinging on to me and I think to myself that these animals might suffer from scabies and fleas. While I’m wondering why I’m not in my airconditioned home, practicing educational things from the coach, I’m stung by a bee.

Squeezed between handbag and shoulder, it apparently quickly made the decision to sting me.
From my point of view I now pose a very reasonable question to the people around me.
They’re giving me a pitying look saying: "Yes, it really hurts you know", and
begin telling me of previous victims:
"Me / my brother / a colleague / someone I know, was also stung once."
However they do absolutely nothing.
Disaster tourists.
Convinced of my assumption that I would be helped, I repeat the question and point, with sweeping gestures at the sting and I say: "It's really quite painfull!"
Then somebody leans forward and I start a sentence with words in it like: "Oh thanks/ I’m eternally grateful / you have just saved my life/ we should get married!
But she only pulls the sting out.

Later, when the sheer panic situation subsided just like the swelling (apparently I’m not at all allergic to bee venom) I do wonder whether this is a typical reaction which causes an apathetic state of being.
I have, for example, fairly pronounced apathetic leaning. With the slightest blood / bump / car-accident or suffering in every shape, form or needs, I usually grab my stomach, or cover my mouth with my hands saying:
"Oh no! ' or, 'You CAN NOT be serious?!’
After which I become helpless as well as motionless.  
So, on the first day of the big holiday break I had five children (in the ages 6-10), some of which are not mine, but the housekeepers (Vivian and Petronella) over for a playdate. That they couldn’t swim became painfully obvious when I planned in European terms without any thought of the South African context and suggested: "Please bring the kids’ costumes!" However P. & V. gave me a look and reluctantly told me that the children can’t swim. Oh, of course, I am also in the possession of numerous other embarrassing capacities you can easily live without.

Nevertheless, the kids arrived and practically straight away jumped into the pool. At that moment I was busy searching for water wings that a certain nameless someone 'put away' somewhere else than we normally do.
Just as I was about to explode with my youngest on my arm, I saw this head going under and coming up again. So I approached the pool.
The head went down again and this caused some commotion. Yet to me it seemed that the boy almost got to the side of the pool. But then he suddenly turned around. Why, I wondered, did he do that? Why didn’t he move through or step to the right where the water is more shallow? I wasted precious time while I planned my next move, which was totally unrealistic. Anyway, the head went down, I handed my youngest to V. and jumped into the water.

Btw. This doesn’t mean that I would suck bee venom out of someones shoulder. As a matter of fact, I have been thinking about it, and standing very close to someone (while beads of sweat were running down his face because it’s 34 degrees) already makes me feel uncomfortable. Let alone that I would even consider doing something with my mouth to the shoulder of a stranger.

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