Archive for March 31st, 2010


I Know It’s Spring When…

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

I’ve come to realize there are very definite events that must take place before it can be said that a particular season has arrived. Summer usually begins with a Memorial Day cookout and the kids getting out of school; Autumn usually begins right after the Labor Day cookout that marked the end of Summer, and the kids returning to school. Winter begins soon after Thanksgiving, when Christmas shopping reaches a fever pitch and the kids are once again out of school for the holiday break. 

Using this same logic the obvious question is, when does Spring begin? There are some traditions surrounding it, such as “right after the last frost”, or “when the daffodils are in bloom”, or even that old standby, the March date on the calendar. I have discovered my own personal event that takes place and, for me at least, most definitely marks the point when Spring has “sprung”. That event is when the first wasp of the year flies through my house and someone screams at me to kill it. 

The scene is a classic: the family is spread throughout the house doing various things such as watching television, cooking dinner, playing video games, doing homework, or surfing the Web. One fortunate individual begins hearing a faint buzzing sound, usually coming from behind them. They turn and find a wasp slowly making its way across the room, bouncing off the ceiling and looking every bit as menacing as the swarms of insects in all those B-grade horror films you used to find on TV at 2 in the morning. The person quickly ducks down, hoping the creature hasn’t spotted him as a target for exercising its stinger, and then calls out to everyone else, “There’s a wasp in the house!” Some of the other members of the household will run to the doorway of the room, peering inside all so carefully so that they don’t become targets as well. No one asks how it got into the house in the first place; that’s a question for later. At the moment it is simply accepted that it’s there.

If I am not the person who first spotted the wasp, the next thing that happens is that all-too-familiar call of “Mike (or Dad), there’s a WASP in the house!” The extra emphasis on the word “wasp” is usually a good indicator to me of how dire the person perceives their predicament to be – if it’s spoken fairly calmly, they’re okay and I can take my time; if it sounds a bit shaky, they’re sort of nervous and I need to start moving; if it’s said very loudly, they’re just this side of panic and I have to drop everything that instant to deal with it.

I move toward the room in question, usually grabbing something to swat at it like a notepad or an old magazine – whatever I happen to find along the path from where I was to where I am wanted. When I arrive, those in attendance quickly point out the current location of the intruder, and then clear out of the room…it oddly reminds me of those police shows where the bomb squad is called in to defuse an explosive device, only I’m not wearing any protective padding. Fortunately for me, I’m not allergic to wasp stings, but I’ve been stung enough times in my life to know I don’t like it, and I usually try my best to avoid it. With that in mind, I enter the room slowly and cautiously, never taking my eyes off my quarry. I follow the wasp as it bounces around the ceiling, waiting for it to alight on some fairly solid object long enough for my swatting effort to be lethal. The cat-and-mouse game can go on for several minutes, with the wasp sometimes almost taunting me by flying in my direction and then turning away. Eventually, it lands somewhere to take a break (I know I’d be tired after all that flying around) and I make my move. With a swing of my arm and snap of my wrist, the deed is done. Everyone breathes a big sigh of relief, and then they all go back to whatever they were doing prior to the wasp’s appearance. 

With that, it’s official: Spring has arrived.