Monthly Archives: September 2013

Un-stung Hero

Andrea Freedman

Come the middle of August until the end of the summer, some of the simple pleasures I enjoy such as coffees and drinks on patios, lying by a pool and reading or writing in the park are compromised by the constant threat of bees. While I am not afraid of most other insects or animals, I must confess that bees really scare me.

As I milk what few precious nice days we have left this summer, I do so with caution and, regrettably, a bit of anxiety as at this time of year, the bees are out in droves.

As I have certain allergies I have no idea what kind of reaction I might have to a bee sting. I have been told by some that for them, a bee sting could be deadly. Bees may be small but when they come too close they are just as powerful as vultures waiting to pounce upon their prey.

They say traumatic childhood events can leave lasting impressions. Although I myself was not on the receiving end of the attack, I still have a vivid picture in my mind of a young childhood friend’s frightening experience with a bee sting.

It is something I have never forgotten. All of a sudden all hell broke loose and my friend, who only seconds before was playing with the rest of the kids who lived in our townhouse complex, was running around wildly screaming “I got stung by a bee! I got stung by a bee!”

Someone else I know was stung after accidentally sitting on a bee. While there were inevitably some jokes made at her expense, it was not entirely all that funny to her.

Yet another horrific story involving bees was told to me by a woman who was once was attacked by three bees at the same time in a flower store, when they flew out of a hanging plant she was carrying to the cashier to purchase. Needless to say, after being attended to by the apologetic staff, she ended up leaving the store empty-handed.

I recall one incident on a summer vacation up north where bees surrounded a garbage can by the pool that the maintenance staff for some strange reason did not feel the need to clean out. Hence, despite that the resort was otherwise lovely (not to mention expensive), the annoying bees took away from my relaxation.

Other than the bees, summer is my favourite time of year. However, during bee season, the minute I sit down to relax it seems one of them has been waiting in the wings – no pun intended – to curtail my plans.

I realize bees produce honey and pollinate the flowers but they also terrify some people. I admire people who are bold enough to hit a bee with the bottom of a shoe, and I applaud them if even one bee is flattened, stopped before getting an unsuspecting victim. I wish I could be that brave but there are times where it seems as if a bee will not leave me alone, following my every move. I end up running scared every time.

People say bees are more afraid of us than we are of them but somehow I find that hard to believe. Who would think that something so small could induce such great fear, not to mention the degree of pain they are said to inflict when they do sting.

A couple of weeks ago, for one brief moment, I thought that my good luck had run out. I was walking along happily eating an ice cream cone, knowing that I was risking attracting a bee. Out of nowhere I screamed as I felt an agonizing, piercing pain in the bottom of my foot; it was unlike anything I had ever felt before. However, I was more upset that a bee had possibly had the audacity to sting me and ruin my perfect record than I was at the thought of having stepped on a rusty tetanus-inducing nail.

Although the pain was excruciating it took the sting out when it had been confirmed that I had not in fact been stung by a bee, and that some unknown object had stuck its way through the thin sole of my flip flop. Even though it hurt to walk, I felt relieved, and I dare say maybe even a little bit smug.

I have managed to live forty-seven years without ever having been stung by a bee and with the summer coming to an end, I am happy to report that, while there have been many close calls with bees this past summer, I survived yet another season unscathed and most importantly, un-stung.♣

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2013


To Pee or Not To Pee

Andrea Freedman

I am not sure how I could put this more delicately, but sometimes, it seems that my whole life revolves around when I will have to pee next. In fact, even while I was writing this I had to take a few bathroom breaks.

Every outing I take is preceded by a last minute trip to the washroom, whether necessary or not, as a precaution, especially if a long elevator ride will be involved. I call it my insurance pee.

I often deny myself the simple pleasure of a beverage to sip while I am out browsing around and envy those walking along casually with their lattes without having to worry about immediately having to pee afterward.

I don’t know how many times I have had to cut an enjoyable walk or activity short simply because I knew that if I didn’t get to the bathroom right away I would pee in my pants. No sooner do I leave home, eager to start my day, when something comes over me and I have to turn back or find a washroom in a hurry.

If I am at a restaurant and treat myself to a glass of wine, there is no chance I will make it through dinner without having to excuse myself; once the floodgates are open there is no turning back. Crazy as it may sound there are often times where one pee leads to another. However, the initial opening of the proverbial dam is impossible to avoid.

When attending a wedding or other such formal event, although the open bar is fun, it presents the inconvenience of having to make frequent trips to the washroom, sometimes navigating a long dress.

Sitting through a movie can prove to be quite challenging, especially if I foolishly opt for even a small soft drink to wash down my popcorn. I struggle toward the end of the film, squeezing my legs tightly shut until the credits finally start rolling, and then I make a run for it so that I can beat the crowds before it is too late.

Any time I have a manicure, although I always pee immediately beforehand, after the manicurist has done the filing and buffing and is about to apply the polish, I ultimately end up taking a break to go to the washroom again at the salon; if I don’t I surely will have to soon afterwards, probably smudging my nails in the process.

On the days I go to the gym, between my morning coffee and the water I drink during my workout, I spend on the average of about three hours after exercising running back and forth to the washroom, occasionally even having to interrupt my workout to go at the gym.

The only time my frequent need to pee came in handy was when I was working full time and wanted an excuse to leave my desk and socialize with my co-workers who were in the ladies’ room at the same time as I was.

Not too long ago one of my uncles expressed concern when he realized that I had spent an entire afternoon on an unusually hot day without drinking so much as one sip of water. I sometimes think of him and laugh when I am thirsty but hesitant to drink more water for fear of having to pee yet again.

If I need to be in the car for an extended road trip, I would rather become parched than take the chance of being overtaken by the urge to pee while we are stuck in the middle of the highway. As much as I have gotten used to peeing so many times a day I lose count, I still have a hard time bringing myself to do it in the bushes or on the side of a road. If my husband so much as asks me if I want a coffee for the trip, I immediately answer no. Even the mere suggestion is not safe.

As I do not feel comfortable using the ocean or lake as one big communal toilet, many times while on a beach on vacation or a hot day in the summer, if there are no conveniently located washrooms nearby, I have sometimes declared that I would rather boil to death than take a drink and risk having to pee.

Sharing one bathroom with even one other person can have its drawbacks especially if I come home planning to use it right away only to discover in horror that it is already occupied.

There are occasions when I actually proudly announce that I made it through an entire ride, visit or social even without having to run to the bathroom but those times are few and far between.

I thought about whether or not I wished to share this about myself; I decided that it is really nothing to be embarrassed about and I suspect that there are many others out there like me when it comes to ridiculously frequent peeing who also might hesitate to overdo it when it comes to beverage consumption as a preventive measure.

While I do not like the idea of being a slave to the washroom it is something I have learned to live with. All I ask of anyone who may happen to be on a walk, long drive or anywhere else with me on a hot day or otherwise, is that if there are no washrooms in sight, please, whatever you do, do not offer me anything to drink!♠

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2013