Thursday, June 19, 2014

Peaceful Coexistence with a Wasp

No, not WASP, but wasp – the flying, stinging kind.  And yes, I said peaceful coexistence with.

A big old granddaddy looking wasp of a thing has taken up residence on my sun porch.  And his stinger is formidable.

Apparently wasps live anywhere from days to a couple of years, depending on who they are (of course, the queen of the colony lives the longest and why not?  She, after all, is the recipient of the largesse of all ‘her’ workers).

I had no thought of wasp life-spans, however, when I beheld granddaddy on the door in to my office the other day.  I thought about getting out the trusty fly swatter (and no, I am not so dedicated a pacifist that I don’t have one) and bringing our budding relationship to a quick end.

But I did not.  I’m not sure why, but it did occur to me that he was doing me no harm and surely we could peacefully coexist within that space.

Being who I am, I gave thought to the notion of pre-emptive strike (as in kill him before he even thinks about stinging me).  And I remembered the ants – the ones I allowed to share my domain who turned out to have thousands upon thousands of close relatives and friends they invited to the party and who all came.  That did not end well for them or me.

Still I took the risk that this guy means me no harm and bowed out gracefully, leaving him to do whatever it is wasps do.  But perhaps I did him no favor, as I doubt there’s much for him to eat on the sun porch.

I saw him a couple of days later and he’s definitely moving slower now – the normal life cycle?  Lack of food?  Boredom?  I cannot say.

Thus can I claim a lack of vice by taking no action to end his life.  But there is hardly virtue in my (feigned) indifference, for surely if I really cared, I would have acted to return him to where he really meant to be, which is not captive on a sun porch with none of his fellows and a scarcity of resources.

After all, it was and is within my power to do so.

And yet, out of my own fears of granddaddy and that pernicious stinger, I know I will not.  And he will die.  And that will be that.

Another day on planet earth where I am left to conclude that our indifference is the greatest killer of all.  Guilty am I, for it turns out that peaceful coexistence requires a bit more of me than leaving you alone.


  1. I wait till he/she? Lights on screen or wall. Quickly put a glass over the wasp, then slide a piece of paper over the opening .....hold it there, take the glass to the door, remove the paper and the wasp flies away free .

    1. You are so much a better pacifist than I!