I am watching a wasp try to escape through a glass window. It must be so frustrating for him, banging his head against the glass that way. The intensity of his buzzing ever increasing as he takes harder and harder runs at it. At first, because I loathe wasps, I am inclined to think, "What a dumb fucking wasp", and snicker derisively to myself. I think of him in the same category as a fat, slow fly, who will not fly out the nearby open door no matter how you try to shoo him in the right direction. I try to make a Vine video of the wasp, because I think he's funny, which I think I will title "Dumb Wasp", which is why I watch him instead of killing him, my usual first instinct with wasps. There is a nest close by, which we have located and plan to dispose of with harsh chemicals in the dead of night.
As I watch this wasp through the lens of my iPhone, on the tiny screen, over and over again erasing and reshooting the six second video trying to make it perfect, I become intrigued with his system of searching for a way out. He is not like a fly at all, just hitting at the same spot over and over and over until he drops from exhaustion onto the windowsill, his wings listlessly and desperately buzzing with less and less frequency until he finally expires, with so much time to wonder where it was he'd gone wrong. I stop trying to film the wasp and just watch him.
I have time to watch him, as I am holed up at my mother's, contemplating my future and wondering about the paths I have chosen, and which ones to choose next, and going in circles in my mind, day and night. I have all the time in the world, until I die.
The window he is trying to bust through is made up of nine square panes of glass, each about 10 x 10 inches. He starts in the middle pane of the top row. He crawls every which way he can on this pane, then buzzes intently and bashes against the glass. At first it seems he is going to go around and around it forever, and at one point really makes a run at it, backing way up from the window and throwing his little body, dare I say shoulder, furiously against the resistant pane. He must feel so close, be so frustrated to be able to see outside, right in front of him, and not be able to get there. I start to feel like I am in for a long day of watching this guy.
After a few minutes of crawling diagonally, then all the way around the perimeter, then more diagonals, then lots of buzzing and crashing, he pauses for a moment and his front legs gently stroke his antennae, like a cat pausing to clean itself, like he is thinking. Then he surprises me and crawls over the wood frame to the next pane. He does not take so long to explore that pane, does a bit of buzzing, once round the perimeter, not even the whole way, and crawls back over the frame to the original pane. More pausing and antennae stroking. He walks over the frame again, to another pane, and does an even shorter explore. Another pause, stroke, think, I can almost see his little brow furrowing. Then, very quickly and with clear intent, he briefly investigates each other pane, quickly and obviously coming to the conclusion that they are all the same as the much explored first pane. He makes a decisive move away from the window, forcing me to duck, and while I worry that he is going to fly up my skirt and make the necessary adjustments, he, no pun intended, beelines past me and right out the wide open door, and suddenly the sunroom is silent, buzz free.
Just now a fly has come in and is frantically thrashing about from
window to window, all over the room, mad and making wild, irrational
guesses, ignoring my attempts to urge him towards freedom. Stupid fly.
Now I am thinking about sneaking up to the wasp's home in the middle of the night and ruthlessly killing he and all his brethren, seeing his application of logic and inference, his easy acceptance of the evidence. That fly and his slow, regretful death on the sill, am I him? I would rather be the wasp. I am holding his story up to my own and wondering when I will see that this window is not my way out, and that maybe I ought to just turn around and use the door.