Not To Bee

At the Hollywood Bowl Wednesday night (to see Robert Cray, Keb’ Mo’ and Mavis Staples) Susan and I got there early enough to eat dinner at one of the picnic areas. Across from where we were sitting was a group of three people — two men and a woman — whose conversation and meal had been interrupted by a honeybee who took great interest in something that was on the lady’s plate.

She was having none of it, and stood up and away from the table. The younger of the two men had a worried look on his face, but it was no big deal to the older gent who just smiled and wondered what the big deal was. I couldn’t decide if the over reaction was the result of a full phobia or if an allergy was the issue.

A couple attempts were made to shroud the bee in a cloth napkin, whereupon they smashed at it but it managed to escape and buzz about a bit before returning to the plate. The younger fellow flailed a bit when the bee flew closely about his head, mentioning that he was stung in the eye as a child.


The bee eventually settled down on the plate again, the riveting center of attention to the frozen unspeaking trio, and I wondered why their instincts were to kill the creature. Why is it that so many people automatically default to death as a first resort in such matters. Because it’s just a bee. Just.

But you see to me, it’s never just anything. I don’t play the kill card off the top of the deck. I opt for a kinder, gentler option that recognizes  and respects a creature’s right to life. As such the solution isn’t destruction, but the simple removal the plate (and/or whatever it was the bee was  intent upon) from the table’s vicinity, like say to a trash can. The bee stays alive, and it stops bothering me. All is good. See how that works?

They didn’t. Wasn’t even an option.

But the irony is that after another half-minute of staring at the bee on the plate, that’s what happened. Well, not quite. The gent who suffered the eye sting as a boy, impatient at the continuing standoff, finally stood up with a plastic knife in hand, leaned across the table managing to pin the bee on the plate under its edge before turning the cutlery flat and smushing the life out of it.


The woman then dutifully removed the plate from the table and took it to the trash. As if nothing had happened.