Country Life


Not Chauncy the Great Black Wasp, but a Cousin of Chauncy the Great Black Wasp

This morning I am busy, like all of my mornings home in the small town where my parents live. I wake up early, spend a half hour on the porch drinking coffee and enjoying the prehumid time of the day. I then write for two hours in the kitchen.

A huge wasp has spent every day at the screen window of the kitchen trying to get to me. After day 4 I looked it up online to find that it’s a Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) and that it’s mostly disinterested in people. But this doesn’t mesh with the fact that Chauncy (his name) is interested enough in me to try to get to me every day. I read that the Great Black Wasp’s sting can ruin your day, so I say hello to him in the morning, but I do not let him in. The basement is filled with spiders. I don’t go there.  

After writing I eat on the porch in a rocking chair and watch cars go by. And in the afternoon, I proofread academic journals and research articles. By 2 or so, I am free to read and lounge and exercise. I am eating a mostly carbohydrates and sugar diet, so I don’t skip exercise. I have slowly tricked my sister’s cat into loving me. Well, not me as much as the addictive probably slightly narcotic treats I am using to entice her out from under various furniture. She has weird legs that are a completely different color from the rest of her, but I don’t mention it as I don’t want to hurt her feelings. She’s also really long, sort of like a ferret. Her meow is like a lady’s scream in a 1940s movie, but from really far away.    

Today my mom has enlisted me for a task. I am to go to the store and buy (a notably specific) five cases of water. It’s been specified more than once.

“Can you get five cases of water today?” she asked me yesterday.

For the last sixteen years, a stack of water cases has stood as high as an elf in the mudroom. It has been depleted, and my mom is worried and muttering about dehydration and zombie apocalypses.

“Can you get five cases of water tomorrow?” she asked last night.  

To avoid her complete breakdown (and honestly I’m a little worried the zombie apocalypse coming when we have no water) I agree to go today after she asks:

“Can you get five cases of water today?”

And before I walk out the door, I realize that I have to do some things in order to join others in public. The first thing I do is change my clothes into something I haven’t worn for four days. I put on underwear. I brush my teeth. I kick off my flipflops and find my public going sandals. I brush my teeth again after the cat doesn’t come for her treat.   

I guess this is what country life is all about. Well mostly. I thought there’d be more field coats and farmers asking about my haul. But walking to the pool, enjoying the wildlife around (and in) your house, sitting on a rocking chair, and not showering or grooming is good enough.

I drive to the store, which is about 2 miles away and I complain about the traffic. At the store, I get five cases of water and a lady makes a comment about me not getting dehydrated. I reply:

“Or if the zombie apocalypse comes.” I push my cart slowly away before she asks too many questions. When I get to the checkout, we all notice that the water is leaking. The girl (I think Sam) calls some guy over the loud speaker and informs him of the leak. I tell her I can get the water myself (you want a job done right…). She thanks me and gives me the store discount. I like to think she does that because she finds me adorable. But I think she does it because of the groan-yelp I make when I lifted the case back onto the cart.    

The excitement of the leaking water case spurs me to walk to the diner for a late breakfast. While there I tell my waitress about the case. I casually mention that I got five cases and one of them leaked. She doesn’t bat an eye. She is very long, sort of the female human version of my sister’s female cat. Her legs are in yoga pants, so I can’t see if they’re a different color from her arms and face.

Several EMTs are standing around outside and drinking coffee. They don’t seem to be in much of a rush for EMTs. The lack of urgency is perhaps explained when a coroner comes in and sits at the counter. His shirt is fluorescent green and says CORONER in big black block letters on the back. He drinks his coffee slow.

The waitress offers to fill my water, but then she pulls back the pitcher and says, “Oh but I guess you got enough water at home.”

“One was leaking.”

“Yeah, OK.”

I walk slowly back, maybe I amble. I can’t be totally sure, I don’t know if I’ve actively ambled. I walk up the steps to the kitchen and open the storm door. I’m in before I really that I’ve just given Chauncy his invitation inside. I gasp and stand in the middle of the room, I don’t want to sit in case Chauncy gets in and he’s a jerk. He doesn’t get in, but he does come out of his spot under the metal. I don’t know, he seems a little sad.

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