Wasp Stealth

I jumped from our low porch and told my grandfather to move away. Previous red wasp encounters had ended badly for me, so I wanted no part of the cranky red-winged family living alongside the two who had flown from directly underneath where I had been sitting a couple of breaths before. Turning around in the middle of my front yard I saw what made no sense. My 80-year-old grandfather never moved away, but was instead lifting the small green bench on which we had been sitting and was turning it upside down. With slow-motion certainty he laid the bench down and approached the nest covered with at least twenty agitated wasps. I again told him to move away from the wasps but he looked at me and said “Those wasps won’t hurt you”, whereupon he patiently mashed the nest with his shoe while wasps swarmed about him. But he was never stung, and I saw not one land on him; as though the wasps did not know he was there. After he destroyed the nest and scraped it loose from its mooring the wasps flew away. I approached and we turned the bench upright, sat down, and resumed talking. Why had those angry wasps not repeatedly stung him? He offered no answers to my questions about how he had done this, and I never again asked.

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