The very bad thing that happened while picking figs yesterday.
My favorite thing about my apartment is the fact that it has a backyard. My favorite thing about my backyard is the fact that it has a fig tree.
Prior to moving into an apartment with a tree, the only fig I’d ever eaten came sandwiched between two newtons. But now, I’m a veritable fig connoisseur. Every August the fruit begins to ripen, and after a long day of work I get to sneak into my calm, quiet oasis and pluck fresh fruit right off the tree. In New York City. Isn’t that lovely?
Every season I look forward to using up my bounty in myriad ways, and for a good four or five weeks, it’s a veritable fig-palooza round these parts. I mean, I put those fleshy purple fruit bombs in everything.
Fig salads, fig crostata, fig tarts, fig and prosciutto, figs and goat cheese, fig kebabs, fig stroganoff, fig burger, fig and potatoes, fig tacos…you get the idea. There’s a lot of figs to go around. You gotta get creative.
So last night I come home from work, eager to collect the ripened fruit in my
gingham-lined wicker basket old cracked Tupperware. I head out to the backyard and position a chair at the base of the tree so I can reach the fruit in the highest branches. I feel like Dorothy picking apples in “The Wizard of Oz”, right before she gets smacked on the wrist by a cranky talking branch. So, I’m tugging at the bounty and filling my container to the brim with fresh, organic fruit while softly humming an old country tune. I think it was “Lord I hope this day is good” by Don Williams. You know that song? Man, it’s a goodie. That boy can sang!
I’m feeling all content and loose and one with the earth, like I’m a farm girl fetching supper. I was feeling all happy and grateful for having such a beautiful tree in this cute little greenspace in the middle of a concrete jungle. At one point, I thought I could actually feel my blood pressure dropping a few notches, I was so relaxed. I was having a very special bonding moment with the land until AN EFFING BEE FLEW UP MY YOGA PANTS and ruined my zen.
So I jump off my chair and start yelling.
OOOWWWWOOWWWOOWWW! AGGHHHHHH! IT’S A BEEEEE!!!!! A BEE IS STINGING ME RIGHT NOWWWWW!!
And then I do the only logical thing one can do when a bee has flown up your wide-leg pants and is stinging you in several places along the length of your leg. I run into the house yelling like a crazy person and immediately rip off my pants. Then I realize–oh wait–I don’t want these pants inside my house. There’s a bee in these pants! So I run back out into the yard and fling my pants on a table, hoping the bee will take the hint and fly out of there.
And then I look down and remember–oh wait–I always take off my underwear when I slip into yoga pants after work.
So I am now in my backyard smacking yoga pants against a table wearing nothing but a t-shirt.
And then I snap to, and remember–oh wait–you are not a farm girl. There are no plains as far as the eye can see. You live in Queens, and there’s a strong likelihood that at least 60 people can see into your yard at any given moment. And this is definitely a moment you don’t want anyone else to see.
So I run back into the house and put some pants on. Mercifully, I have not gone into anaphylactic shock and the swelling on my upper thigh goes down quickly. I’m again feeling grateful. Had the bee’s route continued north I’d be on an emergency phone call to my gynecologist right now.
I head to the kitchen and make a salad with fresh figs, some goat cheese, almonds, a garlicky dressing and a big mother-effin’ drizzle of honey.
Who’s having the last laugh now, Bee?