When I was nineteen and living in Oklahoma, I worked at the Performing Arts Center for Education on the campus of the local community college. I worked in the theatre box office, and it was one of my favorite jobs to date. I got to spend all day in a theatre. I loved the people I worked with. I got to chat with patrons and help them pick the best seats when they called in to buy tickets. I also got to see every show for free.
One summer Friday, I left the theatre to grab lunch. It was hot but breezy outside, perfect for driving with the windows down. The natural breeze plus my moving car cooled it to that sweet spot that refreshes you with every breath.
On my way back to work, I approached a 4-way intersection. As I slowed to a stop, something came through the open window and hit me in the side of the head, with a decent amount of force, as if someone had thrown it.
I touched my head but couldn’t feel any cut or bump.
I turned left to drive the final mile back to work.
I felt something on the back of my neck. Ew! I was driving, and it felt like there was something on my neck! Was it a bug? Was it in my shirt?! I quickly reached back and dug around, terrified of what I might find.
Nothing. But it still gave me the heebie-jeebies.
I pulled into the parking lot in front of the theatre, and as I put my car in park with my right hand, I reached for the panel to roll up the windows with my left hand and froze.
A bit of history: I really like ladybugs. It started my junior year of high school when I dated this guy who liked turtles, so I decided I liked ladybugs. When you have something specific you like, it gives people an easy gift category, so I had a myriad of ladybug-themed items.
One such gift was a cross-body ladybug purse. The cross-body part was made of a thin black cord. The purse was a much-larger-than-life ladybug, and the black zipper to open the purse was the ladybug’s mouth, causing the ladybug to eat and regurgitate my belongings. The purse was soft and had two fuzzy black antennae, just like a real ladybug.
Back to me, immobile in the car: When I reached for the panel to roll up the windows, I saw a huge, fuzzy bumble bee on an antennae of my ladybug purse, which is what caused me to freeze mid-action.
My seatbelt was on. My purse was strapped to my body with the much-larger-than-life ladybug hanging out on my left hip. The bee was between me and the door.
I couldn’t open the door without crossing the bee. I couldn’t take my seatbelt off without disturbing the bee, and I couldn’t take my purse off without taking my seatbelt off.
I was stuck!
A shudder went through my entire body as it hit me that this bee had nose-dived into the side of my head and had been crawling on my neck! I used the adrenaline from that realization to catapult me into action. I unbuckled my seatbelt, opened the door, and tore my purse from across my body. The bee was undisturbed.
Was it even alive?
I shook my purse, and the bee casually fell to the ground and slowly crawled away, as if in a stupor.
Once the bee was several feet away from me, I became immediately aware of the irony of my intense emotional journey while facing this clearly “ferocious” bee.
What are the odds that a bee, flying along minding his own business, would encounter my moving car at just the right moment to fly through the window and nail me in the head? What a crazy turn of events!
As I walked toward the theatre, I relived the previous five minutes from his point of view. There he is, flying around, enjoying this beautiful day, not a care in the world, when he crashes into some hard, hairy rock. It knocks him unconscious, and when he comes to, he’s trapped in a cage made of fabric. He tries to stand when a huge hand swoops through the cage, narrowly missing his fragile body. He tries to fly but is so dizzy he wanders off this massive cliff. He miraculously lands in a soft, plush garden, only to realize he’s landed on an enormous ladybug. He freezes, trying to make sense of it all. Still dazed and confused, the massive ladybug starts shaking and thrashing around. He sees the light of day and smells the sweet scent of freedom. Still stunned and unable to fly, he falls, free from the oversized ladybug, and lands on solid ground. He starts to crawl away, not sure what to make of things.
What a crazy turn of events!
Timing is everything.