The little bastards are EVERYWHERE.
In my ears, in my drink, in my face.
There is one, right now, trying to figure out how to infiltrate my fortress of an upturned saucer sitting on top of my apple juice,like some sort of fruit-juice stealing Ronny Biggs. Except waspy.
It should have been immediately apparent to me that this was no one-off summer wasp invasion as soon as I arrived andsaw how Germans deal with wasps.
The best way to describe this is in direct comparison to how Brits deal with wasps:
“Oh my God, it’s a wasp! AAaaaaargh! Aaaah! There’s a a motherfucking wasp! I’M GOING TO DIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!! Run, everybody, save yourselves! No, leave the children, just GO!
Ok, I can’t deny that this is not also how i feel. When one of the little fuckers starts buzzing around my ears, or investigating my books, or trying to eat my smoked-salmon bagel or, crime of crimes, stealing my beer, inside I utterly freak out. In fact, just as I typed that, one landed on my toe and I bit both my lips and uttered a tiny “Mmm!” like somebody might inadvertantly do upon seeing, say, a lion at the edge of their garden. This is a major step forward for me: probably nobody even heard that one.
But I’m no way close to dealing with the situation in a German way. They are so used to constant wasp invasions that they completely ignore them. I have seen a German letting a wasp crawl along his lip without so much as batting as eyelid. The children, too, mostly inherit their parents’ wasp-ignoring attitudes, rarely dissolving into hysteria When Wasps Attack.
I have rarely felt so judged and non-European as when I was in a cafe last week, and having ignored the wasps’ increasingly invasive attentions for a good 45 minutes I decided to go in and make good my escape. As I paid, a particularly persistent little bastard flew right into my ear, causing me to do the “I’m-a-big-Jessie-flappy-flappy-dance”.
“God, I hate wasps!” I said, in pseudo-German (also known as Denglish)
The tall, blonde, leggy, Germanic goddess of a waitress looked at me with infinite distain and said in perfect, ice-cold English.
“Yes, well, it is August. It is Berlin. And try not to be scared: they can smell your fear…”