Stung by a Bee

Tea fields of Mingjian
Out in the tea fields of rural Mingjian not far from where I was stung (or whatever).

Recently I have experienced a novel physical sensation: bee sting, or something like it. Last week while riding a scooter through the hazy agricultural fields of Míngjiān 名間 in the western part of Nántóu 南投 I felt a sudden, sharp pain in my exposed leg. I impulsively reached down to brush something aside—possibly the body of an insect—before glancing down to dislodge a small, black object that might have been a stinger.

I say “might” because my recollection of the sequence of events should be considered suspect. Everything happened so quickly that I can’t really be sure if the aforementioned events actually took place. It is, after all, a very human trait to manufacture narratives from fragmentary data in memory, and even skeptics like myself are subject to such things. It might have also been a wasp or hornet or something else entirely—perhaps a piece of grit or glass from the road?

At any rate, the bite or sting or whatever it was soon became so painful that I had to pull to the roadside to take a closer look at what was going on. I haven’t been stung before but members of my family are extremely allergic to bees and I worried that I might have a serious problem to contend with out on these obscure country roads. I’m the sort of guy who goes to get a cavity filled without anesthetic so I can handle pain—but this was absolutely excruciating.

Not having any better plan I continued north along highway 139乙 and made the ascent to the Bagua Plateau 八卦台地 (also the Bagua Mountain Range 八卦山脈) in search of a convenience store where I could at least slap a bandage on whatever it was as the wind whipping across the wound greatly exacerbated the pain. Before long I had it dealt with—and thanks to the magic of endorphins the pain became far more manageable and I made it back to Taichung 台中 in time.

Now, more than a week later, I’ve cycled through a number of unusual symptoms, and the wound remains an angry red bullseye the size of my palm, hot to touch and itchy as fuck. I’m not worried about going to the doctor or anything—my interest in posting this is mainly to recount an experience unusual for me. I’ve never been stung by a bee, or have I? Probably maybe, but possibly not. Yet another uncertainty that will be compacted over time, like memory, into something more prosaic, a simple “yes”, if only to spare others the needless complexity of my internal skeptic.