At the beach

Hey there, Matt:

Every so often, while walking barefoot on the beach for a sunset stroll, I'll look down to check out the rocks and shells and notice something that makes me put my flip-flops back on. Just sitting there on the sand near the water are bees. Average, everyday bees all by themselves. Never in a group, Not a flower, hive, or happy hour in sight. Are they stressed-out, vacationing bees looking for some R&R, or are they just taking a break to watch the sunset too?

— Mauby, Oceanside

Wow. An actual beach-stroll-at-sunset guy. I always figured that if everybody who listed in his or her turn-ons "walks on the beach at sunset" actually did walk on the beach at sunset, we'd need those bank-queue railings or moving sidewalks to keep crowd tension from turning things ugly. This is one item I'm glad people just talk about and never actually do.

Bees, of course, are great followers of scents. We found this out one day when we had Pa Alice's Barcalounger out on the patio for its annual tune up. A little airing out, some oil in the hinges. It would be easier to do if Pa would agree to get out of it, but we've given up that fight. Anyway, the elves and I, we've got our WD-40s out of their holsters, squirting away at the lounge innards, when suddenly Pa is flapping and waving and yelling. This is more action that we've seen out of him in years, and when we look up, he's surrounded by bees. Not a hive, not a flower, not a happy hour in sight. We put our science hats on and determined that the sweet smell of WD-40 was the culprit. It drew all the neighborhood buzzers nearly instantly. Well, bees make this same kind of bee-line to their hives at the end of their foraging trips to unload their nectar. Sometimes, that takes them over large bodies of water.

So, I'm sorry to have to be the bearer of sad news, Mauby. If you really are so sensitive that you walk on the beach at sunset, you might not want to hear the ugly truth. But here goes. The lonely, wave-tossed bees are dying or dead (pick one). They're old, water-soaked, wind-battered worker bees crying out plaintively to their fellows, "It's beeeee-n a wonderful eight weeks of life. This final load of nectar was just too much for my feeble wings. I was blown off course in my last dash back to the hive, or my return flight home took me over the ocean (pick one), and I just couldn't make it, though I tried, I tried." Buzzzzzz...splash...gurgle. The end.

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