On Friday, after Robert and I got the big grape press working again, it was time for it to be scrubbed. So knowing what the job ahead of me entailed, I changed out of my work clothes and put on a pair of swim trunks. Armed with my trusty pressure washer, I hopped inside the stainless steel barrel. Moments later I was soaking wet and covered in nine months worth of grime. That was when I made a startling discovery: My co-worker's valiant efforts to dislodge a hornets' nest earlier in the week had failed and I was now trapped in a metal tube with a hive of insects that were particularly displeased to have their home invaded for the second time in one week. Quickly, I made a bold decision. I decided to shamelessly abandon my post with haste and regroup. I exited the press for fear of the stingers and went off in search of a weapon to take care of the yellow jackets once and for all. Less than a minute later I returned to the press armed with a bright yellow can of bug spray. Before the poor creatures knew what was happening they were already in their death throes. I carefully disposed of the nest and continued with my not-so-delicate task of the press. Fifteen very wet minutes went by and, as I was doing my best to remove an entrenched bit of squished grapes, a lone bee, whom I presume had been off foraging at the time of the attack, returned and found his home had disappeared. I can imagine that he saw the intruder (me) and the absence of his nest and put two and two together. And so a protracted battle ensued. The bee would hover menacingly as I would yank the nozzle of my pressure washer in his direction, only to zoom off just as I pulled the trigger. The close quarters of the tank made the formidable water gun unwieldy however, and it was with great difficulty that I finally caught my nemesis in my sights and blasted him from the air with a powerful jet of water. Scanning the horizon, I saw no sign of the bee. But little did I know that he was lying in wait. I was unable to be sure that I had won but after several minutes I went back to my chore. I am sure that he was waiting for me to lower my guard because just as I became confident that I had defeated my foe, he seized that moment to strike again. He ambushed me at the bottom of the press, buzzing furious circles around my head. And so to my chagrin, I retreated. Maybe, I thought, I will clean the outside of the press first. The workday ended before I finished washing the outside. I am going to continue the task on Wednesday. Until then, I'm quite certain that my adversary is biding his time, buzzing a self-satisfied buzz.
Tomorrow: On The Assembly Line In The Bottling Truck.