|Early portrait of a dangerous feminist||.|
"Don't step on the bee," my mother warns. "It will sting you."
I consider my mother's warning for a moment. Up to this point, I really haven't even thought about stepping on the bee, but now that I've been warned not to, I can hardly resist. I don't know yet what it feels like to be stung, and my curiosity outweighs my fear. I raise one fat, pink, bare foot over the bee and press down tentatively.
The bee stings me and I burst into tears.
My mother scoops me up, deposits me inside in my high chair, and removes the stinger with a pair of tweezers. "It was a bad bee," I wail. "Don't worry," my mother says grimly. "Now it's dead. Bees die once they lose their stingers." This information triggers a fresh volley of tears, as I am now filled with remorse over the fact that I have not only been hurt by, but have myself killed, another sentient creature, simply to satisfy my own relentless curiosity.
I share this memory with my girlfriend yesterday over a late lunch, and she rolls her eyes. "You haven't changed much, have you?" she says.
Indeed, I have trundled through my entire life recklessly squashing bees, and have sometimes regretted it. Fortunately, all the bees I've trod on have had very small stingers.