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My son had the brilliant idea of purchasing an above-ground pool a few years ago.  It is 12 inches in diameter and approximately 30 inches tall.  Each year we put it up and then every fall there’s the more challenging job of emptying it, cleaning and putting it away.  That is, each year except last year, when we both tired of the whole idea.  

This year, with Covid-19 upon us and my oldest son coming from New York City for a prolonged visit, I felt we should definitely have the pool up for all of us to enjoy.  And this year, pools are at a premium.  Everyone, it seemed, wanted a backyard pool, if they could get one.  I felt lucky we already had one and I felt once again that this was the most brilliant idea Oliver had ever had.  We’d be going nowhere this summer and a pool would be just the thing.

The other day I was in the pool, skimming stuff off the top and attempting (probably futilely) to stir up the tiny particles at the bottom that were escaping the filter, a constant battle and frustration.  But it was a hot day and I was also planning to have a liedown on the mesh pool float.  However, a honeybee seemed to have the same thought.  It kept hovering around the float and then alighting again and again on it, often on the pillow.  It seemed to be drawn to the mesh.  What was it doing?  Did the mesh remind this little bee of honeycomb?  Was it wanting a drink of water?  Why did it stay so long?  And WHEN would it go away, so I could have a liedown??  

I gave up, went back in the house and reported to my sons that there was a bee bothering the raft and it would not leave; thus, I could not have a liedown.  They offered little sympathy.  ONE bee? I detected a smirk.

The next day I went out again to attend to the pool.  They do take a lot of maintenance, even or quite possibly especially a small one like ours.  As I skimmed I found the bee, drowned.  Apparently, the little thing had been contemplating suicide on the previous day.  I had not intervened.  The hovering and bothering had been its tiny, silent cry for help and I had done nothing.  I went into the house and reported on this to my sons, who found me mildly amusing.

When I went back out, intending to have a bee-free liedown on my raft, I noticed another bee hovering, lighting, hanging about.  What the hell?  I went into the house and reported to my sons that the bee had set off a series of copycat suicides.  Next thing we knew, there were two bees spending all kinds of time on and around the raft.  And people say cell phones are killing the bees.

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