During one of my New York to Seattle flights, I turned on “Fried Green Tomatoes”. Plane movies are a subordinate class of viewing selection, it’s reserved usually for movies I sort of wanted to see when it was released. This flight, I flicked back and forth between Ocean’s 12 and the rebooted Bourne movie and still, I was shrugging. I opted for a movie once gifted to me for Christmas, the timeless – “Fried Green Tomatoes”.
The plot is not integral to this story, though there is a scene that stuck with me. The two female protagonists are in a summer meadow. One of them (IMDB tells me her name is Idgie) dangles her hand into a beehive to reap the sweet taste of honey. Her companion tags her as a “bee charmer”, able to avoid painful stings, but more importantly, gain the delicious reward.
I’ve met a lot of bees throughout life – diligent, hard-working people. Bees put their head down, do their work, and become frustrated when others impede on their set-path.
The first bee I met was myself.
Tunnel-vision is a generous phrase to embody my task-completion addiction. Dopamine fires regularly in my brain, better than any street drug or candy. When a person or force impedes proverbial “honey making”, the distraction irritates me to no end. Though as much as I relish in removing an item from a to-do list, rarely will I “sting” unless strongly provoked.
My ideal regimen is orderly. 1) Establish marching orders. 2) Complete those orders in a timely manner (with the remaining hive members completing their orders). 3) Bathe in copious amounts of honey. 4) Repeat.
Of course, that’s not how it works.
Marching orders need to be agreed upon by committee. That committee all wants the honey harvested using incongruent methods. The honey needs to be spread in disparate ways, on toast, Cheerios, etc.
I presume this overextended analogy drives the challenges of achieving an “ideal”.
I met a person early in my career that told me, “you can do it right or you can do it first”. He was a bee charmer. While his platitude may oversimplify, the succinctness of time discourages holistic and broad thinking. Bees poke the needle through the fabric without thought over the length or placement of the stitch.
Bees – like myself – need more time within the flowers. Oftentimes, panic over arriving to a destination “first” means I am woefully unprepared for what that destination requires of me.
Among the flowers, we forage for pollen. We gather perspective. We may even find a path leading to a new hive. Or a path that leads to no hive at all.
I get stuck in the hives, get stuck relentlessly fulfilling the next task. The stickiness does not enable the reflection of, why is this right for me? How do I benefit others and myself from this?
Bee charmers chart a course of treachery. C-level figureheads and stressed politicians chase results, and speed to realize those results demonstrates their capacity to mobilize. Bee charmers finagle their way in the hive, like dear Idgie from our plane movie.
Though bee charmers also return unscathed, they enchant quiescence on those of us sprinting toward the next task.
To be human is to be both the bee – work hard – and the bee charmer – reap the rewards and pacify the buzzing. We can enchant ourselves and others into the beauty of the meadow.