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Living in an Ant Farm

Dear Ants,


We live in an ant farm now.

It’s escape proof. I can’t seem to get out of it.

The ants are the dominant species and we are their playthings.

They are the movers and the shakers of planet earth – one teensy grain of sand at a time – and if they want to travel up to the balcony, into the rafters, through my walls, out the electric outlets, around the sofa, down the staircase and into my son’s backpack just to bring a piece of leftover PB&J sandwich to their anthill three miles away, they can.

In 2014, NASA launched a formicarium into space.

Because no one was cleaning up the International Space Station after making a PB&J.

And they needed some motivation to keep the peanut butter out of the cruise controls.

(Who were they kidding? Ants invented zero gravity.)

Those little “engineers of the insect world” have redesigned my habitat.

All of my attempts to persuade them to leave have come to naught.

I spray poison.

They move two inches, literally, to the left and proceed full speed ahead.

I put out an ant bait party.

They party.

They bring friends.

They stagger around, drunk on borax, and go home for a week to sleep it off.

Then they come back for more.

And bring the neighbors.

Oh, at first I thought maybe I could wait them out. They gave me an excuse to buy some shiny new containers to keep the cereal in. I had no idea ants were a fan of Life cereal.

They forced me to keep to my routine of running the laundry and the dishwasher every night before going to bed. Both places are swarming with ants by then. It gives me great pleasure to get those little buggers squeaky clean.

I don’t have trashcans anywhere in the house now. If my kid blows his nose, he has to carry the tissue through the garage and out to the main bin. Otherwise, he will find ants creeping up his legs to relieve him of the tissue still held in his fist. They’re very helpful like that.

I vacuum every day.

I’ve gone from wiping the countertops every 15 minutes to making everyone go out on the patio to assemble their sack lunches. And eat dinner. And make toast.

It’s fun for the whole family!

We had company over yesterday.

The house has never been cleaner.

“Go to the ants, you sluggard,” says the Bible, “because they will make you work harder than you ever thought possible, just so they will stay out of your ear.”

Someone set their empty glass on the coffee table in the living room and had all of a three minute conversation. When we reached for the glass, it was covered in ants.

Not a scout or two. Covered.

Ninja ants. They’re everywhere.

I feel my skin crawling with them, even when they aren’t.

My daughter with the ecology degree informs me that these ants are genetically identical.

I’m holding the Clone Wars right here.

Any chance I can send these little buggers to a galaxy far, far away?

Because I’m exhausted.

When the family has to live outside and the ants get to live inside, something somewhere is rotten in NASA.

Published inLiving Larger

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