By Cheri Rae
The kitchen is clean—as much as one can expect with at 15-year-old boy living in the house—and the morning is quiet, even tranquil until I spy the relentless line of ants marching from the electrical outlet to up to the counter and over to the water faucet.
Here we go again. In what has become a regular ritual this summer, these damned ants—there’s no other phrase for them—have taken to invading my home, where they are not invited, not welcome and, once their intrusion has been detected, not allowed to remain for one minute more.
I usually have patience for wayward little critters in my house: carefully relocating spiders from the shower, misguided moths that mistakenly get trapped in the lampshade, even big buzzy flies in the windowsill. Once in a while, when a bird zooms through the open Dutch door and perches inside, I happily accommodate it by opening windows and encouraging it to make its way safely back outdoors again.
But smallest of all, the ants get no favors, not even a flickering moment of compassion from me. It’s total annihilation without regret—or need to resort to toxic substances. Water works, so does baby powder, Windex and sweeping them up en masse.
I suppose if I was a more spiritual person, I’d be more sanguine about the appearance of these intruders in my home, more interested in finding out if they’re native little black ants or transplants from Argentina. I’d learn to ignore them, or even welcome them, and recognize their value—surely they have some value? I’d leave them undisturbed like the busy bees on the lavender plants; I don’t bother them, they don’t bother me.
But I’m just not that evolved.
Maybe it’s that by their presence inside the house—instead of outside where they belong—they rebuke, mock my efforts to Keep the Kitchen Clean. Maybe I anthropomorphize, but there’s just something intolerable about these individual creatures that, en masse, become a formidable force in their willingness to simply follow the leader in a long line into oblivion. No matter what I have planned, those demanding little ants come first. Dealing with ants just plain bugs.