Rants About Ants

Firstly, thank you to my younger sister for brilliantly rhyming my pain.

Now that that is out of the way…

I must admit, I am somewhat Buddhist about the natural world. I will capture a spider and put it outside (although I learned recently that this practice is not exactly good for the spider, who chooses her environment based on her needs). I have saved a harmless snake from destruction by moving it to safer ground, or by staying out of its way if I’m in its territory.

But for two creatures, I am not so inclined to coexist. The first is the roach (except for the little guy in Wall-E, but in fairness, he’s animated). There is no reasonable explanation for the proliferation of the common roach, other than providing protein for the next link in the chain. However, there are no rodents in my home, so roaches need not volunteer for the position of protein-du-jour by crossing my threshold. When such a terrifying sight as a roach presents itself in my household, I scream like a banshee while running from the scene calling the name of the nearest person I know is willing to kill said intruder. Gentlemen, cue the heraldic fanfare as you enter, riding your mighty steed, sword aloft and save the day for the damsel-in-entomological-distress.

The second evil creature is the common sugar ant, an insidious and annoyingly persistent little bastard. I have tried all manner of discouraging the micro-beasts from entering my home as the rains embolden them to find every poorly-caulked baseboard in random rooms. I do not leave food out. I do not coax them with tiny ant treats. Yet, they have maintained a near persistent invasion, led surely by the ant-sized reincarnation of Ramses II himself.

Pharoah ants are the bane of my existence at the moment. I have tried negotiating, natural oil remedies, vinegar, borax and finally ant traps. They are the Borg collective and they are after my soul.

Finally, when they began biting me, I abandoned my Buddhist love of all things living and started smashing them. In any given sitting in my art space, there may be ten little mangled carcasses after I’ve basically exhausted my commitment to natural deterrents. Less than an hour later, I see ten more, drunkenly looking for a safe route around any chemical defenses I’ve laid out on my desk.

As I descend into madness, if you hear only the word “ant” on my lips, know that they’ve won, that I can no longer battle the force that has more fortitude than any other living creature on this planet.

I hate ants.

Update: I finally won! I found a recipe online for the best ant killer EVER. I doctored it a bit to make it more appealing and sure enough, the tiny creatures come in their hundreds to sample the ant-brosia I concocted. They carried it back to the queen and after just a few days they were gone! The recipe called for Borax, sugar, water and syrup. I raised the stakes with true maple syrup and unbleached sugar. Just a spoonful on a plate is enough to draw them out and tweet their little antennae like bugs possessed. And after about a week, no more ants! (PS, make sure that you add enough water that it’s still sticky but won’t harden.)


YoaHTs: “Thing” #70 – “Buddy Movies”

Ever wonder why we LOVE buddy movies? I didn’t, until today. I mean, I knew that I was one of billions that will rush to see a good buddy movie. I’ve always known that they’re a gold mine for Hollywood. But I never really thought about why they draw the public over and over. However, today, while watching a promo for the new Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart film, Central Intelligence, it occurred to me that something important has been lost on us. 

Buddy movies are entirely formulaic, requiring very little intellectual investment. They are predictable, and generally full of sophomoric, slapstick humor. Yet, we go in droves and Holywood keeps churning them out, year after year. Full disclosure: I can’t wait to see this one. 

Obviously, our need for humor is an important factor, but I believe it is more profound than that. In fact, I believe the answer is so deeply rooted in our DNA that we should truly understand it. 

Every day life should be a buddy movie

The core theme in every single buddy movie is that opposites can learn to be friends, and in the face of a challenge, even teammates. It’s that simple. Two people, who approach a problem from completely different perspectives, still have the same goal: to solve the damned problem. In the beginning, they don’t understand one another. Hell, most of the time, they really don’t like each other. But by the end of the film, they have struggled together and that recognition, that common experience, destroys the bar that keeps them apart. 

It seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? But the one thing that complicates it is that many don’t seem to recognize what the common goal is. It doesn’t matter where you begin. It matters where you choose to go. 

I was in Dallas last week. From the safety of my hotel room, I watched news casts as the events unfolded. I saw solidarity as the police protected and supported the protestors. I saw people of every race protecting children together. I saw a sudden, innate, collective  reaction to keep people safe in the face of a terrifying experience. 

People became buddies. All of a sudden, people forgot they had differences. They shared the same need to be safe. Hundreds of different people became buddies.

It can be done, but in order to do it, we have to be honest about the problems that have brought us here, to this place in history. Everyone has to be intellectually honest. Neither side of every conflict can remain intractable. Neither can dig their heels in and say “we don’t have to understand,” because that is patently not true. The “other side” means the middle is at arm’s length. If everyone simply reached out, think of how much stronger the bonds could be.