I have a rather ambivalent relationship with ants.
On one hand, I really, really hate them. And with good reason. They keep invading my home. As uninvited and unwelcome as I have tried to make them feel, they seem perfectly contented to arrive every summer and plan on moving in, like those relatives who arrive every year to swim in your pool and eat your food and then go home without so much as a thank you.
Anyway, last year we had a real home invasion and my mild anti-ant feelings turned to hate.
It happened like this:
I’d invited a guest for lunch. I had the house looking particularly sparkly clean because this lady is a specialist in clean houses. I have never seen a single knife out of place in her home. I scoured and scrubbed and really had to admire my work.
She arrived. Punctual as I knew she would be. She admired my apartment (Good.) She thought it was wonderfully decorated. (She was right.) But then she noticed. There was an ant crawling across her foot.
We stared in fascination at the little pest as it calmly crossed over her arch and back on to the floor. I leaned over to swat the blasted thing when my guests yelped!
“Betty, look!” And she pointed toward the French doors which were open on to the balcony.
I looked and swore rather loudly.
There, filing solemnly across the floor was a whole army of the tiny little soldier ants. Marching at least four abreast…(Can ants do that. Do they even HAVE breasts?) moving relentlessly across my well scrubbed and vacuumed floor and my guest’s feet, and into the kitchen.
It took about three seconds for my guest to gather up her belongings, reassure me that she knew it honestly didn’t have anything to do with not being a good housekeeper or anything unpleasant like that. And leave the premises.
Okay, that’s what she said but I knew, and know to this day, that she went home convinced that it would never happen at her house.
I called a friend who lived down the hall because I wasn’t sure what the next best move was. Sue arrived armed with many cans of killer things (all environmentally safe for animals) and some ant traps, and set to doing stuff.
While she sprayed and chatted she told me about her own problem with ants. Only hers had been marching along the ceiling. Who knew ants were not subject to the gravitational pull that rules the rests of us?
She looked up to demonstrate where they’d been moving through her apartment and said,
“Don’t look now Betty but…”
Too late. I looked at the ceiling. And sure enough, the second army was invading there…The entire periphery was fully engaged.
Ultimately we DID defeat them. At least to the degree that they left town…or my apartment and I didn’t really care about the rest of the town.
I didn’t care how it got done either. People showed up and sprayed the whole place, after I emptied ALL the cabinets. My dog went to visit friends for a couple of days and I visited relatives who loved me with or without ants. And when I returned, all was serene.
No more ants. And ultimately I forgot about them. But, as a new hot dry season came on I began to worry. I didn’t believe I could withstand another attack. So I did a bit of studying up on ants.
Does it help you any to know that there are about 10,00 species of ants in the world? I don’t feel any better now that I possess that knowledge. It seems that the little beasties that so happily move into our homes are fairly friendly. They don’t bite – much or often – and they don’t destroy much except your peace of mind.
But then, working on the theory that there is good in everything, I began tot think about how determined and well disciplined their particular world was.
Think about it. They all work for the Queen…which seems like a good plan. I may even write a book about The Ant Who Would be Queen. The title sings, doesn’t it?
But just consider the odds they face. The ants that come visit me so enthusiastically are about a quarter of an inch long. To get to my apartment they have to climb three stories of stone building…okay, before any purists point it out, I know the building isn’t all stone, but I’m generalizing so I don’t have to look up any more information…stop pushing.
Now if the building is three stories high and the ants are ¼ inch long, that’s a journey about as long as the Donner party undertook, and you know what happened to them!
So now I have this rather begrudging respect for ants. Not ALL ants. Just the ones that come to my home. That doesn’t mean I’m going to welcome them or that I won’t still spray with some of that Orange stuff that isn’t supposed to hurt my dog.
What it means is – I’ll feel sorry for them while I do it
The very word, FAITH, stirs up some really strong emotions in most people. The thing is, people usually have faith or they don’t. Doesn’t matter particularly WHAT it is we have faith in, if we have it, it’s usually a very strong belief system, not necessarily attached to logic or common sense.
When you agree to accept something “on faith,” you agree without demanding proof.
Faith is traditionally equated with religion or belief in a supreme being, usually referred to God.
When I was first becoming aware of the various ideas of God, He (we didn’t even think of the possibility that God might be anything but male) was all mighty, all powerful, all seeing and all loving. And since I didn’t have a date for the senior prom, I thought He might also be really thoughtless.
In the modern world, the question of faith is much debated. People don’t have a whole lot of it. Not in anything and certainly not in one all powerful being.
Instead, we have a whole lot of faith in THINGS.
Yes, of course there is one particular THING on my mind right now. It’s THE ELEVATOR.
It is a fact of our lives that we, as a people, TRUST elevators. With our lives. We have total faith that these magical cages will carry us up an ever increasing number of feet into the air and bring us back to safety at the push of a button.
it also occurred to me the other day, just as I was getting in to an elevator for a quick ride to the 27th floor, that elevators are scary! I know there are cables. I’ve seen cables…heavy duty, really reassuring-looking ropey things that hum constantly through the buildings and (usually) do an exceptional job of delivering passengers to the desired destination.
But think about it people. Elevators are run by computers. Now think back. How long has it been since your computer crashed?
So maybe all you lost were the day’s emails…because being a careful and aware type person, you will have backed up your information. But suppose you haven’t backed up everything and the thing you didn’t back up runs the elevators!
You jut fell 27 floors! Sorry, but you know how computers are.
What made me decide to write about my perhaps irrational fear of elevators? I don’t know. I guess I made myself nervous. And when I’m frightened, I don’t like to be alone. So I figured I just spread the fear around. Now we can share. And sharing, as we learn from very early on, is a good thing.