Man Versus Ant
If you were an ant living in Tanzania, where would you go to die? If I had a choice, I would go to 36 Oysterbay, the avocado green bathroom near the kitchen. Second choice would be the hunter green bathroom on the other side of the house, but that’s only if the first bathroom is too crowded. Definitely NOT the navy bathroom though. No dignity there.
We have several theories behind the mass ant grave that is our house. One theory involves a cult leader ant, who persuades the entire colony to commit suicide rather than die at the hands of the anti-christ ant. Another theory postulates warring ant tribes fighting over prime real estate in the walls of our house. Members of the weaker tribe are murdered in the night and their bodies dragged to the bathroom floor.
A more likely theory is that they die at the hands of evil embassy contractors who systematically apply pesticide to our yard. When I tell other embassy friends that we have an ant problem, they nod and say, “yes, we do too,” but I don’t think they really understand. I mean, do they wake up at 6am and scrape thousands of carcasses off the tile before they can brush their teeth?
What’s worse is that now that we have a baby, the embassy does not recommend spraying. I completely agree. However, I am concerned that the ants might plot against us and carry us away in the night (or take our birthday cake, a fear, I assure you that has nothing to do with a recurring dream I had as a kid). So for most of the Tanzanian summer/American winter, we’ve been at war, trying to keep the ants to manageable numbers with our Doom brand insect spray. It should be noted that using Doom is like going to battle with a knife when your enemy has WMD’s. The odds will always be against us.
At one point, the ants had such the upper hand that we thought we were going to have to un-invite Christie and Don. I was finding the ants in all kinds of strange and disconcerting places, like my hair and in freshly washed clothes. They even mysteriously built a whole colony in an airtight container of Costco brown rice. Witnessing the sheer numbers that manifested as I emptied the rice into the trash can made my skin crawl. I would like to think they moved in after the last time we had rice for dinner, but I can’t be sure.
We never really figured out why the ants come to die en masse in our bathroom, but we did walk in on them transporting a white substance once. Perhaps this was their death march, a prelude to their final moment in the green bathroom at 36 Oysterbay. Matt thinks they were carrying ant eggs. That claim is both uncomfirmed and unresearched. In the end, we don’t really want to know the answer. But if those ants were going to die, we did not wait around to find out. Matt employed the Doom immediately, putting an end to the bewildering scene. I’ll never forget it though, probably because I video taped it and made it into a mock film so that I could watch it over and over again.
For your viewing pleasure, here is the film highlighting some memorable ant moments at our house. Christie and Don, you can thank Matt for making me wait until after you were gone to post this. Watch and be horrified.
Oh and also, tell your ant friends that if they’re looking for a place to take their last breath, we know a great spot.