Friday, September 3, 2010
Empire of the Ants
Ok, so I like it when ants eat wasps. But when I wake up to a deluge of ants doing their damnedest to eat my dog's 20lb. bag of food, I start to get a little ornery.
This should be no surprise. Year after year, the ants have found clever ways to attack our humble farmhouse. They seem to pass down knowledge of every chink and hole (and there are many) through which they can get in. Once, I found them jauntily marching in through the outlet in our living room. I almost sprayed RAID in there--a reflex left over from my time in New Orleans--but a little voice inside said, "maybe not such a good idea." So I sucked them up via high-powered vacuum instead. Ah, satisfying.
But the satisfaction was short-lived. This morning, there they were, traversing tile and grout by the hundreds to get at my poor dog's food bowl. "C'mon," I yelled, "I haven't even had my coffee yet!" An application of the boyfriend's environmentally-friendly RAID-alternative and another vacuuming session later, I collapsed with coffee in hand, trying to plumb the fog of my brain for an apt writing metaphor.
Ants as distractions to getting the writing done? No, not quite right. Ants as critics, gnawing away at all your hard work? Trying too hard. Ants as the crap you have to suck up with the powerful vacuum of revision? Meh.
Then I realized: the ants were just ants. They get in our house and chow down on anything slightly food-like, and we have to get rid of them before they take over our pantries and our lives, writing be damned. Sometimes we have to stop being all artistic and just take care of stuff. Sure, Rilke wouldn't approve. But Rilke probably never had to fend off an army of freakish ants.