A cat by any other name

Contemplating murder


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Meow at me

There are ants in my bathroom.


Each year they come trooping into the house when it rains. I assume to stay dry, although there doesn't seem to be any collective memory in the ranks because each year they get the same treatment.

First I try to ignore them. Only one or two here and there. Easy enough to sweep down the drain and tell myself that some venturing scout got lost and wandered into the wrong house. But eventually, they invade in force, and some morning when I am in a real hurry, or some evening when I come home extra tired, or some day when I'm not even here and the poor person who is stuck with feeding my cats that day walks in, there they are. Sometimes it's the kitchen, but more often than not it's somewhere else. The bathroom in the master bedroom. Or all over the cat food dishes.

It was just this scenario a few weeks ago when I came home and found the kitchen floor crawling with them. They hadn't made it to the counters yet - just the floor. I'm not sure if I should be glad, or embarassed because what the heck was so fascinating about the kitchen floor and just when *was* the last time I mopped it anyway.

So I dutifully tromped outside into the pouring rain and sprinkled poison around the perimeter of the house. This usually works. They all disappear within days and everything goes back to normal.....at least until next year. And aside from the fact that I have now mopped that floor twice since then so there should be no trace of Raid anywhere left, I still find dead bodies. My kitchen floor has become the place where ants go to commit suicide. I can see it now - the little ants gathering around. "So where is Mel? I haven't seen him in days." "Oh, didn't you hear? He went to......-" here the little ant pauses and beckons the others closer. " - the Kitchen." Gasps of horror and shock from the rest of them.

Except that this time it doesn't seem to have worked quite so well. Because there are still ants in my bathroom. About 30 of them. And this is the weird thing. They have formed a little line directly in front of my sink....but I can't quite figure out where they are going or where they came from. They are just there.

And I'm starting to feel guilty. After all, I can just imagine the little ants screaming "Can't we all just get along?" when the Mighty Can 'O Raid comes into their view. And I have to wonder if this is a little rebel group, cast aside when the Poison Ring Of Death was laid down outside....and they just haven't figured out how to get home yet. Or maybe they don't want to. Maybe they're glad to be inside where it's warm. I think perhaps it's a testament to how tired I have been since I got home from my business trip that I have really only half-heartedly tried to remove them. In my sleep-deprived brain I ponder what it can hurt to just let them mill around in their little line - and then I actually try to avoid stepping on them. Well, sometimes I forget and then I feel a bit guilty when I see the smashed bodies and the rest of them scurrying around in a panic.

So here I am, stuck between ant murder and ant tolerance....and starting to realize that maybe if I got more sleep or at least more caffeine the choice would be easier.

Or maybe I'll just get lucky and they'll all make the choice, like lemmings, and go to die on my kitchen floor.