Two days ago, I sat on the couch to put my shoes on. I happened to see something crawling near my foot. I looked closer. Ant. I had a huge ant problem in an old apartment, so my mind went into ant-panic mode. I started to scan what was, a few seconds ago, as far as I was concerned, just a plain tile floor. One by one I started seeing more and more ants.
It's always like that with ants. You never look down and immediately realize there are hundreds of them. It always starts with a single ant. You're sitting in the lawn when you casually notice one. You wonder what one ant would be doing all alone, so you start looking around for more. Then you slowly start to realize that they're scattered everywhere, and what you thought was grass was instead millions of blades of ants stacked on top of each other as part of some ant prayer ritual you will never hope to understand. The shoes you thought were a good deal at some trendy mall shop turn out to be comprised entirely of ants. You look at them, they look at you, and they scatter, leaving you barefoot. Your cell phone rings, and your friend is telling you how she just realized she can lift hundreds of times her own body weight.
So, back to the couch. I end up spotting about ten ants, and figure they've crawled in the back door, since we keep the dog food right outside, and it occasionally attracts ants. I moved the dog food, and figured the problem would go away. Since there was no trail, just a chaotic band of randomly wandering ants, I figured they'd just disperse and die from lack of sustenance, or be eaten by the aardvark that sometimes breaks in to watch Cops on Tivo.
Yesterday, I was in the bathroom getting ready for work when I had the same experience. One ant, then more and more seemed to materialize out of the tile floor. Roughly the same number as the day before. Again, no ant trail. This has to be the same group from the living room. I'm fairly confident about this, but I wouldn't swear to it under oath. In fact, I'd probably be discounted as a witness because, you know, they "all look the same to me."
It's quite a trek, in ant scale, from the living room to the bathroom. I give them credit for sticking together without any formalized ant society. They have no queen, no scent trails, and no houses of parliament. I would have figured that at some point they'd have broken up into smaller factions, with one of them saying, "We walked right past the dog food because you had divine inspiration that greater wealth awaits Inside. Well, here we are Inside, and I don't see any wealth -- just more damn tile. Where's your God now, Gregory?!"
I haven't seen them today, but here's my greatest fear: They're training the roaches that live in the garage. The roaches and I have been in a cold war for a while now. Our mutual fear has lead them not to enter the house, and me not to make any attempts to kill them. I fear that once I attack, they'll recognize the garage as a hostile environment, and make plans for breaching the perimeter. The ants know the way in, and the roaches know how to survive forever as a disorganized gang. If they ever combine forces, a bleak and terrifying future awaits.