Black 'N' Whyte
It was a hot, sweaty night...Tim Whyte · August 10, 1997
The ants followed me home. It was hot this week, so the ants invaded my office. I guess they figured I don't have enough computer problems, so they might as well crawl into my keyboard and see what fun they could have in there.
So we got a can of Raid. With it, we chased the ants out of the office. I figured my ordeal was over.
I was so, so wrong.
It was Wednesday night. I play hockey on Wednesday nights and usually don't get home until after midnight. It takes a little while to unwind, so I usually straggle off to bed a little after 1 a.m. On this particular Wednesday night, I made a snack and sat on the couch, watching "Seinfeld." Soon I wasn't sitting, but sprawling, and dozed off.
Not for long. I awoke to something nibbling on my ear. I was about to say, "Honey, isn't it a little late for this on a school night?" but I realized Erin was still in bed, asleep.
It was an ant, chomping on my earlobe. I sprang from the couch and discovered that, during my brief nap, the ants had invaded the house, crawling right under the front door, across the living room carpet, over the coffee table, back down to the carpet, up the leg of the couch and RIGHT ONTO MY BODY!
It was a hot, sweaty night. The ants were seeking moist flesh, sort of like Zonta, and they had found it.
What can I say but yuck.
I retrieved a can of bug spray and took great joy in watching the tiny critters flop onto their backs, clutching their little tiny ant chests and yelling, "You wuz da' one dat shot my brudda!"
Ant carnage, all over the carpet, coffee table and entryway tile. I noticed the bug spray can said something about using it in "a well-ventilated area," so I made sure the patio door was open as I headed off to bed, quite pleased with myself for creating my little ant Highway of Death.
It was 2 a.m. As I crawled into bed, I mumbled to Erin that we had ants, and that I had sprayed.
"You cleaned up, right?"
"Uh, no, I figured I'd let the ant spray do its thing for a few hours, then clean it up in the morning, rather than spending valuable sleepy time doing it."
She bolted upright.
I repeated my plan, but it was not to Erin's satisfaction. She dashed off to the living room to immediately begin the cleanup, and, knowing what's good for me, I followed.
Suffice it to say that Erin and I have a philosophical difference about cleaning up after ants. She was a little groggy, but she muttered something about having to soak all of Luc's toys that were in the living room.
"But I didn't spray the toys."
"Yes, but they still had ants on them."
"Luc turns 2 next month. Soon he'll be eating ants, right off the sidewalk, just for fun."
We agreed to disagree, and, being extremely bushed, I gave up on the cleanup just before Erin did. She came back to bed shortly after I did, and said she decided not to soak all of the toys because they weren't really infested. Just an ant here, and ant there.
We finally got to sleep. It was 3:10 a.m.
Luc got up at 6:10 a.m.
I wanted to kill the ants, all over again. That morning, as Luc and I walked down to the car, I was able to pick up the ant trail. It went all the way down our stairs and into the area where the shrubs used to be.
You see, our condo complex has been denuded -- once again, sort of like Zonta -- because the geniuses who run the association decided, for some reason, that having an abundance of lush, green vegetation is somehow a bad landscaping philosophy.
So, over the past few months, they've been ripping out the bushes and trees and pretty much replacing them with dirt, and maybe a wimpy drought-tolerant shrub here and there. No wonder the ants wanted into my house. No more bushes to keep them cool.
Brilliant, these homeowners associations. A couple of days later, I got a snotty note from the condo management, telling me I am in violation of the CC&Rs.
"On a recent tour of the neighborhood we noted an apparent violation of the CC&Rs with regard to the above-mentioned property. . . .
"IT WAS OBSERVED THAT LOUNGE CHAIRS ARE PRESENTLY BEING STORED IN THE GARAGE WHICH IS NOT PERMITTED PER ARTICLE VI, SECTION 12 OF THE CC&Rs.
"We request your help in our effort to preserve the appearance of the community. We ask your cooperation by taking the following actions to correct the existing violation:
"PLEASE STORE YOUR LOUNGE CHAIRS OUT OF VIEW."
The ironic part is, I don't even own lounge chairs.
I think the eyesore to which the association's astute observers are referring is the bicycle trailer we bought so we could haul Luc through the paseos. It's folded up, and locked up with the bikes, which are stores legally in the garage per the CC&Rs. I figure Luc's trailer is part of our whole bicycle ensemble, so it ought to be OK under the CC&Rs.
Don't get me wrong. I generally like having CC&Rs. It keeps my neighbors from doing unsightly things like urinating off their balconies or hiring hookers to show the neighborhood boys a good time.
And, for example, I wouldn't mind if the CC&Rs said, "Since you pay $150 per month in dues, and generally refrain from leaving monkey droppings on the walkways, the association will, once in a while, spray around the denuded formerly landscaped common areas so you won't be infested by ants."
But geez. It's kind of anal to whine about lawn chairs, especially lawn chairs that don't even exist.
Anyway, I drove Luc to the baby sitter's and went to work. On the way I traced the ants' route. Wouldn't you know it, they HAD followed me home from work. Dedicated little buggers, eh?
So, this led me to the inescapable conclusion that, if Councilman Carl Boyer gets his way, maybe I won't have to deal with any more ant infestations. You see, Carl wants to change all of our addresses from five digits to three, so if his plan goes through, then maybe the ants will become confused and won't be able to find my house.
Aw, heck. Who am I kidding? That's stupid. Ants can't read street numbers.
But they can pick up your trail, follow you home, and creep and crawl all over you and siphon away your precious bodily fluids while you sleep.
Yuck. I hate ants.
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Tim Whyte is the magaging editor of The Signal. His commentary appears on Sundays.
© 1997, THE SIGNAL -- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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