The ants have invaded. It’s summer, technically spring. I hate killing ants. It is so underserved. They are innocent. Slaves to instinct. Sometimes I think there’s a freedom in that. I spray their line with bathroom cleaner and watch them all instantly wither up and hope that they somehow can’t feel it. Then I wonder if a millisecond of pain for an ant is like a year of pain for a human, since ants are so much smaller than us…which I know probably doesn’t make any scientific sense. When I told a guy I kinda dated for a week or so about this he asserted that they certainly did feel pain. He said it in a way that made me wonder if he wanted me to feel even worse, but I think he just stated things very matter-of-factly in general. I often confuse straight-forwardness with dick-ish-ness, I’m a sensitive gal. But I can get pretty preachy about the value of honesty, so I guess I shouldn’t get so wounded when people tell me the truth. The ants probably do feel it.
I have found one source of entry and exodus for the ants…a hole…a tunnel rather, leading too and fro the outside world, to the hill, to the queen. I like the idea of matriarchal societies, but as I watch the ants scurry about in highly organized lunacy, following the chaotic trails marked by previous braver, maybe more frightened ants, I can’t help but see the obvious parallels in human culture. The comparison has been made a time or two before…I’ve lost the part of my ego that believed I could ever say something original at this point in human history, in my own history, in the present.
I covered up their talc tunnel with a band-aid and watched as all the confused ants started piling up at the blockade. It began with two ants and quickly became 15 or more. They were moving about scared and baffled, still somewhat in a line formation, like the bank lines of 1929. I felt so awful. I considered removing the band-aid and granting them their still-indentured freedom, but instead I just sprayed them all. I felt like an executioner shooting off a murderous line of fire. I just annihilated them one after another. I started thinking about Arendt’s “banality of evil” yet I had real feelings on the matter, terrible feelings. Crippling guilt mixed with a weird sense of thrill, which didn’t sit well with my own hopes that maybe I’m an intrinsically good person. No, I’m good and bad, like everyone else. But I want to be good, as good as I can be.