What They’re Building Up There

Here in the Manor, we are devoted to, among other things, Science. This includes the natural sciences.

That is, we study Creatures. And those creatures include ants.

Who are kind of hard to miss here. For they are involved in a Project. And they don’t care who knows it.

From the very moment of occupancy of the Manor, I have observed a steady stream of ants proceeding up and down the front wall, from the ground to somewhere Inside The House. They are always there. Always in motion. Doing whatever it is that they’re doing.

They are like the Post Office. Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor gloom of night nor knuckledragging GOoPers who want to kill them, stay these beings from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

The difference is, I know what the Post Office is up to. Its mission is to tote mail to and from Ala. But as for these ants, I have no clue, what they may be about.

On the ground, I have traced their trail out nearly to the street, where they go subterranean ‘neath the lip of the concrete walkway. Above, as the photos over the “furthur” illustrate, they disappear under the eaves. Into what I presume is the attic. For there is an attic here. But I have not been up there. And consider it unwise to go there, anytime soon. Or maybe ever. For reasons which shall be discussed presently.

Let us look at the Pictures.

Observing from top to bottom—which I understand is how humans who view this blog generally regard things—we see first the ants coming onto the wall of the house. From the earth.

They pass by the basement window. They don’t care about this window. Or the basement.

Next, in the second shot, we see them proceeding past the windows of the front room.

They don’t come in these windows. They don’t care about these windows. These windows are just a station of their cross.

Finally, in the third photo, above those windows, up high on the house, we see them proceeding . . . until they Go Inside.

There, under the eaves.

There, they go in. They come out.

All day. All night. Every day. Every night.

They are not interested in discussing their Project, these ants. Though lord knows I’ve tried. But they prefer to remain deaf to me.

They don’t seem to mind me watching, or even photographing, them. But they are not about to stop what they’re doing to answer a bunch of silly questions.

They are Busy.

And this is actually fine with me. That they don’t want to talk. Because, after all, they are not coming into the house. At least the portions of the house that are occupied by me.

When I first observed this never-ending parade, there was some nervousness. Because ants have been known to want to enter houses, and there share in human food supplies.

In fact, I am acquainted with a woman who is 101 years old, and for more than 95 of those years she has been doggedly, unrelievedly fighting off ants who ceaselessly seek to dine with her. Never, over nearly a century, have they let her rest.

Of course, I know why this is.

It’s because she kills them.

This woman, through her eternally recurring purchases of “pest” products, has all by her lonesome undoubtedly paid for several yachts in which the pest-product people have serenely sailed the waves. Yet all those monies have never once bought her respite from the ants.

Because ants, like other creatures, don’t like you to kill them. And ants, like other creatures of their ilk: let’s face it, they can’t really be killed. It’s like trying to kill dirt. They will just keep coming. Start killing them, and it just makes them pissed.

If you kill them, they will come.

I’ve learned it’s best to just let such people be. I learned this many years ago, with cockroaches.

My then-lover and I lived in an aged abode that for a time seemed as if it wished to become a vortex for vermin.

At the apex of this Wrongness, arrived the roaches.

Now, as luck would have it, I had recently read a piece in CoEvolution Quarterly, in which the author had obviated his cockroach problem by coming to an understanding with the creatures. During one 4 a.m. encounter in the bathroom, he sought out what seemed to be the head roach, and asked if it might not be possible that the roaches refrain from trailing their coats in front of him and his partner, all the dern livelong day. In return, he promised, they would stop killing the roaches. The head roach agreed to this, and bound his people to their parlay. And so, from that time forward, the roaches were not seen; neither were they exterminated.

I tried this in the would-be vermin vortex, and it worked. Overnight, I stopped encountering them.

My then-lover, however, would have none of this peace-making business. She believed the purpose of a cockroach was to be Squashed. And so they would just not let her alone. Wherever she happened to look, there they would be.

Or they would happen to be there, when she was not looking. Teasing, taunting her.

And so one night I was sitting at my desk, and turned around to see this woman, sitting on the couch, completely oblivious to the fact that a veritable brigade of roaches had come boiling out from behind the sofa and were proceeding to boldly and merrily skitter across the top of it. There were at least two dozen of them.

I was torn, as to whether or not I should alert her to the Reality that it seemed like she was about to be featured in a Bug Movie.

While I was pondering what best to do, she took a sip from her coffee cup. She was a big coffee drinker. And a big roach came up onto her lips, with the coffee.

There then commenced some Noise and Action. More Noise and Action followed, when she regarded the phalanxes of roaches can-canning across the top of the sofa.

After that, she surrendered. She vowed to kill no more; even performed some propitiatory ablutions. The roaches tested her a couple times—to see if she’d keep her word—but after a time they passed also from her view. As well as mine.

So anyway. I’m thinking that since these ants don’t come into the part of the house that I occupy, I should probably leave them alone. There in the attic. To trespass on their ground, this might be perceived as a Violation. There could be Consequences.

I mean, it is already Known, from the Clifford D. Simak non-fiction tome City, that a human mutant monikered “Joe” has monkeyed with ant evolution by providing them with heated housing—as well as little wheelbarrows and chimneys and other assorted flotsam and jetsom—so that hibernation is obviated, and the ants therefore don’t lose all that they know during each Long Sleep. And that ultimately this will result in ants constructing a giant, continuous building—its purpose to humans unknown—that will one far-off day cover the entire planet.

Which will be okay. Because there are plenty of other Terras to travel to, in other dimensions.

City talks about that, too.

In any event, it is clear to me that there has been no hibernation with these Manor ants. Because it’s been like the freaking Pacific Northwest here, since the day I moved into the Manor, yet these ants behave as if it’s deep in the heat of summer. A normal ant at least gets sluggish, when come the cold rain and snow. But not these people. So I’m pretty sure they’re Joe ants. And they have a Joe project going, up in the attic. One that it’s probably best I don’t Know.

Too, it would be selfish of me, to begrudge them their experiments. After all, many and marvelous Science projects have Ala and I in mind, for the basement.

As above, so below.

Finally, there was the Sign.

Ala and I were one night discussing the probability that the ants are involved in a Joe Project, up there in the attic, and that it is likewise probable that there are Little People up in the attic as well, their presence indicated by the tiny little apertures set way up in the house walls, to both north and south, that are exactly the size and shape that a Little Person would consider a “window.”

The next morning, I discovered what is revealed in the picture to the right and below. It is the opening to the attic, from the portions of the house that I occupy.

It is ajar.

I didn’t do that.

Clearly, Little People, and/or Joe ants, did.

I think they decided to take a peek at me.

Now, it is true that in the night the wind blew open the French doors, and a gust could have whooshed in, zipped around the corner, and muscled open that board.

But I don’t think so. I don’t believe in such “coincidences.”

I believe instead that it’s a Signal: you stay in your part of the house, and we’ll stay in ours.

Sounds good to me.

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8 Responses to “What They’re Building Up There”


  1. 1 possum April 16, 2012 at 3:29 am

    And don’t we all wish the Rethugs would stay in their part of the house and leave our part alone? Those vermin continue to infest our airwaves and our newspapers day by day with their annoying and irritating chat fests. Just like ants and roaches they cause much consternation in Possum Valley but we refrain from killing them nonetheless.

    • 2 bluenred April 16, 2012 at 7:07 am

      The GOoPers are trying to flush the Post Office down the toilet. My hope is they won’t succeed. That the Post Office is unstoppable. Like ants.

      • 3 possum April 17, 2012 at 4:49 am

        But even ants can be stopped with enough toxic chemicals. The Rethugs are doing a pretty good job of being that toxic influence these days. But we can all hope Franklin’s invention is able to withstand the attack.

  2. 4 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) May 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    This is good. My unrelenting nosiness causes me to want to Know what their experiments encompass, but I am sure you are right to leave them to it.

    I am hoping to procure your diplomatic advice on negotiating a peace treaty between myself and the ants that currently dwell near Grama Agnes’ house. As you well know, the ants had been engaged in a multi-generational with against Grama Agnes, and I fear that when I move into her house (which will occur late in the month of September), that said ants will assume I am there to continue the familial crusade. Which I am not. I would like peace with the ants, but given my lineage, they may not trust me. David has suggested setting food outside, near places where the ants like to enter the house, to entice them to remain outside, but I remain convinced they will attempt to exact revenge on me for the genocide of their elders.

    • 5 bluenred May 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      You do know that if you move into the Compound that David will inevitably be abolished. Over the past 30 years, no male human has been permitted to long remain there. Just sayin’ . . . .

      As for the ants, my suggestion is just move in and Act Normal. The ants will probably want to invade in several aggressive waves, to test you. To see if you will continue the policy of poison. Do not react. Simply keep the place as clean as possible, and do not Go There when they launch their test waves. Once they determine you are not a War Criminal, intent on continuing the policy of poison, they will leave you be.

      So let it be written

      So let it be done.

      Your more important quest is figuring out some force-field to repel the male-expelling properties of the Compound. ; 0

      • 6 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) May 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

        Well…David is an Aquarius, and male Aquarians are always fairly feminine. Maybe that will confuse the force field. Also, the various assorted females like David – even Grandma Chris, who doesn’t like anyone. But then, he is pretty pale. :)

        I think I told you about how when I told Grama Agnes last year that we were thinking of moving back, she just naturally assumed that meant I was leaving David and coming back home myself. Like such a thing was Normal and Expected. So the force field and I will need to have a little chat. Plus, generally the male is only expelled after a female child has been produced, and since that isn’t going to happen, I may be granted a reprieve. I shall put in a request with the force field.

        Act normal. Don’t be a war criminal. Got it.

        • 7 bluenred May 18, 2013 at 5:17 am

          Of course GA believed David would be jettisoned. This has been the pattern since before the Reagan administration. And sure Ms. Chris claims to like him . . . now. That’s also the pattern. Then one morning the guy wakes up to find them all standing in a circle around the bed, preparing to spin a drill through his forehead.

          • 8 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) May 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm

            I have warned him. We will be on guard, ears perked for the presence of drills.


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