I had been studiously reading the newspaper while eating lunch. Doing two things at once. Very efficient. Getting up to embark on my next task – yep, I was going to do some writing, having managed to avoid it all morning – I replaced the paper on the coffee table. Out of the corner of my eye it looked like the wood grain was fluid; the table no longer solid. Not me losing the plot. It turned out to be a mass of busy ants hurrying between the papers, tissue box and remote controls that hang about on there. Further examination revealed many more milling about on the carpet and mountaineering up the table legs.
Not being an avid housekeeper, cleaning rarely makes it onto my to do list. As soon as it’s done you have to start again, much like gardening and decorating. Best just to let a certain fuzzy sludginess build up, I find. Although, if people are coming to stay, I do actually shift the need to clean up to the top of my list and get round to doing (most/some of) it. In acknowledgment of my general lack of housewifely qualities, I had chosen a neutral (okay, dust coloured) carpet with flecks in it, including, rather cleverly I thought at the time, black flecks, to disguise the black sock fluff that gets everywhere since everyone in the household now wears black socks. Because the winter has gone on and on, and we’re all still wearing socks in June, there’s more sock related fluff than ever, providing ample camouflage on ant day.
It takes quite a long time to catch ants. Perfect procrastination for a Monday afternoon. Once you remove one from its path the others get giddy and gad off in all directions. In the end, I gave up on being humane and was down on my hands and knees with the sticky roller used to remove ginger cat hairs from dark clothes, and on occasion from the cat himself. (He seems to enjoy it; perhaps I could set up a cat spa.)
Anyway, the roller was also very effective at catching ants, although perhaps cruel. I felt like I’d committed genocide, and of such an industrious and non-procrastinatory species. They do just get on with it, ants, don’t they?
I suppose my sticky clothes roller approach to ant catching is a more modern, handheld version of my grandfather’s method of dealing with the same problem. He used to tie sticky paper round the trunk of the plum tree to catch insects making their way up towards the fruit.
Still, I’m feeling very wary about karma. It’s strange being god-like and all powerful over something so much smaller than yourself. I don’t like it at all.