(*Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form do I intend this to be an attack on the southern states or agreement with the way in which the Union Army burned them down. I am not making a political statement and quite seriously, would flunk a test on the civil war if I were asked to take one. I'm from California. Ask me about the Gold Rush or the Donner Party. I am merely using the example of Sherman's March on Georgia to make a point. Also? I had to google to make sure I was referring to the right general. Also also? If you google his picture? Dude looks pissed off and ugly. Have you ever noticed that extreme radicals who are filled with blood-lust and hate are usually not attractive? I know there are probably exceptions to the rule, but most homicidal maniacs are not pretty. I wonder if there's been a study on this? Perhaps I should suggest it? Anyway. Carry on.)
If you've spent any time at all in the great state of California, you've met an ant. Usually it's not just one (though sometimes that does happen... one lone ant marching across the counter with the one grain of sugar that fell off of your cereal perched on it's back), usually it's a goddamn herd of the little bastards, making your life miserable in so, soooo many ways.
I don't ever remember living in a house where keeping the ants away wasn't a priority. My mother wielded that can of ant spray like it was her job, spraying every surface of the house and demolishing ant hills with the spirit and determination of Sherman's March on Georgia and leaving the same results behind.
And just like the South, the ants would rise AGAIN.
I'm pretty sure that between the ages of 2 and 18 I was terminally high on Raid fumes. (Exposing my sister and I to pesticides and carcinogens paled in comparison to ridding our environments from those tiny black poison-scented minions of Satan.)
Anyway, point being that it's been ingrained into my psyche that all food stuffs must be hermetically sealed to avoid ant contamination. If it can't be put in the fridge or freezer, it must be placed in an air-tight container because if it isn't? You'd better like the taste and smell of ants. Because they will find it. They will descend upon it. They will destroy it.
(Why do ants smell like ant poison? Do they inject themselves with anti-Raid, thus carrying the same scent? Blah.)
I've never in my life left a plate of cookies (or anything else, for that matter) on the counter. I've never opened a box of cereal and casually placed it back in the cupboard without first enclosing the contents in a freezer bag. I've never had a sugar bowl or a cookie jar that contained anything other than spare change and packets of leftover taco sauce from Taco Bell.
So imagine my surprise when, upon moving to New York, I began noticing that something was missing.
"Where are the ants?" I asked Dan last night, as he poured himself his nightly bowl of Lucky Charms and then placed the box back in the pantry, leaving the top half open and marshmallow dust on the counter.
"In California," he replied, leaving his sugary mess in plain sight without a care in the world and planting himself back on the couch.
I had to think about that.
It's like believing your entire life that the earth is round, knowing in your heart of hearts that the EARTH IS ROUND, seeing pictures of the very round earth taken from space and having no doubt whatsoever that the very round earth is spinning it's ass off so that you don't fall off and never once taking that fact for anything but God's Own Truth and then suddenly, without any warning, God comes over the loud speaker and says, "The Earth is ONLY ROUND in CALIFORNIA."
Wait, whoaaaa... WHAT?
I looked high and nigh under every surface and in every box and there was not a freaking ant in sight.
No comprende, said my brain.
I looked in the drawer where I keep alllllllll the saran wrap, aluminum foil, and econo size boxes of freezer bags and had an epiphany:
Me: "Wait... there aren't any ants in New York?"
Dan: "I don't know. I've never seen any."
Never seen any?
Me: "How can you have never seen any?"
Dan: *casually, as if he says this every day* "I never saw ants until I moved to California."
At that very moment, angels began singing in my ears. The Hallelujah Chorus was filling my heart and I almost began to weep with joy.
"No ANTS?" I screamed, "There are no ants here?"
Dan paused the Mets game he was engrossed in long enough to look at me as if I'd lost my mind and said, "No ants. Do you have a problem with that?"
Seriously, y'all... I'm so happy right now. I left the plate of chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday on the kitchen counter, all night, loosely covered with Saran Wrap, and there wasn't an ant in sight.
It's the little things.