We – like most of Sydney – have an ant problem. When they first appeared, Gregory had at them with some ferocious pest killing product left from the tenant before until I confiscated it and told him he could use lavender spray or nothing at all. He stopped bothering after that, as I also told him that they just drop in for a visit, then disappear again anyway. Which they do. They love our shower during the day, but come sundown there’s not a single one to be seen so I figure they are welcome to use our shower rent free whenever we’re not using it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the way the whole world worked? Oh, I’m not using my villa in the Greek islands – would you like it? I understand you’re going to an important event, borrow my diamonds, these old things have just been sitting in the cupboard gathering dust. Bus tickets even – hey, I’m going on holidays, want to use up my pass. It’s got a good two weeks on it yet.
Right now, you’d all be welcome to borrow my tap shoes as I haven’t started up class again, my soda-stream which makes bubbly water and I’ve run out of cartridges and don’t know where to get them from, which means it is currently not working, but you’re still welcome to borrow it, and my heavy winter New York coat. None of these things may suit you, but it’s the best I can do. Oh, we also have a tent you’d be welcome to if you’d like.
You know what it is that I like about the ants? Their order, and their inquisitiveness. Some ant gets a great idea to explore a human’s shower and the rest of them follow along, single file, no doubt that their leader is taking them on a wonderful yet safe adventure. And once they’re sure everything is ok, they return time and time again always traveling the same path. I am much the same way. Once I find a route I like, I will run it again and again. As long as I’m outside, breathing fresh air and not the pumped ice from a Gym’s AC unit, I will happily run the same route for years. One foot in front of the other, knowing exactly where I’m going but excited to see what might be different about it this time.
Today I headed to the park with the steep set of stairs, but because Butch the dog made me feel guilty because I hadn’t taken him for a walk yet, I brought him along. My plan was to walk him there, tie him to the trunk of an interesting dog-sniffing-worthy type tree and make him watch me while I squatted and lunged my way across the lawn in accordance with my personal trainer brother’s instructions. Butch had other ideas. Firstly, it’s a park so he wasn’t the only dog there, but Butch’s name is a complete misnomer. He is a total sook and scared of every other dog he comes across be it a Great Dane or a chihuahua. This makes moving away from him rather difficult when he cowers and cries and makes you feel like you should dob yourself into the RSPCA for being such a wretched owner. So then I tried to lunge with him next to me, but he doesn’t speak English and kept wandering across my path so we’d both end up tangled in his lead and providing unexpected entertainment to the nearby picnic-ers as we tumbled to the ground in a heap of dog and sweaty human mess. Eventually he settled for me doing squats by his side, as long as I didn’t stray outside of the reach of his lead.
We two are not like the ants.
But he’s thirteen years old and won’t be around forever. All he wants is a bit of love and protection, the occasional treat, a bit of a daily adventure, and a comfy rug to lie on and someone to fill up his water bowl when he gets home.
When you look at it closely, we’re really not too different he and I.