There is an issue with attributing human emotions on other entities. Saying that your dog is sad because you’re leaving the house to run an errand at Target is a little self-aggrandizing, yet, understandable.
I say that because being a homeowner means a never-ending struggle to keep nature out. For months now, ants have been slowly invading my kitchen. Not a horde, not a solid line, just a few straggler ants, hunting for a source of food, hoping to please their queen. I’ve been smashing them one-by-one. No remorse, no compassion, just smashy smash smush death from above. I’ve crushed and drowned and poisoned hundreds of ants without penitence. But as the days turned into months, I’ve begun to question their motives.
Ants are incredibly resourceful and care for the health of the overall hive. For them, the needs of the group triumph over self-preservation. Whoever is sending these scouts is endangering the health and moral of the overall swarm.
Ant Gary: “Has anyone seen Lester?”
Ant Steve: “Huh, you know what, I haven’t seen him since he went scouting for food in that land of the hairy giants.”
Ant Gary: “My queen, should we go search for–”
Queen Ant: “Both of you, go search for your brother Lester and come back with some food too. I do so adore those salt crystals.”
2 Days Later
Ant Trevor: “Hey, uh, Queeny, we uh, haven’t seen or heard from the search party you sent to the hairy giant land.”
Queen Ant: “Oh drat. If they are being There must be something truly delectable in that land of hairy fart-generators. I’ll send you, a party of five, and I’ll birth a couple more to accompany you.”
1 Month of This Cycle Later
Caleb the Senior Ant Who Also Happens to be an Adolescent: “Your Majesty, as your closest confidant for the past day, there are two courses of action: Either we pursue other sources of food with reduced danger or–Oh, oh my. Ma’am, would you . . . would you mind not birthing a litter while I’m talking to you?”
Queen Ant: “But who else will you be taking with you to explore the land of the hairy giants whilst your brethren bring in food form the land of the dead cricket?”
Caleb the Senior Ant Who is Also an Adolescent Because all his Older Brothers Are Dead: “You mean the ‘land where everyone who goes there dies’ and ‘the super safe food farm where we strip the dead thing like a Tesla parked in a bad neighborhood?’ Maybe we just stop going to the place from which no one returns!?!”
Queen Ant: “We sent your older brothers to find your older older brothers and they failed. Before that, we sent your older older brothers to find your older older older brothers. They also did not return. Either they found a utopia awaiting all of us, or righteous martyrdom awaits you. Go, and report back. Can someone please massage my thorax?”
The straggler ants seem lost and sad. It seemed like they had a purpose but now, are lost, stretching, begging for direction . . . like me. I relate and empathize with you, lil’ ants, but I still gotta smush you.