Mar 14, 2007

Starbucks For Formicidae

Sometimes having this hyperactive imagination gland like I've been diagnosed with really pays dividends. And sometimes it just makes people look at me sidelong, like that time I went into a Jack In The Box and ordered a lightly grilled weasel on toast with a side of fries and a diet Coke.

This morning I spent a few minutes sweeping thosands of junebugs off the front sidewalk, and so creeped out was I that I was already in the mood for strange imaginings. My mind, you see, had crept into the panic room of my imagination and had converted my sweeping tons of upside down, leg-waving honey-brown bugs off the front porch into shoving leggy marbles across the driveway in a sort of organic shuffleboard game, so it was only natural that some base atoms of imagination (imaginons) were still lurking around when I made coffee later that same morning.

See, we've got ants in our kitchen here at work. Fire ants. The Orkin guys will be here in a day or so to commit an insectivorous genocide, but for now I just deal with it, as I learned a long time ago. This morning, however, things changed. As I filled the coffeemaker basket with Community Coffee medium roast, one of the little coffee bean crumbs managed to clear the basket and went bouncing across the green marbled countertop, coming to rest in front of one of the many-legged scavengers.

And naturally being hungry little critters, that determined little worker snagged this brown lump that was several times his size and began to wobble carefully off with it clutched in his little mandibles. My mind, of course, immediately took this little visual treat, mixed it in equal portions with the remainder of my imagination's glandular secretions and off we went. Suddenly I was seeing this nano-sized ant struggling back to his little tiny cubicle down in the very bowels of the mound, secreting this little sky-gifted morsel under his standard issue cot. I watched him scuttle around, getting his little homemade percolator together, setting out the creamer and sugar aphids, drawing off some filtered water from a leaf, and then with eager antennae, running his new prize through the grinder.

Medium grind, of course.

Then my mind, being the loose assemblage of rubberbands and bicycle parts that it is, proceeded on with this little industrious six-legged barista going about the rest of his day carrying a little stainless steel traveler's mug full of his prize, or maybe alertly working on some other project deep in the warrens, holding his little off-white, chippped ceramic mug. You know the kind, the sort of mug that's always in the back of the cabinet that has some clever saying blazoned across it in cheerful colours: "My folks visited The Kitchen Counter and all they got me was this lousy coffee mug!" or "Mound 145-MZ7: 3 years without an Amdro poisoning!"

Of course he could have dragged it back to the mound and shared it amongst his fellow ants, all of them lining up around the tunnel at the local coffee shop, eager for their double caff with a twist of fungus espressos and cappuchinos with extra nectar and then we'd be host to the most insanely active fire ant mound in the state.

Imagine it--whole masses of jittery, edgy ants, all questing for that perfect cup of java.

Demitasse, of course.


Mona Buonanotte said...

At least you have productive bugs. My office is currently infested with box elder beetles...they were here all winter...and the most they do is fly in your face, and look like raisins in the carpeting, and sometimes, occasionally, fly down for a look-see at your coffee cup or lunch. Then they sit there. No conversation, no nuthin'. Maybe they're just shy.

Nancy Dancehall said...

*snort* I can just see those little coffee mugs. I don't know. I think he hoarded it. I think he's got that crumb of coffee stored away, and he drinks a mug before hitting the food trail every morning.

Irrelephant said...

Mona: "Productive"? I don't know if I'd go that far...I mean, none of them have offered to file or sort or, for that matter, make coffee for the rest of us.

As for conversation, I can promise you that you're not missing anything...all they talk about is work and carapaces.

Nancy, you've probably got the right of it. Each morning there he goes, headed out on the trail, carrying his little mug, a secret smile on his mandibles.

Scott from Oregon said...

I bet he shares with everybody...