The “Ants” Situation

The other morning, just before we had breakfast, Bianca came to me shouting: “Dad, dad, come, you have to see this!” She doesn’t do this every time, so I rushed to see what was that all about. It might have been something really interesting. As I stumbled into the living room, I saw her on top of the couch, ready to cry and pointing at the other end of the couch, the one close to a big window. “There are ants there, Dad, I’m afraid”.

And oh, she was so right! At the other end of the couch, between the couch and the wall with that big window, I suddenly noticed like several hundreds of ants. Small, black and pretty active ants. Seemed that they had a pretty good time too, since I spotted from place to place very small sand grains. They were building a house and they were building it from some time now. Some of them had wings, some of them not. The ones with the wings were up to the couch and to the window, close to the ceiling. An invasion. An ants invasion.

Meanwhile, Bianca was still on top of the couch, repeating to me that she was afraid of them, just in case I didn’t understand it from the first time. Short thinking pause. At that time in the morning, before breakfast, the meaning of the term “short” may be fluctuating. So I may have stayed there a few dozens of seconds, trying to figure out a way to understand what do I have to do. And, after a few dozens of blinking at Bianca and some short, ugly looks to those nasty ants, I finally come up with an idea. A brilliant idea, of course.

In the kitchen, under the sink, we keep something called broom. That tool looked like something I could really use. A broom. Just before breakfast. Good idea. So, I took the broom and start sweeping around the ants. In a few minutes I had an interesting collection of a few hundreds of them. I took them all, opened the window and throw them away. I didn’t want to kill them. Just to teach them a lesson.

Bianca approached carefully: “Are there still ants here, Dad?”. “No, dear, no more ants” I whispered while letting the breakfast synapses work again. What to eat, how to prepare it, stuff like that. While I was slowly heading to the kitchen, to start making breakfast, I heard Bianca shouting again: “Dad, Dad, there are even more ants”. That couldn’t be true, of course, since I just swept them, but I turned back, just to comfort Bianca. Alas, she was right again.

More Ants

For a moment I thought that the swept ants were able to send some invisible, chemical signals, because the new wave looked much more organized. And, from what I was able to count, they were at least twice the size. More ants. No problem. We got broom. Seeping them away. While Bianca was shouting, of course. Anyway, after a few minutes, the floor was clean again and the second wave of ants was thrown away. Go, ants. Let me have my breakfast.

This time, I didn’t left instantly. I thought it would be a good idea to stay a while near the couch, just in case. “No, there are no ants anymore, but I’m just staying here, just in case, Bianca”. “Good, Dad, because I’m afraid of ants”. Well, that was a clever idea. I’m a clever guy. In just a few minutes, thousands of ants were emerging again from nowhere, filling the space between the couch and the window. Even Bianca looked like she was waiting for them: “Look, Dad, they’re calling their friends”.

“Yes, they have a lot of friends” I thought, while starting to sweep the third wave of ants. “The third tribe“, I thought. In minutes, the third wave of ants was thrown away. I was getting really hungry, while Bianca seemed to rather enjoy all this sudden game. “Are you going to sweep them again, Dad, yes? yes?”. “Well, let’s see what happens next” I tried to be wise, whispering in a low voice.

Of course, the fourth wave of ants appeared in a few minutes. This time, I took a different approach. I observed them carefully, trying to spot the entry points. They weren’t manifested out of thin air, after all. They had to have an entry point. And yes, I saw it. It was a small crack on the floor, near the wall with the window. “Ah-aaa”, I said, and I grabbed the broom. But something prevented me to start sweeping again. An idea. Another brilliant idea. I rushed to the garage, where we keep something called vacuum cleaner. Toldya I’m a clever guy.

The Unavoidable Storm

It was getting warmer and the window was opened. I was somehow in direct sunlight. So I put on a bandana, plugged the vacuum cleaner, aimed for the key entry point and start vacuuming. A bandana, a vacuum cleaner and hundreds of thousands of ants. Sort of a Rambo stopping an invasion. Yeah, baby. Come on. I have a vacuum cleaner for you. Eat it up.

Maybe getting into action without having breakfast had some unexpected consequences, firing up some strange synapses in my brain. I was literally feeling like the main character in an action movie. Well, what the hell, at least I was feeling well. I was a male defending his territory in front of thousands of organized and powerful enemies. “Dad, you’re sweeping the couch” I heard Bianca. “There are no ants anymore”. “Oh, sorry, honey, didn’t saw that”.

I went outside to empty the vacuum cleaner recipient into the dumpster. Yes, there were hundreds of thousands of ants. While I was getting into the house again, I suddenly start to feel bored. Yes, there were ants again between the couch and the wall. Bianca also seemed to get a little bit bored, because she asked me to put her a movie on DVD. Definitely, she lost interest. So was I.

I was just looking outside the window, pointing the vacuum cleaner to the entry point and waiting for the ants to come. There was clearly a lower volume of ants entering and as I looked through the window I suddenly understood why. Some of the ants were leaving. I saw a huge exile of ants going on from that wall, outside in the backyard. But not all of them were leaving. Some of them were still entering the house. “You”re on the wrong territory here, ants, can’t you understand this? Don’t you see this huge hurricane which is sucking you up and eventually putting you into the dumpster?” I thought. Nope, apparently a good part of the ants didn’t notice they were on the wrong territory. Out I went emptying the second recipient of the vacuum cleaner.

As I was getting into the house, ready to vacuum the ants again. I started to feel really, really bored. I mean, don’t they understand? What they are still doing here? So, I just sat there with the vacuum cleaner doing its job and letting my mind wandering. And, of course, as my mind was wandering freely, I realized there’s a very deep meaning in this whole “ants” situation.

The Ants Situation Meaning

So, what did I had to learn from this invasion? Three things. Let’s take them one at a time.

1. I put myself for a moment in the ants shoes. From their point of view, the vacuum cleaner was like a big natural disaster. They couldn’t understand the whole picture, like they were on the wrong territory and all, they were just suffering the effects of a force bigger than them. They were swept away and thrown into a dumpster. For no apparent reason at all.

Well, that’s sad. And that’s happening to us too. There are moments in life when we don’t really understand why something violent and destructive is happening to us. We feel like we’re sucked away and all our life is thrown into a dumpster. We’re the toy of a bigger force than us.

What was interesting was that even the ants were able to make a choice. Some of them chose to keep fighting the vacuum cleaner, defending a house and a lifestyle which had no substance at all, while some of them chose to run away, starting fresh. The ones that chose to fight the vacuum cleaner ended up in the dumpster, or dead. The other ones ended up in the wild, starting a new life. A better life, of course.

The fighting ants were defending an illusion. They couldn’t possibly have a good life in my house. They were on the wrong territory. Sooner or later their lifestyle will have been destroyed. They simply made a wrong decision from the very beginning. Of course, they didn’t know that until the storm came, but when the hurricane stroke, they should have realized something’s wrong. The clever ones did, and they saved themselves.

Sometimes, a huge misfortune is just a sign that you’re on the wrong territory. You’re defending an illusion. If you keep fighting, you may end up in a dumpster, or dead. Sometimes, is far more better to start fresh, in the wild.

2. I remembered that a few days ago, in that specific place, I removed a lot of spider webs. I even thought, wow, that’s one hell of a spider corner here, let’s clean this up. I cleaned it up but the result was totally unexpected. I ended up with millions of ants.

Those spiders were there for a reason. They were eating ants. They were preventing them entering the house. They were silently stopping this invasion. But I thought I was better off. Now, I had to do a much nastier job, cleaning up a million of ants and trying to find much difficult ways to stop the invasion.

Every step you take has consequences. I don’t say I will start growing spiders (although I prefer a few controlled spiders over a few millions uncontrolled ants) but my approach changed the balance around my house. And I had to deal with it.

There’s this subtle balance in our lives which keeps things in order. Every time I’m facing an apparently easy decision, like: “should I remove this part of my life, because I don’t even remember why it’s still there?” I take a step back. I do think as much as I can about it. And, most of the time, I keep those things in their place. Maybe I lost the conscious connections, but that doesn’t mean those parts aren’t necessary.

Maybe those “spider webs” are there for a reason. Maybe there is this hidden order in the things which I should just obey and trust.

3. And the last thing I learned is that you can write a successful blog post on self improvement talking about an ants invasion. You don’t believe me? You just read it all, my friend. 🙂



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I’m blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You’re invited, by the way.

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ralxz's Blogs, kurio's resource. kurio's resource said: The “Ants” Situation http://dlvr.it/1YH3Q […]

  2. Our mind is a powerhouse that stores all of the information that happens throughout our life. Wether we choose to remember them or not, it is still there. It is sometimes weird as I remember bits and pieces of something when I’m faced with a particular situation.

    I believe everything you go through in life and experience makes you who you are and that’s what makes each and everyone of us unique.

    A very insightful post, thank you!

    Anna

    1. Thanks for reading and yes, we’re the results of everything we learned or been exposed to, remembering it or not.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WPstudios and rtmate3, RTmate2. RTmate2 said: RT @inspirednews The ?Ants? Situation http://bit.ly/98frCi […]

  4. I lived in a lot of houses and almost all of them had a friendly spider I always called Rosita. It was not the same spider. Cleaning up makes sense and is something everybody should do from time to time. But your ant-experience shows once again that there is a balance in nature and nobody should mess with it.
    I think it might be the time for Bianca to see Monsters’ Inc and Bug Life. It might help with her fears.
    Hugs,
    Ada

  5. Very entertaining story. I saw two more lessons here.

    1) Over coming fear. You taught your daughter to overcome a fear by confronting it. It seems she lost her fear of those ants and even became bored with their presence. You showed her that there was nothing to be afraid of, and she accepted that the ants held no power over her.

    2) Persistance pays off. You also taught a lesson that persistance pay off, and that by continuing to sweep the ants away and then vacuum them away, you were able to overcome the situation.

    1. Glad you liked it, Eric. Although in this specific case, persistence is not the best thing that could happen to somebody ion the story. And I mean the ants, here 🙂

  6. Ants are funny, they don’t analyze. Some decide to fight, some decide to flee, but they all do what they do without putting all of the information into perspective.

    We do this as well. We don’t use the tools (information) available to us. That being said, we should not spend too much time analyzing. Once we have the information we need, we have to move forward with a decision. Great post!

    1. Glad you liked it and I’m totally aligned with that need for action. No need to circle around when you know where you want to be.

  7. Oh that made me giggle, rambo ant man to the rescue!!
    I always tell my other half off for killing spiders, partly because I don’t like killing things and partly because when I was young my mum always told me it was bad luck to kill a spider. Maybe that’s why, the bad luck is an ant invasion.
    Great post, thanks.
    Kate

  8. Ants, I Shall Smite Thee…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  9. I think you just need a cleaning lady, Dragos ;)!
    Just kidding – I would be freaking out. Ants don’t scare me as much as the large quantity of them does….same with birds, in large numbers, they freak me out…….thank you for turning your ant storm into a blog post ;)!

  10. Dragos, I estimate this post to be around 2000 words, maybe even more. I am really impressed with how you were able to take a situation that is unrelated to self-improvement and turn it into a wonderful piece for us to read. It was very scary to listen to your experience with the ant invasion as I am terrified with any type of bugs or insects. This invasion actually happened once in my bathroom and I freaked out. It was cool to hear you calmly handle the situation in front of your daughter until she got bored with it. Thanks for sharing this and good job man!

    1. You’re right about the size of the article and thanks for the nice words. It’s not my first invasion, I remember the times when I was a student and lived in a student hostel. We had so many bugs – and so persistent – that we ended up by giving them names and playing with them, rather than trying to eliminate them.

  11. Dragos, I’m very moved by your wish to not kill the ants if possible. How deeply compassionate you are. Bianca is at the age that children easily acquire phobias. Hopefully, that is not going to be the case with her powerful protector father making it all safe for her again. I’ve read that Tapping can be an enormous help with phobias and fears and traumas even for kids. Thanks for sharing this story from your life.

    1. You’re right about Bianca’s age, I know that I had some pretty nasty experiences at her age, when I as a kid. I was spending my holidays in the countryside and I was actually living in the forest. Cows, pigs, hens, rabbits and a lot of other stuff like snakes were something quite common. Luckily, I didn’t get any phobia out of this.

  12. I’m the ultimate bug hater, so I take my hat off to you for putting forth all that effort. I would’ve grabbed a can of Raid to spray while screaming.

    With that said, I do love the lessons here. Another lesson that I get from ants, although they can’t come into my house and remain alive, is that they work together. They continue tackling situations and they do so as a team, which usually increases their chances for success. You may think that you defeated them, but I’m sure they got something out of the deal. There were likely a few crumbs in the carpet that made it worth the trouble.

    1. Absolutely, that team work of ants is something really impressive. I remember that movie, I guess it’s called “Antz”, I think it surprised this very nice. Thanks for being around 🙂

  13. Nice life-lesson you managed to extract there from the ant situation 🙂 Hopefully you won’t need this, but there’s a nice, simple trick that really works if you’re trying to contain ants: draw a line using chalk. For some bizarre, obscure reason, ants just don’t cross a line made of chalk. We’ve had the same issue in the apartment and my Mom knew the trick, and it really worked, the ants were halted in their tracks. It’s also used by the local authorities: just look at trees in well-maintained areas 🙂

    1. Ups, talking about living and learning: never heard about this one, but I’ll definitely try this, if and when they’re have the guts to invade my territory again. Me, Rambo. 🙂

  14. a brilliant analogy! If we can learn anything from insects, it’s the ants. They are some of the world’s most hard working and co-operative bunch. BTW, next time this happens, just put salt at the entry point. Then go outside and place a line of salt outside the door/window from which they’re entering. They don’t like the stuff and can’t crawl through it. Talcum powder works well too.

    1. I actually tried this, you know, but with boiled water. Seems like they’re not eager anymore to enter my house. Salt. Who would have know?

  15. Dear Dragos, I loved reading this!1 It is so many things at once, comical, insightful and really makes the reader think. I now leave spiders in my house, unless they are black widows, which are poisonous and then I usually catch them and take them outside, but then they are very intelligent and will, if at all possible, come right back in the house to the very same spot they we in. I once owned a cedar shingle house, which flies LOVE. They love to hide under the cedar shakes in the winter, but come spring they crawl out and oddly try to get into the house instead of flying off. I guess because the house is still warmer than the spring air. Anyway, I had to laugh over your vacuum thing, because that is what I had to do with these hundreds of flies clustered around one window. I eventually got smart and caught a spider, took him upstairs to the window and let him SEE ALL THOSE FLIES. Believe me that spider knew a good thing when he saw it. He went crazy catching flies. LOL!! Life is truly amazing.

    I also enjoy the relationship you have with your daughter. Very precious and beautiful. And I enjoyed the lessons your garnered from this experience. YES!!

    Hugs to you,
    Robin

    1. As always, we tend to find some common ground in our stories, Robin, and I love that. But showing flies to a spider, that is something I’d have to practice myself too 🙂

      Thanks for your nice words, your presence is always filled with light 🙂

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Very witty and thought provoking, I liked your determination and funny interactions with your little girl Bianca 😀 Hehe!

  17. That’s one very unusual example, haha

    It’s just ants but you make the it pretty interesting. I love the way you write, the style.

    Wish all the best to your family.

  18. I love your realization! Who knew that ants and spider could teach us a thing or two about life? I agree with you that each actions has a corresponding consequence. That’s why it’s important to know why you’re doing something, so you can be prepared for the consequences.

    1. Or, as I say it to my son (he doesn’t live with me now but we spent a year and a half together): good things have good consequences, bad things have bad consequences.

  19. This was an interesting and engaging piece. I was raised in the bush and the only “bug” that I fear are yellow jacket wasps as I’m violently allergic to their venom. It’s always been a wonderment to me how city folks react to insects. Let’s face it. Insects are necessary for planetary health – human’s aren’t. 😉

  20. […] Basically, one morning I woke up to see our house taken over by an aggressive community of ants, with which, until that very morning, we shared peacefully our own backyard. So, assisted by Bianca, my 4 and a half year girl, I had to cope, in a hysterically-bored way, with a rather unstoppable flow of angry and stubborn ants. […]

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