Friday, January 10, 2014

waiter, what is this ant doing in my water?

I tried to shoot this as factually as I could.

And I thought I had done well in making the shot rather academic -- while reducing the creepy factor.  But, when I showed it to my friend Joyce and explained it to her, I got the same reaction as if she felt something moving in her shoe.  After she put it on.

So, I proceed cautiously with this little tale.  I would give it a zero on the Yuck Scale.  But I have learned to live a life of contentment with few yucks in my life.

Water is something I do not take for granted.  I have written on the topic recently (waters of life).

Most of us here in Melaque do not drink the water that comes out of our taps.  That "us" includes my Mexican neighbors.  Some people do -- and claim they have never had any bad results.  But most of us use that water only to wash ourselves, our clothes, and our dishes (with a shot of iodine or chlorine in the dish wash and rinse water).

Drinking water is another story.  It arrives in the equivalent of 5 gallon bottles that we dispense through a variety of means.  In my case, I tip the bottle over into a talavera cermaic jug.  There is a spigot at the bottom to let the water flow.

It is an elegant system.  Simple.  And always available.

When the bottle runs low, I simply remove the empty, open a full bottle, and flip it into place.  That is all I do.  Until recently.

When I returned from Oregon in December, I noticed that there were a couple of very small ant corpses floating on top of the water in the jug.  I fished them out of the drink, and finished up the water in the jug.

Yesterday, I switched out another bottle and decided to see if I needed to drag the lake for bodies.  I did.  What I saw is what you see at the top of this post.  There were rafts of little bodies floating on the surface of the water.  As if they were forming a formicine memorial for the Titanic lost.

There were no squeals.  I simply did a quick calculation.  It would take me about ten minutes to retreive the little bodies.  And I would save -- what?  25 cents worth of water? 

It wasn't worth the effort.  So, out went the water.

I do not know for certain where the ants are coming from.  If ants they are.

They are probably not hatching in the bottles.  Far more likely, they climb the legs of the water stand -- drawn to the scent of water.  And like saber tooth tigers at the La Brea tar pits, they are sucked down to their deaths.

Spraying everything with insecticide is rather contrary to my notion of enjoying the pure water from the bottles.  And most water systems up north are filtered through far more disgusting animal and plant debris -- if my friends at the Salem Water Department can be believed.

I will simply go on enjoying the water that arrives sealed in bottles at my house. After all, if the FDA allows an a
verage of 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter, an ant or two in my water is not going to be a problem.

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