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Sean Singer

My house was built in 1937 and has an ant situation. Where there’s one, there’s many. I’ve been announcing on multiple Facebook posts for three years that “Trumpism is a death cult,” and this has unfortunately come to pass. If it’s a death cult, then I concluded I’ll do the opposite, and have been picking up each ant individually and putting them outside.

Anthony, Antoinette, etc. It sounds nuts, but that’s what I do. I either direct them to march onto a bookmark or gently pick them up with my right thumb and index finger and open the window and put them out, blow them off, or flick them off. The sensation of a black ant moving on my black arm hair is revolting. If not like an ant brushing through something, it feels like a brush that’s both dense and yielding and springs six legs off itself.

I first thought they were attracted to an open box of sugar cubes in the cabinet. I use the sugar cubes to mix Old Fashioneds. I then poured all the cubes onto a plate and removed each ant, put the ants outside, put the cubes in a Ziploc bag and into the fridge.

But the ant parade continued. So, I continue. They’re a collective, but they’re individual animals. Covid is either an opportunity for everyone to reevaluate their priorities; to make a world where people spend more time with family and friends, and less time working; and to make health care free for everyone. No one knows what will happen tomorrow.

Another possibility is that we will live under a fascist, autocratic regime forever more. It’s a nightmare dystopia, and if not ants, we’re some kind of swarm. We don’t realize we’re all squished, flicked, put out, put down, or blown off.

For me, personally, I expect the worst and am prepared for it. Last year was the worst year of my life. My mother died of a brain tumor, glioblastoma. I also got divorced, bought the house, and moved. Moving is one of the worst things that can happen to a person, and now I have ants in my kitchen.

I was always introverted, quiet, and socially distant even before Covid. I could quite happily sit inside listening to Bach, reading The Dairy Restaurant, and avoiding other people. I’ve made an effort since quarantine to reach out to extroverted people. On some level I’ve been doing better since quarantine; I stopped driving a taxi in New York City, which had been my day job since 2014. I stopped March 3 because of Covid. Driving was stupid and dangerous. I started a business editing people’s manuscripts instead. I’m also an avid ant wrangler.

I can only control my reactions to things, and can only help the people in my immediate circle. My mother would want me to show compassion for all things. It sounds straightforward, but it’s not. So that’s how I’m doing.

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