Ant Farm: Day 4

The most respected piece of literature on ants is the “Uncle Milton’s Ant Watcher’s Guide to The Ant Farm Village”(1995). In this tome, we find ants described as industrious, social, and they like to eat. While I found their information about the cleanliness of ants to be less than trustworthy, I see that this information is remarkably on the mark. My ants have built themselves a little restaurant and they frequent it often! They have collected all of their food and buried it on one side (luckily the one by me so I noticed it) and throughout the day small groups of 5 to 10 ants will come over and dine on a delectable “blend of protein, seeds, grains, vitamins and minerals that are good for ants”(Uncle Milton’s Ant Watcher’s Guide to The Ant Farm Village ’95).
When you and I go to a restaurant with our friends, we sit in our leatherette booths and quietly eat our food while conversing jovially. While supplied with many luxuries (such as convenient, easy to carry sand), my ants do not have booths. They go to dine at Chez Fourmis they must shove their head into the sand and eat what they find. Eating is such an enjoyable experience for them (Ants Like to Eat – Uncle Milton) that while in this prone position they wildly wave their hindmost legs and tap them on anything nearby.
With the burying of their food which includes seeds comes even more sprouting. The ants enjoy this new addition to their world immensely. A few ants have discovered that they can climb the sprout and then reeeaaaccchhh up and grab the edge where the cover connects to the base. The more athletic ones will grab on to the edge and then hang and hang. You can almost hear their desperate little cries “let us out, please let us out”. By guessing that they have a language based on taps i try to convey to them in each tap that the world outside their village is harsh and and angry. The sand is not convenient or easy to carry and the food tastes bad. Soon they will learn.
Ants are a curious lot (I made that up, I don’t know what Uncle Milton thinks). Some of them are experimenting with different modes of travel. The method that has every ant’s giddy attention is the ant version of Lionel Richie’s Seminal Hit, “Dancin on the Ceilin'”. In this walk, the ants enter a tube and flip onto their backs and desperately try to walk along the top of the tubes. While ants are not subject to man’s law (or even Burke’s Law) they are subject to the laws of physics and the ants are left flailing like useless infants.
This brings us to another intersting ant issue. Remember their little pile-ups in the ant tubes? Well, many of these pile-ups are caused by the Lionel Richie fans. When an ant is walking from one place to another he is seemingly preprogrammed with a set of instructions, but he does not have any error handling code to refer to when he meets an obstacle. When an ant is walking from the purple farm on his way to Chez Fourmis and he encounters a Lionel Richie fan in his way, he just keeps walking even if he is incapable of moving forward. This ant will walk and walk and walk in place until the L.R. fan gets up and moves. Imagine 6 ants all converging on a hapless ceiling dancer at once. Sitcoms have been made on lesser premises.