This evening, in an effort to make our house more habitable, physically and hygienically, we embarked on a multifaceted attack on the exploding mess that is our kitchen. While I killed the creatures with napalm-esque warfare in the closet with the stairs to nowhere, Nicole cleaned the fridge (found: a kombucha baby, rice wrapped in foil, condiments enough for the world’s largest hotdog, smelly unmentionables), Tim “scrubbed crevices” and Melina washed off the goods to be kept. When the compost was dumped, its inner, immobile, anaerobic depths stirred like the rising dead to punish us for the delayed cleaning and produced an odiferous tsunami that wafted in and out with the breeze, each time like a wave of diarrhea doom.
The positive result of Operation Getting Rank Old Stuff Sequestered (GROSS) is that it is, in fact, slightly cleaner.
Negative aspects of Operation GROSS include, but are not limited to, a disgusting evening, a waste of food, a general disgruntlement, and an unusually copious covering of my form with ants.
We have an ant problem. The problem is that ants crawl in neat lines along our walls, counters, floors, straying sometimes to our bedrooms, living rooms, and eventually, climbing onto us. They tread lightly and I often find my Formicidae foes only hours after I’ve left the house. It is rather uncomfortable to pick off insects from one’s body while, for example, out to dinner with friends or, perhaps, while gettin’ it on with someone unfamiliar with “the problem.” While producing understandable social stigmatization (is the ant the new cootie?), ants crawling all over me is also a physiological fuck. Sometimes it tickles. Sometimes I feel like I am being bitten. Recently, I have grown paranoid and have begun to imagine ants on me when there aren’t any. I swap at myself like a fly-tortured cow every time a breeze blows or a hair falls out of place onto my neck. This does not make me look sound of mind.
The photo, taken during Operation GROSS, made me think of Peter Menzel’s What the World Eats . While I try to mostly consume fresh vegetables and fruit, home cooked grains, and home cooked everything else, I know I’ve been slacking extra hard lately. But I didn’t realize just what a sea of cans and jars was present in the house (although mostly they aren’t mine anyway). But more on this later.