Thursday, June 21, 2012


The bugs are out again. I've accumulated a few more bug stories throughout the year, here they are:

One day I noticed a line of tiny black ants crawling across my floor. I sweep my room every morning, so I know they weren't there earlier. They followed an invisible path to my trunk, which they disappeared underneath. Maybe I should have been tipped off since the road was one way. I lifted up the trunk to see where they all might be headed. A perfect outline of the trunk was filled in with black. But not a solid black, a moving, swarming, bustling black that, even though it stayed within bounds and was solid in color, did not appear stationary. A shadow of ants. With their roof suddenly relocated they began to search for it. Imagine thousands of ants suddenly and simultaneously leaving their previous parallelogram boundaries in search of some other arbitrary spot. I call it diaspora of the rectangle. They each chose a random trajectory and immediately set out. Up my walls, in every direction, over my feet. Imagine watching a shadow come to life and then, since normal laws of physics are already broken, you become fearful it will envelop the entire room. It kind of overwhelmed me and I didn't know what to do, or how to get rid of the ants. I couldn't even imagine where to start. I called my host uncle, who came in and, much more pragmatically, grabbed a broom and just started sweeping. It obviously didn't matter where you started, they were everywhere, just that you start. I followed suit and the two of us were able to clean away most of the ants within 10 minutes.
I still can't imagine why they were there, food can't really get underneath a trunk, and although it was next to my water filter, I hadn't spilled water there recently. And how did so many get there so fast. The whole thing is kind of mysterious to me, even though when I tell other Senegalese people about it, the only mystery they find is why I would bother recounting this boring story, “And...?”. Hopefully American blog readers will find it a little more interesting.

Another day I heard a buzzing noise that decidedly wasn't my cell phone. I followed the noise and found a fly trapped in a spider web. The spider was approaching but the fly was making no progress escaping. Then the spider started spinning it's web around the fly. It's legs were moving so fast and you wouldn't be able to tell what it was doing except for the fly slowly became covered in a white layer. The fly kept buzzing, but as time went on it became less energetic. Then the fly came in for a bite, I guess one laced with poison. More weaving, more biting, weaving, biting, and the whole time the fly is becoming more and more subdued, until the spider won, leaving only a marked silence behind.

Another day I had just woken up and was sitting in bed, for some reason staring at a stink bug that was walking along in the dirt near my door; apparently I was not the only one watching. The door was open wide so I couldn't see the other side. Just as the bug began to walk underneath the door, a fat purple tongue shot down and the bug was gone. Lizard breakfast.

And then the other night I saw the biggest spider I've ever seen inside a room. It was skinny, but that only helped to exaggerate the already disproportionally fat pincers. And it was extremely fast. I've never seen such a fast spider and can't figure out why they need to be fast. The fact that I had just read a short story by Stephen King probably only made me more jumpy. The spider was so big that I could hear it brushing up against things when it sprinted behind my table. I tried to kill it but was too slow. Spider at large. I definitely had trouble sleeping that night.

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