16 April, 2009

Formicidae and First Days

So there are lots and lots of dishes that need to be done, but I am not doing them--and not for the reason you might think, but rather because our dishwasher is infested with ants. I hate ants. I don't mind them outside, I just hate opening up a cupboard or dishwasher and seeing them crawling everywhere. It freaks me out. I would take one thousand spiders outside in a glass before I would co-exist with ants. Blegh.

Anyway, yesterday I was the one unfortunate enough to discover our little ant problem when I opened our dishwasher. I screamed really loud and scared Pamela to death. Anyway, we tried to create an ant trap using honey, but it doesn't work. So I (and I still don't understand why I had to do this) sprayed cleaning fluid on them and drowned the little bugs. I felt bad about killing the ants even though I'm not crazy about them, but as Amalia so logically pointed out, "What else can we do? Sing to them and lure them outside?" Then I (shudder) wiped off the little ant corpses so they wouldn't get on our dishes the next time we ran the machine. I really don't like ants.

Today I opened the dishwasher again today and they were back!!! Perhaps reincarnated. Perhaps the other ants smelled their dead family members. I think ants have a really good sense of smell. Is that right? I know they have superhuman strength (superant strength?). They are pretty cool creatures. I just wish they would stay outside. Anyway, I killed those guys too.

I wasn't planning to write about ants today. I was going to write about my first day of junior high. Taylor, Brooke and I were brainstorming about the latest draft of our pilot, which is about a girl starting her freshman year of high school. Then this memory came back to me, and I am pretty sure I had forgotten about it until today.

So I went to a charter school that was really awesome, and it only had about seventy kids K-6. We had our own salmon hatchery, graded ourselves, and called the teachers by their first names. I don't mean this in a corny way, but it's true: we were more like a family than a school. My graduating class in sixth grade was only eight kids, and we were like siblings. We fought like siblings even, but generally got along really well. Anyway, everyone except me and one other girl lived on the other side of the district divide, so I only knew one girl when I started my first day at this junior high of several hundred kids. As luck would have it, she was enrolled in some special program, so we didn't have any classes together.

The two things I remember about my first day of junior high was that I answered a question correctly in my science class (it was a really easy question) and everyone in the class looked at me askance, because apparently only losers answer questions on the first day of school. Also, I remember that at lunch, I had no idea where to go, because I didn't know anyone. Finally I saw a girl I knew from girls' camp, although she was in a different ward. I was so happy to see someone I knew, so I went and sat with her and her friends. She didn't talk to me or even look at me, which at the time I found really embarrassing, but now I find sort of funny. Anyway, I never tried sitting with her again.

The next day, this other girl who had recently moved to Seattle from Palestine walked up to me and asked if I would be her friend. Just like that. She turned out to be really cool. Her name was Zaynab, and she and I and this other immigrant girl from Vietnam (Thuy Nguyen) sat together every lunch until Zaynab's family ended up moving a few months later. Those girls even got me a present and sang to me on my birthday. They were so nice. Thuy and I were friends (though never super-close friends) throughout high school. She had a baby sophomore year and kept it, but she stayed in school and graduated with all sorts of honors. Her daughter's name was Eden and she was incredibly cute.

The really funny thing about the initial memory of having nowhere to sit at lunch is that I totally forgot about it. I was never good friends with that girl, but it's sort of ironic because I moved up the social ranks pretty successfully in high school, to the point where I knew pretty much everyone and was considered fairly "cool" (this was mostly because of Cori). By high school, this girl had decided that I was someone she wanted to be seen with, and because I had totally forgotten about the incident in seventh grade, I didn't have any reason not to be nice to her. I could have totally gotten revenge by rejecting her, but I forgot I had any reason to.

I wonder if I would have gotten any pleasure out of that. Probably not. She was mildly handicapped, I think, or maybe just not very well socialized, so it would have felt sort of unfair. Like killing ants outside, as opposed to inside, when one has no other choice.


Ashley said...

On my first day of high school, my mother pulled me out of bed while it was still dark out (and I started school in Kansas in August--when the sun is still coming up fairly early in the morning) and gave me the post awkward sequel to the Birds and the Bees talk meant to be given to someone actually contemplating sex (which I wasn't). It was excruciating. You couldn't pay me enough to do that to my daughter.

mathistown said...

i loved this. the end--brilliant. i love noticing those kinds of patterns and archetypes and whatnot in everday situations. and i'll come deal with your ants, if you'll deal with my spiders. i hate, HATE spiders!!!!

theFinn said...

I like ants AND spiders, and yet I have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about stomping on either one should the need arise. What does that say about me as a person?

Sterling and Cori Anne said...

I remember when you use to vacuum up ants in LFP.

Sterling and Cori Anne said...

I like the memory. I never got to meet Zaynab. But I do remember feeling extrememly awkward at Kellogg too. Those two the two hardest years. I miss you.

Carrie S said...

Elisa! Ok, I had to comment. I have been following your blog for a while. Mostly because you are a great writer, but also because I love reading your memories from LFP. What a place we grew up. I keep thinking that people will change (I certainly have) but it seems that mostly things remain the same. I find that extremely sad and somewhat comforting at the same time. Anyways, the first day of Kellogg story made me laugh because I think we all remember our first day there! Goodness I hated that place.

on our first day, my elementary school best friend ignored me the entire lunch period to hang out with her other friends (the group later known to hang out in the SAC)and I was devastated. Needless to say, I am no where near as big a person as you and rejected a facebook friend request from her our junior year of college! lame.

so sorry for the lengthy post. keep up the good fight & I enjoy reading your blog!


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