Most people who work from home get some kind of office. I got a belfry. This office has no heat or air conditioning and only has electricity because I paid a guy who wouldn’t tell me his real name to run a thick wire from the bare bulb hanging from the ceiling down to ground level. It looked safe. That’s why I plugged a whole bunch of power strips into it and attached a forty-year-old space heater to it. Just to make sure it all goes up in smoke at the same time, I also leave a candle burning on my desk at all times, right next to a stack of oily newspapers. The whole office is dark and smelly and looks a lot like a place you would go to buy meth.
All of the safety precautions I’ve taken haven’t done anything to prevent unwanted visitors from barging into my office while I’m trying to work. No, I don’t mean my family. They can read, so they know full well what the warning sign on the door means. Hint: it clearly states that the doorknob is also attached to the light socket with electric cable.
The unwanted visitor I’ve been contending with is a good-sized carpenter ant. In my dictionary, good-sized means he’s big enough that I have to name him but still small enough that it wouldn’t make an icky crunchy noise if I accidentally-on-purpose stepped on him. I call him Herb.
I was actually a little impressed with my new office mate since he just runs around without talking and doesn’t leave stuff lying around. Already that means he’s a better roomie than anyone else I currently live with. I even developed something close to fondness for Herb because I was really amazed that every time I sat down to get to work, there he was. He just quietly runs up and down the wall for fun, like he’s waiting for me to come in there to say hi.
Then I dropped my pencil. I had to crawl on the floor to get it and that’s when I figured out that Herb is a big fat liar and has probably stolen several identities. There’s no Herb. There’s about four thousand Herbs. It’s not one cute little ant with a name and a jacket that I made for him out of a tiny piece of lint. It’s a whole swarm of them and they’re crawling all over the Cheeto that dropped behind my desk all by itself. I feel completely violated. I trusted Herb, I believed in him, I even wrote a song for him. And he’s just a bug like the rest of them. Fortunately, I had one socket left on the power strip so I bought a bug zapper. Those things are safe.