The ants appear to be winning…

Somewhere, somehow, I must have offended the ant gods – you know, the vengeful insect deities rumored to hold court behind a shimmering gold Dumpster just south of Barstow?

Perhaps I should explain…

Trouble started last week when I climbed into my car, sleepily flicked on the defroster and promptly got a face full of ants.

Hey, I’ve battled ants in the kitchen and ants in the bathroom and ants on the dining room floor, but never have I had to do battle with ants in my car.

Overcoming my initial shock, I quickly inspected the rest of my auto and found that the entire passenger compartment was infested with industrious hordes of the tiny black insects, marching purposefully back and forth across the dashboard, down the center console and along the doors.I eventually removed some of the tiny troublemakers from my steering wheel and drove to work, hoping that my better-informed colleagues might offer a solution to the problem.

Uh-huh.

Never expect useful advice at work.

One genius recommended blasting the entire interior of the car with a high pressure hose. Yes, this might get rid of the ants but I suspect it would also play hell with the car’s electronics.

“Just spray ’em with a big ol’ shot o’ Raid,” another colleague suggested.

Oh, yeah. That’s a good idea. Then the next time I hit the defroster I get a face full of dead ants and enough insecticide to kill a trophy lobster.

One can, of course, try to eliminate the problem by vigorously smacking the six-legged pests, but that extermination technique presents its own set of unique challenges.

Think about it – you’re cruising down the interstate when you observe a high-kicking chorus line of ants dancing across your dashboard, just daring you to take a swipe at them. This is, of course, impossible to resist, so you begin enthusiastically smacking them.

Bad move, amigo.

You’re now straddling two lanes of the interstate and going for three, drifting dangerously close to the road shoulder at somewhere between 45 and 75 mph as you escalate hostilities against your diminutive antagonists.

California Highway Patrol officers simply love watching bizarre maneuvers like this because it gives them lots of, er, options to weigh…

“Hmmmmm. Lookit that. Hmmmmm – pull him over or just shoot him?

“If you somehow survive driving with 12,000 or so of these rowdy little passengers on board, you’ll soon find out that ants will enthusiastically infest a lot more than your automobile.

They’ll climb into your coat, slip into your shirt and penetrate your pants before you’ve driven around the block, effectively annihilating whatever’s left of your rapidly deteriorating driving skills.

I hate to admit it, but in my case it appears that the ants are rapidly gaining the upper hand.

If you’re driving down Interstate 80 any time soon and see a dusty Mustang on the shoulder with a bleached skeleton slumped over the steering wheel, you’ll know the ants won…

Originally published December 28, 2003