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Workaholics

October 2, 2013

There’s an ant massacre in my freezer.

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I’ve never seen anything like it. Reminds me of the D-Day stencils of 9,000 dead soldiers, just done in Normandy last week.

d-day stencils normandy

d-day stencils

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Poor guys. The strangest part is that when the swarm and frosty die-off began, there was nothing even IN the freezer. Really, nothing. Three fingers’ worth of ginger and an old bag of ice from my housewarming brunch — that’s it.

At first I thought the ants might want the water in the ice, but then they could have just stormed the sink where there’s plenty pooling in the undone dishes. On the freezer floor you can see a drip of some caramel-looking substance (ice cream?), but the pattern of the tiny corpses doesn’t suggest the spill as the focus or destination.

On the bright side, now there is food in the freezer. Because I made a trip to the real grocery store, rather than a corner store run, and for the next few days my dinners will graduate from chips-and-salsa to ravioli-in-jarred-sauce or saag-paneer-heated-in-the-oven.

If you know me, you know that this is a sorry state, and somewhat unusual. I like to cook. Hell, half this blog consists of cooking photos.

The simplest explanation is overwork. Too many projects, paid and unpaid. I finish work, exhausted, and rush off to a meeting or plop down to edit a political video. By the time I get hungry, my body is at a total loss for what it wants to eat. I sit and stare into space, trying to key into whether it’s soup or tofu or salad or what. I end up with chips and salsa.

I always wondered how my mother did it: working more than full time and feeding us every night. She used lots of cans and boxes. Dinty Moore beef stew. Frozen peas (which I still love). Stove Top stuffing. Mom didn’t enjoy cooking (unlike me), and though she would grill up fresh chicken or fish, or brown some sausage to throw into the Ragu spaghetti sauce, the main objective of dinner was efficiency. I get it now.

But what doesn’t make sense is why she should have had to work so hard — why any of us should have to work as long and hard and anxious as we do. Shouldn’t we have all the time in the world to cook and feed each other, if we want to? I mean, listen. People used to have to write everything out By Hand. Deliver it on horseback. Then came the printing press, the personal typewriter, and now the computer and internet. We can work a bajillion times faster, more efficiently. But instead of everyone doing less work and enjoying more free time to fucking cook and relax, the people with jobs get squeezed more and more, work longer and harder, and the ones who can’t find a job… good luck to you.

Work, work, work, then die — in a freezer. Hunting for who even knows what.

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