The Brighter Writer


Alien Ant Farm

We don't have a mall. We have the Irvine Spectrum instead.

This place was at one point my home away from home. A place where I spent hours with my mom drinking martinis. A place where I single-handedly brought the economy back to life one store at a time. I love this place. If you hang a right between the Ferris wheel and the ice skating rink and you go past the carousel, you'll find yourself a Brookstone store. Given that I'm a geek about gadgets, it's one of my favorite browsing places.

So this one gorgeous southern California day, as I was strolling around the store feeling all the soft memory foam pillows and sitting in the massage chairs and driving the remote control robot cars, I saw the coolest thing ever invented on a shelf in the back. An ant farm. (Oh snap!) Not just your average sand in some planes of glass ant farm, but a NASA ant farm. They developed this blue gel (I like to call it space-alien sauce) that doubles as the house and the food for these creepy 3-eye'd creatures. I sat in that store for probably an hour watching these ants before I decided I had to have one for my very own. So I bought it.

I was so excited I practically vibrated home, but when I opened the box I discovered the ants weren't included. Which, you know, duh. I just hadn't thought about it, so I had to send away for them and wait another couple of days before they arrived via FedEx. Any of you that know me know how incredibly impatient I am. I'm an instant gratification kind of girl so finding out it would take 3-5 business days really pissed me off. But anyway, I'm getting off track again, they finally arrived in a yellow bubble wrap envelope with "Caution: Live Animals" stamped in red. I was so happy I about peed. They were in a plastic vial labeled Harvester Ants, so I popped the lid off and poured them in!

Man! These suckers hit the ground running! They dug these crazy tunnels and they were a total team the whole time! I can't believe the communication these guys had with each other! They were always touching antennas and passing stuff back and forth and eating together and sleeping in shifts. Absolutely fascinating to watch. They even built a separate hole away from everything else where they would put the dead ones and then they would all stand around it for a minute and have like a tiny little funeral.

So anyway, I suggest you run right out this second and pick one up for your family. Because who doesn't like an alien ant farm? They make great gifts too. The ants only live a couple weeks so you need a constant supply of them coming in and your FedEx guy will probably wonder what the hell you're doing with packages that say "Caution: Live Animals" but it's nice to keep people guessing sometimes.