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Terry and the Termites

I went for a drive down the coast yesterday, with the notion of visiting my cousin, Terry. As it happened, she’d gone into the city for the day; we’d totally bypassed each other. She suggested that I go and check out this wooden cabin down the back of her property, which she had been thinking of using as an art studio. I agreed to stick my head in.

Walking up the side of her house, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of ants in her driveway… like, a lot. Wondering what this was all about, I traced a line of them back to its point of origin, at which point it became clear that the ants were coming out of the cracks around the windows. It’s an old house, so cracks harbouring insects are to be expected, but this was ridiculous.

Seriously, this could only be described as a full-on infestation. I had half a mind to get out my phone to dial up a pest control expert near Rosebud. But I decided that Terry was probably aware of the problem, and continued on down to check out the prospective studio.

The first thing I noticed was that it was more of a shed, really. The second thing was the roof had caved in on one side, which seemed like a bit of a worry if Terry was planning to use it for anything other than firewood. After a bit of poking around, I realised that the entire thing was overrun with termites. At this point, I couldn’t resist texting Terry to advise that she arrange for a termite inspection for her house, alongside the necessary ant extermination. An emergency termite inspection in Mornington shouldn’t be hard to tee up, I told her.

Well, according to her, it is too hard. She actually got quite shirty with me, saying she didn’t appreciate me telling her how to live her life. Erm, okay, Terry. I hope you enjoy your new housemates.

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Just…Get Rid of the Termites?

I’m trying to think of an Australian equivalent for the situation I’m in right now. What’s something that Australians REALLY like? I’m thinking sport, barbecues, beaches…probably more stuff. None of that seems really culturally ingrained like in other countries though. Like, if you said you didn’t like beaches, people might just shrug. Loads of people aren’t into sport.

Whereas in an Albjerian family, if you say you don’t like animals it’s like a thousand-year-curse on your household. Even people who don’t like animals have to pretend, because it’s THAT important.

So when I finally snapped and asked if we can’t just call someone about termite control. Dandenong has a bit of problem with white ants lately, according to the local newspapers. I had my fingers crossed that the pest control people will take care of the mound in the garden. The parents did not approve. I was given a stern talking to revolving around Kallii, the termite goddess who was personally responsible for the creation of tent pegs, back in the ‘Anima-Ren’ (Wild Days. Like, before time began or something). Oh, wow, I hope she got the rest of the day off afterwards, because that must’ve been tiring, poor thing. And that comment got me grounded.

It’s dumb though. We have a real termite problem brewing out there, and the parents are so steeped in tradition that they don’t even seem to care. So here’s me, the teenager, being the responsible one. In this, anyway. There are also those festivals where they cook up all kinds of insects, and everyone brings their dogs and cats and exotic lizards and we’re all supposed to handle them while thanking them for their acts of living. I don’t want to touch ANY of those things. I don’t want to eat bugs, and I do not want to go out to the termite mound in the garden and pay my respects with a short prayer. I’d rather be calling in the pest control people from Dandenong who can deal with it. Permanently. Forever. But I can’t, because…I’m grounded.