Formication, from the Latin for ant, is the feeling that insects are crawling over your skin, a tactile hallucination which can be a symptom of fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, drug withdrawal or severe anxiety.
In my case, it isn’t the anxiety that’s causing the formication. It’s the formication that’s causing the anxiety. And it’s no hallucination. Over the last month or so, implacable hordes of Argentinian ants have invaded my home.
It’s bad enough to find them in the dog’s bowl, the microwave, or swarming on the bench. It’s really infuriating to have them crawling and nipping at you in bed, or clambering up your arms and down your neck when you are innocently reading a book or working at the computer.
In an effort to find a peaceful solution - Donald Trump take note - I’ve circulated the following Open Letter in English and Spanish to all ants:
Recently, and for reasons unknown to me, many of you have taken up residence in my house.
I understand that if you live in some sh*thole of a place, my house will seem an infinitely more attractive place..
I realise that if you are starving you might need to stock up on the sugars and proteins which are so plentiful here.
Perhaps you are searching for family members who have lived undocumented in my house for years?
Perhaps you are fleeing persecution and corruption in your country of origin?
Whatever your situation I sympathise. I really do. In principle, I favour peaceful co-existence with other living creatures. It’s just that I’m beginning to feel like a stranger in my own home. Some of you have begun to take liberties - sleeping uninvited in my bed, stealing food, occupying nooks and crannies all over the place and then refusing to leave.
Because building a wall to keep you out would be costly and ineffective, I have found myself retaliating in ways which are absolutely foreign to my essential nature. As some of you will be only too aware, I have begun spraying you with lethal chemicals, crushing you as you wander innocently on the bench and drowning you in the sink. It was not until I found myself with my finger poised on the telephone button to call a professional exterminator, that I realised there was another way to deal with the situation.
That’s why I’m inviting you to a meeting at my place on Saturday at 10am. Many of you drop in at that time anyway - before I’ve had a chance to clear the breakfast debris and the dog hasn’t licked her bowl completely clean.
I’ll be serving golden syrup, cubes of dog food on toothpicks, and sugary beverages to keep us all alert and hydrated while we hammer out some mutually acceptable solution to this issue.
A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be present, and any agreement will be drawn up in Spanish and English.
WARM REGARDS, I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON SATURDAY
UN CORDIAL SALUDO, NOS VEMOS EL SÁBADO.