This weeks topic is on tolerance. This is about all the things that bother us and regardless of how painful, annoying or inconvenient they are, we must endure to live with them and in many cases, embrace them. I think that’s how my wife survives living with me.
I don’t think it’s a mystery that I have to put up with a lot of crap from, insects, wildlife and people. There were two events that happened this week, however, that really seemed to resonate in both my personal life and my professional life in regards to this matter.
Let’s start with what I know best, ants. In this cases these aren’t just any ants, they European Fire Ants. I had to deal with this menace last week. Let’s not blame the Europeans just yet, it really was poorly named. This has more to do with a Eurasian invasion. In it’s home turf they can typically occupy 1 nest in 10 square metres. Here in Vancouver that can be as high as 4 colonies in 1 square metre! Why you ask? well, read this if you are curious about the details:
The end result is an insect that will boil out of the ground and swarm you, your children and your pets. They will switch and turn aggressive at the snap of a finger and when they do, You will wish you kicked a hornet nest instead.
These things are here to stay. Most pest control companies I know simply walk away when they see this. Home owners panic and are unable to sell their properties. It spreads to neighboring yards and neighbors turn on each other. I have even seen people take to digging up and paving their yards out of desperation. I strongly doubt this will get better but, it can be managed. Colony sizes can be reduced and the environment can be controlled to keep populations at bay. Luckily, they do not spread fast or appear to take flight in the same manner many ants do. We have to live with them now, they are part of our environment. It should be a reason for communities to bond together, not to fall apart.
I tackle this issue by communicating and educating all the nearby and affected neighbors. There is a lot you can do by working with your community and people like me. The city has a lot to say about it as well. There is much to learn, for all of us.
It was after having struggled with this unique issue that I decided to enjoy a long weekend and support my friends at the pride parade. There was much jubilation, libations, gyrations and sequins. It was a curious circus of acceptance and yearning for more rights as equal human beings.
Which is why I was so stunned when I was approached by an individual and asked “So what’s your deal?” to which I replied “Well, I’m here with my friends and my wife.”
There was a long pause and a scornful look. “Oh, you’re one of those people. You do know there are other places you can go right?”.
Man, that was the first time as a straight white male that I ever encountered any sort of backlash like that (in this Country). Now, I have no right to complain but I have an even greater appreciation for people who have to endure those types of behaviors every single day. That being said my gay compadres came to my defense in a flurry of chivalrous fury. I felt like Richard Gere when Julia Roberts rescued him right back.
So the lesson I took from this was this; When a community faces any kind of change, albeit political, biological or climatological we all have a choice to either come together and build a stronger society or we can take the ignorant path and fight it tooth and nail.
Fire ants may be a horrible invasive species but with a little education and communication neighborhoods can be built better and find a better sense of balance. So it boggles my mind that we don’t make the same effort where other people are concerned. Other people who do not sting, who do not bite, who do not terrorize children, who do not live in under our lawns or cause deathly allergic reactions. They simply dance, they simply love and they simply live, just possibly a little more fabulous than the rest of us…