Column: Maintaining composure during crisis

Well, it was a strange week at my house.

Monday, while my mom was having her morning coffee on the lanai, something startled her. Just moments after stepping on the porch, she began to scream.

On the floor of the porch was a line of small dots that led from the cat’s bowl to the front door.

I dropped my Pop-Tart and ran to her aid. In hysterics, she pointed to the trail of gray dots.

“What is it?” I cleverly queried.

“I must have left some cat food in the bowl and some ants got inside,” she explained. “The line of ants must have left the mark.”

“Oh my God!” I screamed. “Do you know what this means? We have ant tracks!”

“Ant tracks,” my mom yelled. “What should we do?”

I began to cry. My mom grabbed me by the shoulders and started shaking me.

“Get a hold of yourself,” she bellowed. “Don’t forget we have organized institutions that know how to take care of these types of situations.”

I know I should have felt some comfort in these words, but I still was unsure.

I was surprised by mother’s composure. My mom and I are not known to be calm during emergencies.

Last year, for example, we faced another alarming predicament. One of our cats, who had been sick for many months, had a seizure. Poor kitty walked inside the house, fell to its side and began to go into convulsions.

During the episode, I picked up the kitty and began to run around the house.

“Cat’s dying, cat’s dying,” I screamed.

Mom did not handle the situation much better.

She grabbed the cat and put it into the kitchen sink. All heck broke loose after we accidentally turned on the faucet and the cat was soaked.

So, we did the only sensible thing – we got the hair dryer and tried to dry the floundering feline. It took us about 15 minutes to realize we were blow-drying a dead cat.

While there may have been no dignity in the cat’s death, the funeral was really nice.

Anyway, now that you know how my family deals with a crisis, you will be astounded at how we handled the ant tracks ordeal.

“I don’t know what to do!” I told my mom in regards to the specks on the floor.

My mother would not accept the fact that she had spent thousands of dollars on my college education and that I could not come up with a plausible solution.

“Well, what would the university do if this happened in your office?” my mom asked.

“Well, they would probably come and talk to us and tell us not to worry,” I answered.

“Then, they would say to wait for the results of the tests on the person who came into contact with the suspicious material before anything can be done.”

My mom was surprised that the area would not be immediately tested and cleaned.

“Naw, it would probably take at least three days,” I said.

I explained to her that the people in our office would probably have to throw a hissy fit for the university to take action and make sure our working environment was completely safe.

“I won’t feel safe out here until it’s gone,” my mom said as she handed me a mop and bucket.

“I know how you feel, Mom.”

  • Ann Norsworthy is The Oracle senior staff