The Ant and the Grasshopper

Since college, my friend Hayley and I have always talked about the fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. The ant works hard through the summer to prepare for winter by building his home and collecting food. The grasshopper plays beautiful music all day but doesn’t prepare for winter. He mocks the ant for being so busy and not enjoying life. When winter comes, the ant is cozy, warm and fed, in his home and he gets a knock on the door from the grasshopper. The grasshopper asks if he can stay and the ant scorns him for wasting his time while the ant worked so hard. The story ends sadly with the ant unwilling to help the grasshopper.

Hayley’s found an article about the whole philosophy behind it and so we started describing all personalities as either ants or grasshoppers or some combination. There are ant people, usually Type A,  busy bee, multi-taskers. There are grasshoppers, laid back, fun-loving types only worried about the here and now. Ants get a bum rap for sucking the fun out of things. Grasshoppers can be free riders. So they both have positives and negatives.

I am an ant. Or at least I was before I moved to Spain, the land of grasshoppers. No one was in a hurry. Teachers rarely planned lessons more than ten minutes before class. After the bell rang ending recreo (recess), the teachers would sit sipping their coffee in no hurry to return to class. I loved it. I surprised myself and adapted to it. There are ants who think they are grasshoppers and there are grasshoppers who can function among ants… am I losing you yet? DC is trying it’s best to turn me back into an ant but I am resisting hard-core.

So, on Monday while I was working in Chicago, C found a used book store where he got me a book of short stories (I love short stories, have I mentioned that before?). It was such a nice gift after a long, stressful day at work. The best part was that it had a rendition of The Ant and the Grasshopper in it! I read the story (albeit on the metro while commuting, guh.) and it took me right back.

I love seeing what notes people have written in used books. August 1973, sweet! Plus the book has Matisse illustrations inside.

EB

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