Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Without Invitation


Here is something I will not do again:

Google images of spiders.

Spiders are disconcerting in the best circumstances, but coming at me in ultra close-up, or ultra millions from my computer screen makes my arms feel week from the inside. My mind sends the cold sting of venom into my fingers.

I don't hate spiders. I don't love spiders.
I recognize that spiders eat other undesirable living things in my house, but they are their own kind of creepy. I find them hiding in my pile of towels in the laundry room more often than I care to. A strange red, crustacean looking fellow that ends up atrophied in the bottom of my washing machine if it does not escape before the awful drowning. I see the hairier type lounging in the upper corners of the house. I find them scurrying across the white tile in my basement - a flash of dark hoofing it from one hiding place to the next before I can bring down the nearest Animal Atlas in one crushing blow atop the offender.

This past week spiders have invited themselves into my days with no thought to how unwelcome they might be.


The Spider Encounters


I.
Sitting in the dining room I hear Cecily scream in primal waves from the stairs. I lay the baby on the floor and run to rescue her from whatever injury has just befallen her. She is visibly unharmed but cannot stop screaming and shaking. On the step beside her - difficult to see in the carpet that camouflages its bulbous body - is a spider making a leisurely escape. Cecily is crying now, trying to speak through her tears, "My toes . . . 'pider on my toes, 'pider on my toes. Scary Mama."
"Did that spider walk on your toes?"
"Yes," she sobs.
"Did it bite you?"
"Yes"
But it has been several days now and multiple inspections have revealed no spider bite. It just walked across her lily white toes which nearly killed her from fright - no venom necessary.

II.
Bringing the kids in from the car after a late Saturday evening at the Homestead. We are herding them down the stairs directly to their beds. I hold Ewan and walk right behind Matthew while he carries Cecily. While he is descending the stairs a spider is descending it's thread such that I think they are going to collide about face/shoulder level. He cannot see the spider, and it is happening too fast for me to warn him. But they just miss each other. Matt makes it to the bottom of the stairs and I wait for the spider to reach the floor so I can make sure to step on it on my way down.

III.
I am driving. There is a mosquito zipping about in the space between me and the windshield that I cannot kill despite much thumping and waving of my hands. It mocks my iron fist with skilled evasive maneuvers. As I approach irate frustration and reckless driving that will surely put the four children I have buckled into my van in jeopardy the mosquito seems to stop mid air near the bottom of the windshield. I realize it has been caught in a spider's web. I laugh out loud to think that I could not bring down this little flying creature but some spider hiding out in my van has got the thing absolutely. There is obviously no escape for the mosquito that is now a meal. This is funny until . . .

IV.
A few days later I buckle the kids into the van after trick-or-treating at Grandpa's office. We say goodbye to Matthew as he drove separately and I slide into the driver's seat when I catch a glimpse of a FAT, hairy thing dart across the top of my windshield. My first thought as I am ejecting myself at light speed out of the car is "I know why you are so fat." This is no ordinary spider - as most arachnid close encounters are of the extraordinary variety. I reach in to find something with which to vanquish the oversized brute. All I come out with is a little packet of papers stapled together that is surely one of Caroline's homemade books. I position it with great care fearing that my one shot at annihilation will result in the thing jumping out at my face instead of being crushed on contact. My strike is swift and successful, resulting in a morbid crunch beneath my fingers and a brown smear across the glass. A little sign of Halloween cheer. Luckily I have baby wipes on hand.

I might have spared him since he took care of the mosquito for me, but the cardinal rule of insect eating spiders is that they must keep themselves unseen. Had he hidden in the depths of wherever I would have let him be.

It was his mistake, not mine.

2 comments:

Jennifer K said...

I laughed several times reading this post. Nothing makes me more squeamish than an unwelcome arachnid.

Taryn said...

I hate spiders too!! You are an excellent writer!!