A whole lot of shrieking going on…
I may have given the false impression that I am a friend of spiders when I published my Goodbye, Ned post. Ned was truly an “itsy, bitsy spider.” He was so delicate and wispy, he might have been a piece of lint. You couldn’t help but love him just a little bit. Ned was an exception. Generally, I hate spiders.
I’ve been having nightmares ever since reading a recently published New York Times article about black widow spiders, written by someone who lives in my county. He had to be hospitalized and suffered excruciating pain after being bitten by a black widow spider who had been hiding out in a shoe he’d left out on his front porch. (Before I read this article, which is now forever seared into my cranial folds, my husband and kids used to always leave their shoes on the front porch too). From this article I learned how to identify a black widow’s web. He describes them as “messy and close to the ground.” Kind of like this web that’s right outside the door on the floor of my deck, wouldn’t you say?
Currently in the same vicinity, but suspended from another, higher web is THIS:
The only reason I’m not having a full-blown panic attack right now is that, at least for the time being, this particular spider is still outside my house.
Remember the derecho we had a couple summers ago? We lost power for one long, hot, miserable week. In a fruitless attempt to avoid simmering in our own sweat, all five of us slept in our basement. My husband and I squeezed into the small bed that’s down there. The boys slept on the two couches and my daughter slept on an air mattress at the foot of the bed. The low point of that week was a late night encounter with a spider. The incident revealed (confirmed)? that I am a terrible wife and human being. It may also be the reason why our neighbors cast pitying (disapproving)? looks in our direction.
Late one night after the kids were all fast asleep, my husband and I were chatting in bed in the pitch black. Suddenly, he interrupted me and in a panicky voice that I had never before and have never since heard him use, he said, “Oh no. Oh no. There’s something crawling on my leg. Turn on the flashlight!”
I groped around for the flashlight and turned it on. A spider that looked very much like this was on his leg:
We both shrieked simultaneously.
“Get it off me!” he screamed.
The moment of truth that would define our relationship forever had arrived. It was my chance to prove to my husband the great depths of the love, devotion, and loyalty I felt for him.
I leapt out of bed and said, “I CAN’T! You have to do it yourself!”
“Please! You have to help me!” he pleaded as he lay there frozen in horror.
I’m not completely heartless. I ran to the bathroom and got a huge wad of toilet paper. I stood as far away from the bed as I could and threw it at him. Instead of getting the spider with the tissue, however, he decided to shake it off his leg. It jumped onto the bed and I shrieked again. If we lost sight of it, we’d have to move to a new house and maybe even to a new country, because I would never ever be able to sleep again knowing that this monstrosity was crawling around somewhere in our house.
There was a cup of water nearby.
“Empty this out! We (and by “we” I obviously meant “you”) have to catch it!”
He ran to empty out the water. He returned and caught the spider with the glass.
I handed him a book and he began to slide it under the glass. Just as he was about to trap it, the spider managed to escape. It jumped onto the floor, RIGHT NEXT TO MY DAUGHTER’S FACE! (Miraculously, she and the boys remained asleep throughout the whole ordeal).
I completely lost it. I started shrieking like a banshee.
“GET IT! GET IT! GET IT!” I screamed at my poor, poor, shell-shocked husband.
He managed to trap the spider again and this time he was able to get the book under it.
I followed behind him with the flashlight as he walked up the stairs with our furry captive. He opened the front door and started to release it on the front porch.
“Are you CRAZY? He’ll come back for us!” I said as I snatched the jerry-rigged spider jail from him. I marched to the end of our driveway, crossed the road, and hurled the spider into the woods, shrieking at the top of my lungs: “AND DON’T F*$%ING COME BACK!!!” Honestly, I don’t know where that word came from. I swear I’m not one to use profanities. My only explanation for this lapse is that gallons of adrenalin were coursing through my veins. As my words reverberated in the otherwise silent night, it occurred to me how this might come across to our neighbors, who might reasonably assume that I was kicking my husband out of the house after a particularly vicious domestic quarrel. And while I’m clearly a bad wife, as I have just revealed, I’m not that bad. Am I?