I have to start by pointing out that, among any of my lady friends and family, I’ve always been the defaulted fearless spider-killer. Logic rules in this area- how can a critter about a millionth of my size hurt me through the sole of my shoe when I’m crushing it beneath my feet? So when I say that creepy crawlies generally just don’t get to me, you know that I mean it.
That said, I can’t remember the last time I saw a spider that I was actually inclined to call a “monster”, “beast”, or other seemingly unfitting epithets, aside from last night.
It started when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye- just outside my periphery, some black thing about the size of a small dog, or at least, something big enough to drag my eyes away from the computer, seemed to be scuttling across the floor. When I turned to look, my knee-jerk reaction was to holler “HOLY JESUS IN HELL!” and leap into action to find a bowl to trap this thing under.
In size, it was about four steps above a black widow and one step below a tarantula. It had the gangly structure of your typical Tim Burton spider, without very heavy musculature to it, but it had the leg span of probably about your palm. Or maybe a saucer.
Or a planet.
My first thought as I sprinted into the kitchen was that it would be a really neat specimen to show my dad- at least, if I could clap a bowl over it in time, because that thing was really moving. It didn’t even look like it was trying- almost as if it were strutting across the dining room, looking for takers. But it must have been its leg span that gave it speed even for a spider that wasn’t really running, because by the time I had run about ten yards to the cabinet, grabbed a bowl, and run back, it was GONE.
At first, it had been exciting- honestly, I’d never seen anything like it in real life before aside from the tarantulas in captivity at the pet store, and I kinda wanted to keep it. But now that it had vanished into the night and was roaming the crevasses of my home without any kind of surveillance, it had suddenly become spooky, even threatening. I ran around on tiptoes with the legs of my cargo pants hiked up and began to rattle the dining room chairs and table in a sort of blind panic, trying to flush it out before it could find some place to burrow down and make a home and spawn a million demon babies of its own. But when I saw hide nor hair of it, I began to really get that crawly feeling on the back of my neck. At the speed it had been sauntering and with about 30 seconds behind me of having no idea where it had vanished, I realized that it could literally be anywhere in my house by now, including underneath the dining room computer desk where I had just been sitting.
It was at this point that some malfunctioning logic circuit in my brain decided that I needed a higher vantage point (or something), and I leapt into my computer chair, bowl poised for attack, still holding my pants legs above ankle level, eyes wide and scanning and my nerves wound and ready to spring an attack on the invader.
Clearly, this was one of the prouder moments of my life.
I suddenly realized that, should my anyone walk in on me (worst case scenario being my dad), they would think one of two things:
a) I’d had a mental breakdown and was reverting to playing one of my favorite childhood games: “The Floor is Made of Lava”, or
b) that I’d become some kind of a simpering wussy like those old ladies in cartoons and shows from the fifties who leap onto chairs whenever they see a mouse scuttling across the floor. Or a spider.
Feeling rather cowed, I climbed down out of my chair and continued the search for the beast for a few minutes before giving up, shutting the computer down and retreating to my bedroom (read: fortress) for the night. But not before I’d locked my bedroom door behind me (seriously? The day they come up with spiders that can unlock doors, we’re all doomed to a violent and painful fate) and stuffed a towel beneath the door to keep the monster from coming in and feeding on my fear as I slept in the night.
The worst part of the night was the fact that I was suffering through a deep sunburn that I’d gotten two days before at the Santa Monica Boardwalk, and I’d officially entered the “HOLY CRAP SOMEONE’S STABBING ME WITH A NEEDLE EVERY TWO SECONDS” stage of healing. Now envision trying to fall asleep with images of spiders prancing through your head and the feeling of being bitten on your shoulders every few moments. I was in a ridiculously long state of unrest, followed by irritation, and finally a lengthy session of cussing my shoulders out before finally getting tired enough to crash.
I actually fell asleep with the song “Kill the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast stuck in my head.
My thought for the night as I fell asleep was quite simply that, be we women or men, we all have those moments where we feel vulnerable, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. (At least, not that much. I know that if I ever tell this story to someone in real life, I’ll negate the wussiness of my reaction by exaggerating the size of the spider to be at least a freaking foot wide.)
(A note: It probably looks pretty pathetic that I’m only two days into the 30 Day Challenge and I’ve already “missed a day,” but I assure you, I did actually write this yesterday. I just wound up stranded at my friend’s parent’s house after work- one of the last places on the planet that doesn’t actually have any kind of internet connection. Good thing I at least had my trusty laptop to write on. I’ll be writing another entry for today as soon as I submit this one.)