Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spider Woman

We have a herd of spiders that live with us in our house. They are a special variety, or at least I like to think so. Mostly they keep to themselves and they're very quiet, good tenants you might call them. Let me explain the story of my eight legged housemates from the beginning. During the summer, they have a job here and they do it very well. They are natural exterminators. Jonathan and I have a tendency to leave the back porch door open for the dog whenever we are home in the summer, because Remy loves to come and go as he pleases. Once the sun goes down, if the door is still open and the lights are on in the kitchen the bugs pour forth from all of the surrounding towns and congregate around the lights. It's as if we are hosting a bug rave. One morning around the end of June, I noticed that we had a few spiders living in the various corners of our rooms, some up at the ceiling, other midway down the wall and a few down low by the floor. In essence, the spiders had turned the corners of our rooms into Arachnid Apartments, and they were taking full advantage of the takeout menu, complete with free delivery. What a grand idea! Already they had several bug carcasses dangling from their delicate webs and though I had to ignore the feeble buzzing that I heard from a few of them, I decided that this was a perfect solution to the bug issue, you know Circle of Life, survival of the fittest and all that.
Within a few weeks, the spiders were really reaping the benefits from their new housing developments. I guess I had forgotten the scene in Charlotte's Web where Charlotte gives birth to about a million baby spiders at one time. Yeah, the amount of spiders in the house was getting totally out of control. They were thriving to an epidemic degree. I decided there was only one thing to be done. They must be culled. I'm not a natural born killer, so squishing them wasn't an option. Then I had an idea. I have a brilliant Dyson vacuum cleaner and it has a detachable hose arm that extends to the ceiling. What happened next gets a little blurry for me. I didn't want to suck those spiders into the Dyson's death bin, but I had no choice. The place was looking like a spider ghetto, with over crowded webs full of mummified bugs dangling precariously, on nearly every wall and corner. I even had a shower spider (who I did opt to keep, because he kept me company while I washed my hair and seemed to enjoy the off key show tunes that I sang to him). All I know is that when I clicked off the vacuum, the house looked neat and tidy, and I had left several spiders and their webs untouched in strategic locations. I had a strange hollow feeling for the rest of the day, but I had to put the whole mass murder that I had committed behind me. Just be content with the spiders who are left, I told myself.
That night I dreamt of the spiders I had left behind. Imploring to me from my bedside,they were all teary and mournful, full of questions like, " Why did you have to take Colleen?" and "Where's my Daddy?". It was absolutely dreadful. I awoke the next morning flooded with guilt. I had spider blood (do they have blood?) on my hands and it made my heart heavy.
Over the next few weeks, I kept my eyes averted from the new masses that were beginning to appear in the corners. I knew I didn't want to go through the whole act of carnage again, but the haunted house look was too much for my inner housekeeper to take. So, sighing deeply,I put myself in my happy place and the Dyson and I performed our macabre task once more. This time my dreams that night were full of spider screams, peppered with profanity and threats to my life. While showering that morning, I noticed that my shower spider had moved out. He probably couldn't handle being in such close proximity to a known murderer of his friends and family. Could I blame him? But still I was sad to see that he had gone, without so much as a note. I had allowed him a permanent stay of execution and this was how he treated me. The sting of his abandonment pained me and not even my best renditions of songs from Gypsy could cheer me up. After getting dressed, I walked downstairs and at the bottom of the stairway I caught something shimmery out of the corner of my eye. I looked again, but couldn't see anything so I continued on toward the kitchen. Again, a glimpse of gossamer winked at me from my peripheral vision. Then it all came into focus. With horror, I realized that the spiders had set up web traps for me all throughout the downstairs. They had boobytrapped every doorway and the paths between the furniture in an effort to snare me. It was at that moment that I had a revelation about these creatures. I was now being hunted by the very spiders that I had fostered so caringly at the beginning of the summer. My blood began to boil and I slashed my way through their carefully laced latticework, heading up to the upstairs closet where the Dyson was stored. "Ungrateful, insidious monsters" I fumed "How dare they form a plot against me after I welcomed them into my house with open arms!" . After all, it wasn't my fault that they bred like rabbits and bore ten zillion babies every few weeks. There weren't enough bugs to go around and then we'd have a spider famine, outbreaks of disease, possible cannabalism. I had been forced to do what I had to do! The Dyson growled to life and I brandished the long arm like a sword, waving it wildly over my head. I sucked up the nearest group of spiders and pointed the hose at the next group, who visbly trembled and began bouncing up and down, turning their web into a spider trampoline. "Vengance is mine", I howled, "I shall remain victorious!"
Panting, I sat bolt upright in my bed and looked around wildly. I waited until my chest stopped heaving and slowly I pieced together the terrible nightmare that had been going on in my mind just before I awoke in this sweaty, disheveled state. I had been engaged in guerilla warfare with the spiders. How insane was that? I looked over at Jonathan who appeared to be slumbering deeply,undisturbed by the lunacy of his wife's subconscious. Shakily, I got up and went into the bathroom to splash my face with cold water and get my breathing back to normal. Folding the shower curtain back cautiously, I looked above the shower head to see if my shower spider was actually gone. No, he was there. The whole spider plot of my assassination had just been a dream, a very scary, unsettling dream. Phew. The shower spider looked toward me and waved one of his longer arms in my direction. I waved half heartedly to him and decided that maybe Jonathan needed to take over the vacuuming duties for a little while.

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