Look, I understand the importance of spiders. I rest semi-comfortably in a state of “you leave me alone, I leave you alone” type of existence with spiders, and that mutual respect between us helps me to be able to go through life not being haunted by the thought of a million eyes watching my every move, just waiting for me to be alone and defenselss, perfectly suspectible for a swarming bite-fest. The rule is this: If I am outside, I am in the spiders’ home, so I can’t be dickish to them. If a spider is inside, it is in my home, and so I’m allowed to be dickish to it. I don’t have the bravery required to trap a spider under a mug, as that requires me getting close to it, and for the love of Christ, it might MOVE, and that completely skeeves me out, so I’d scream, and the spider would run under the couch, or into a hole in the wall, and then I’d have to burn the house down. Usually the closest I get to a spider is book-throwing distance. But hey, all they need to do is stay out of my sight, and I’ll happily live in spider ignorance. Hide and let live, I always say.

I came to this understanding with spiders many years ago when I was bad person, and had let power go to my head in one terrible instance of brutality. That one moment in time has changed the way I view my responsibility to the icky-crawlies of the world, and I’m grateful for it. Sort of. What follows is that story. A true story…

When I was about 17 years old, I was house-sitting for a friend of mine while he was away in Philadelphia. I was there to water the plants, collect the mail, and make sure no one broke in and stole the Super Nintendo. On the third day I was there, I set about watering the plants. I located a watering can and took it to the kitchen to fill up in the sink. There, in the sink, was the mother of all fat, hairy, fuzzy, brown, disgusting BIG spiders. As someone who has had a life-long fear of spiders, I reacted much like you would expect: I screamed, I cried, I felt vomit rise in my throat.

I wanted to run, but I knew I had to take care of the spider or else it would disappear, and I’d never be able to set foot in the house ever again. But how do I deal with it? I had the idea to run the water and wash it down the drain, but the thought of the spider running around the basin to try and escape the water was enough to kick that idea far, far away. So I did what any self-respecting girl would do; I thought to myself, “what would my older brothers do?”

Biggest mistake I’ve made in my entire life.

Unfortunately, the first idea that popped into my mind was, “they’d set it on fire!”, and once it was in there, that idea wasn’t going anywhere. To make matters worse, I REALLY started to think like my brothers… “You’re going to need a flamethrower! Go get hairspray.” I ran upstairs and rifled through the bathroom, finding hairspray and matches (the only room in the house where one can find both items), and then ran back to the kitchen, and faced off with the sink. I peered over the edge – the spider was still there. Good.

I stepped back, and then sprayed the hairspray (liberally) into the sink. A full 10-second spray, just to make sure I coated it well. I put the hairspray down, I pulled out the matches. I lit a match, and I threw it in the sink.

*WHOOF!*

Up the sink goes in flames, (how they missed the lace curtains, I do not know), and I watched as the fire grew to a hopefully toasty spider-y crescendo before slowly dying out in a quiet flicker. There is no way anything could have survived that, and so with ridiculous confidence I walked toward the sink and looked in. I had impeccable timing. In the flame-browned sink I saw the spider. He was dead, but he looked odd, and so, with brilliant reasoning, I leaned in for a closer look. The spider’s body was boiling on the inside, and right when I closed in, it exploded. The spider reached critical mass, and it burst. In my face.

In a final act of revenge, the spider blew its fat, bubbling body up right when his murderer was gloating over its carcass. I was so shocked, I couldn’t even scream. I just looked down and saw bits of spider on my shirt, and realized that I had to get that shirt off, but wouldn’t be able to because that would mean that I would have to drag the spider guts across my face as I removed it. I had only one choice. I silently backed away from the sink, and without looking, pulled the scissors from the drawer, and started to cut my t-shirt off from the bottom up. I pulled it off like a button-up, dropped it on the floor, grabbed my coat, and walked out of the house.

It took me an entire day to work up the courage to go back in, and when I did, the scene of my idiocy stared me in the face as I saw the crumpled shirt beside the scissors, and the hairspray can on the counter beside the sink. The sink that I would now have to scrub in an effort to remove the fire stains. The sink with spider remnants and vicious, vicious memories. I sobbed as I scrubbed that sink, terrified that a vengent spider would crawl up the drain, or drop from the curtains. I scrubbed, I cleaned, I opened the window to air the kitchen out. I watered the plants, walked out the front door, and slid the key through the mailslot because I was never, ever going back there again.

I learned a lesson that day: “Never look a boiling spider in the mouth” (or something), and from then on I have chosen to respect spiders, and let them do their spider-thing. No more hair spray, no more flames, no more false feeling of superiority. I got my ass kicked by a spider, and I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Well, I’m a little ashamed. But in my defense, it was a really BIG spider.

Happy Tuesday, all.

xo

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