Spiders are a conundrum for me. Most of the time I like them, really I do. They eat the pests that eat my strawberries, they catch the annoying flies that would otherwise make their way into our apartment and circle around hitting things with no apparent purpose other than to bludgeon themselves to death, and some of them are just really, really freaking cute.
Just look at that adorable furry face, those huge Puss in Boots eyes! This is one spider I could just scoop up and cuddle, albeit very carefully so as not to squish him. But you wanna know the best thing about him? His purest, most delightfully redeeming quality?
Where he belongs.
Look, spider community, I have the utmost fascination and respect for what you do. Just don’t do it in my house. OR ELSE.
Now, before we all start hurling rotten tomatoes at me and crying murder, I should mention that I do make every effort to relocate spiders who set up camp on my curtains or in my shower because they took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and just need a nudge back in the right direction, i.e. outside.
It’s the giant house spiders, spiders we have actually named for the fact that they’re huge and think they’re our roomies, that make my stomping foot twitchy. A spider that by nature cannot survive outdoors and will deliberately keep breaking back into your home to reclaim its territory – just…nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.
They shamelessly run across our floors on the prowl for spider booty. They claim corners of our homes as their own and don’t even have the decency to offer to chip in with the rent. And they’re voyeuristic creepers. One time I stumbled bleary-eyed into the bathroom at 2am to answer the call of nature only to realize, mid-stream, that a spider was sitting on the baseboard directly opposite me, WATCHING ME PEE.
As if the violations of privacy weren’t enough, they really do get goddamn giant. Sometimes size does matter. I thought the house I grew up in had spider problems, but those Toonie-sized critters were nothing compared to the horrors waiting for us when we moved when I was fifteen. Okay, so compared to Australia where most arachnids can bench press a Volvo and probably contain at least a little Chuck Norris DNA, my nightmare spiders don’t really stack up, but we all know Australia’s not actually a real place, at least not if I want to sleep at night.
I remember, quite vividly, walking through the living room one evening to go get something from the computer room in our new house, and returning only to see my path blocked by a spider with a leg span that could comfortably cover a drink coaster with room for its little toes to wrap around and grip the edges. It was up on its front legs, it was staring at me, and it was not afraid.
I knew right away I wouldn’t have the guts to try and kill the thing. If I didn’t manage to finish the job on the first go, it was going to escape, plot its revenge, and then come after me, and my future children, and my future children’s children. But I thought I could maybe handle gently shooing it away, followed by a tactical memory erasure.
Except Mega-Spider didn’t so much as blink when I blew on it. It didn’t flinch when I tentatively stomped in its direction in the hopes that it would JUST FUCKING MOVE, and it remained impassive as I swatted feebly towards it with the papers I had gone to retrieve. I had a sudden irrational hope that we had, for some reason, been stockpiling non-perishable foodstuffs in the computer room, because if this goddamn spider didn’t get the hell out of my way, that was where I was going to be living for the foreseeable future. Bathroom facilities would be a problem, but at least I’d have the internet to keep my mind off the eight-legged menace keeping me captive.
Finally, after several eternities had passed and Spider-zilla was satisfied that it was the dominant party in this relationship, it turned nonchalantly away and skittered into the nearest air vent. And I heard it continuing to skitter through the air ducts for the next full minute.
I don’t really miss that house.
Look for Part 2, in which one indoor spider and I develop a tentative friendship, tomorrow.