I wrote yesterday about the certain level of respect I have for most bugs and insects, yet I failed to mention spiders. It was an appropriate omission, for my relationship with spiders is certainly deserving of it's own blog post. In short, I hate them. Indoors, outdoors, anywhere I encounter them, I HATE them and will kill them without hesitation or remorse. In fact, I killed one just today in Cadence's sandbox.
There is no live and let live when it comes to spiders. And don't try to tell me how good it is to have them around so they can kill other insects. If I want those other insects dead, I can very well do it myself.
I wasn't always this way. In fact, as a child, I never really minded spiders, as long as they didn't try to crawl on me or bite me. I was content to just look the other way and let them do their own thing.
But that all changed in the fall 1990 when the movie Arachnophobia came out on video.
My family was still living in Bird City, Kansas at the time. It was a Friday night, and my sister Lindy and I had both invited friends over to spend the night. Mom agreed to drive us to the Video Kingdom in St. Francis to rent a couple movies, and since Arachnophobia had just come out on video, we decided to pick it up. We weren't scared by the movie. Oh no, not at all. In fact, it was pretty cheesy, and the four of us ended up laughing through most of it. It's what happened afterward that scarred me for life.
(Just a little side note here--a few weeks before, we'd noticed some small spiders in our basement. Since both Lindy and I had our bedrooms down there, Mom called an exterminator to get rid of them. He came in and sprayed, and all was right with the world again.)
So, it was a little after 1:00 a.m. when we finally finished the movie and retired to our rooms for the night. Tenley and I had barely closed the door to my bedroom when we heard Lindy and Jill screaming in the next room.
When we opened Lindy's door, we were surprised to see Jill climbing up on a chair and Lindy jumping up and down on the bed screaming, "Delbert missed one! Delbert missed one! DELBERT MISSED ONE!" over and over while pointing to her dresser that stood on the other side of the room.
"Shhhh! You're going to wake Mom up!" I said. "You guys are stupid. You're not going to scare us."
But instead of stopping the charade, Lindy and Jill just kept on screaming.
I looked over to the dresser where Lindy was pointing. There, on top of her dresser, sat the biggest, hairiest, ugliest brown spider I had ever seen. Sitting there with it's legs outstretched, it was about as big around as a baseball.
I stood there for a moment, wondering where Lindy and Jill managed to get such a realistic looking spider when they hadn't even known we were going to be watching the movie that night.
"Ugh, you guys are so lame," I said, shaking my head and taking a step forward.
I was about two feet away from the dresser when the spider suddenly started to move.
I don't even remember running from the room, but run we did, as fast as our legs could take us, screaming all the way. The four of us burst into my parents' room screaming at the top of our lungs.
It was the middle of harvest,which meant my Dad was working crazy long hours loading railroad cars at the Co-op, so Mom was the one that got to follow a pack of panicking girls down to the basement to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, when we arrived, the spider in question was gone.
The four of us stuck to our story, and wouldn't let Mom leave the room until we found it again. There was no way we were going to sleep until we knew the big hairy beast was dead. After a bit of looking and poking around the room, we managed to scare the spider out of it's hiding place beneath Lindy's dresser. Mom's eyes widened in shock, and it was obvious that she thought we were exaggerating when we told her the thing was roughly the size of a newborn kitten.
"Oh!" Mom said, grabbing one of Lindy's sandals. "Oh my!"
It took three good tries to kill the beast, and not because Mom was missing the mark. The first blow struck the spider squarely, but just seemed to irritate it as it continued to run across the floor toward the closet. The second blow actually seemed to take a little pep out of it's step and hobble it enough for Mom to wind up and give it a solid third. On the third try, the spider rolled over and curled it's legs into it's body, spasming a few times before finally dying right there on the carpet.
Somehow, we all got a little sleep that night, comforted by the knowledge that the beast had been slain, and we laughed at the odds that our little encounter took place just minutes after watching a movie like Arachnophobia.
Mom called the exterminator to come back, just to be sure there were no more surprises. He returned on Monday while Lindy and I were in schoolm and did a much more thorough examination and spraying of the house.
That afternoon, Lindy and I got off the school bus and walked the three blocks to the bank where Mom worked so we could get some money to buy a snack at the grocery store before heading home. Mom said she had something to show us.
We followed her to the back room and watched in horrified fascination as she held up a plastic Ziploc baggie with half a dozen dead brown spiders inside. Then, she proceeded to tell us that the exterminator determined we had an infestation of Wolf Spiders in the house, and that the tiny little spiders we had been seeing for weeks were just the babies. Apparently he had disposed of several Ziploc baggies full of dead spiders after thoroughly spraying the house and killing those that remained, and had given one to Mom as a souvenir.
So you see, my abhorrance for spiders is not at all unjustified. And I will continue to exact revenge on the arachnid population for invading my childhood home and trying to take over. They should have been more careful who they were messing with.
Today's 365 Project is dedicated to all the spiders I have killed. I just want you to know, I am not sorry. Here's the one I slayed today in Cadence's sandbox...wouldn't you know, a Wolf Spider. Ugh!