Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Spider that Went for a Ride

It's uncanny; if I park on the west side of the parking lot, I always have to clear out spider webs built up between my car and the one next to it and hope that the spider still isn't present. But if I park on the east side, no spiders or webs. Do you think I ever get home in time to catch the east-side spots? Of course not.

I'd learned my lesson early on last year. Orb weavers season begins in August and can extend well into winter here since we don't have frosts. Super. One morning last fall, walking to my car with my head down, finding the right key on the ring, I passed between my car and the next as my body pulled a huge spider web from its moorings, coating my face and arms in silk. I screamed in as undignified a manner as you might imagine and, somehow, it seemed logical that I chuck my purse as far away from me as possible. What probably looked to be a seizure, I high-kneed it to the middle of the parking lot and used my hands to wipe off every bit of skin exposed to the offending web.
When I finally regained some composure, I spotted my purse, which had bounced off the bank of bushes in front of my car, spilling all its contents, including my broken jar of apple sauce trailing out of it by the driver's door. I hugged my body and couldn't stop the sob that rose in my throat from the sheer injustice of being assaulted by my greatest fear before 8 A.M.

But this isn't about last autumn.
This is about yesterday.

Objects in the Mirror May Be Closer than They Appear
I groggily shuffled to my car yesterday morning and after spending a blissful five days away from my home and car, several large webs had built up between my car and the one next to it which, evidently, had taken the weekend off too. I searched for lingering spiders in the webs and seeing none, began to swipe and kick at the vacant webs making girly grunts of disgust as I went. I finally cleared the path between the cars and approached the driver's door. I inserted a pen into the space between the handle of my car and the car door where spiders absolutely love to hide, clicked it around to make sure it was safe to open, and got in. The interior of a car is almost always safe from spiders, sharply contrasting with the outside which seems to attract every one from a mile away.
I started the car and began my groggy but short drive to work. I checked my right rearview mirror to change lanes and gasped as I noticed a huge spider right in the middle of it. When I came to a stop light I moved the lever that adjusts that outside mirror from the inside. I handled the button like a joystick but the spider just lazily crawled to the corner of the mirror and picked at its web nonchalantly.
I was pissed. I hate spiders. And I hate mornings. I revved my engine and took off as fast as my in-line four engine would let me. I took my eyes off the road to watch the spider go flying off the mirror but not off the car! Connected by an invisible thread it was flying next to the window making the faintest "tap...tap" as the wind whipped at it, knocking it against the car. It was big enough that I could watch its eight legs flail behind its bulbous body. When I reached a stop light, I stopped as hard as I could, safely. It smacked against the mirror with another faint tap and began scrambling wildly all around the perimeter of the mirror building a stronger web as quickly as it could.
(NOTE: this is not an actual photograph of the event, it's a reenactment on paper as produced by the witness.)
I admit, I was a little impressed. I almost wondered if I should drive a little less erratically and just let the little stowaway have a free ride. I imagined getting pulled over and trying to explain to the police that I was trying to lose the big spider creeping me out on the rear view mirror outside my car. The light turned and I drove as I usually would and the spider again, went flying though not as wildly as before. When I came to the next stop light it swung forward under and over the mirror landing comically with another tap on the top of the mirror. It slowly dragged its body back to the middle of the mirror and sat still for a moment. It wandered a little to the left, changed its mind. A little to the right, stopped. Then suddenly, it just dropped. I lunged for the passenger seat to see where it went, barely keeping my foot on the brake, but it was gone. It had just said "Forget this noise!" and let go.
Truth be told, I hope it died. However, if it did miraculously survive, I imagine he had a pretty good story to tell the other spiders about how one morning it went for a ride.

I didn't even realize it, but last week's "Five Great Things Friday" was my 100th post! So thanks for reading!


Heather Lea said...

OK, I've read it THREE times now- and found myself near tears each time. THANK. YOU. :)

Benjamin said...

Thanks for the giggle, was much needed today.