(Spoiler: Moderate gross factor. Proceed at your own peril.)
Intellectually, I understand how useful they are and, somewhat more vaguely, why etymologists get so wiggly about them, but that doesn’t stop the rush of fear based adrenaline that I feel when ever I see one. (Garg!) See, I used to have really scary dreams about spiders. I don’t want to freak anyone out, so I won’t mention that they had largely to do with spiders laying eggs in my eyeballs.
But I have come a long way. Back in the day, I would frantically call to whomever was in earshot and command/beg them to dispose of the offending beast BY. ANY. MEANS. NECESSARY. But then came that pesky Buddhist thing about not harming other creatures, blah blah blah.
So the spider world and I came to an uneasy détente. I stopped commanding their destruction and they continued to be utterly unaware of my existence… Except in those little spider meetings where they talk about where to put the egg sack and all of that. Then I was prime real estate.
So I was hugely impressed with myself for living peacefully alongside a particularly creepy looking spider that took up residence in my bathroom. He (I say ‘he’ despite having no idea or desire to know what spider boy parts look like, but just because I thought it looked like a he. Look, I don’t know. OK?)… HE settled into a high corner of the slanted ceiling where it seemed unlikely that any spider molecules would fall on my toothbrush or anything, so I thought, “Fine. You just be sure to eat any skeeters if you see ‘em and you can stay.”
By the third day, I was feeling a little benevolence toward my eight legged buddy. I found myself looking for him each time I went into the bathroom – and not in an “is it going to bad-touch me” kind of way either. We were coexisting. Beautiful. Yay for me.
On day four, I was a bit taken aback to find that he had repositioned himself over my shower. Suddenly he was the unwelcome settler in my little porcelain Gaza strip. I showered uneasily, never taking my eyes off of him and almost hurling myself bodily out of the tub when he appeared to stumble at one point. Great. Nothing like being naked with a clumsy spider lurching around over your head.
But we made it through without incident. Wow. I was really getting good at this whole compassionate abiding thing.
The next morning, as I pulled back the shower curtain and my eyes traveled up to the ceiling…
(Insert here: screeching violin theme from Psycho)
… I saw two spiders. Or, really, the desiccated remains of one spider and another spider standing fatly over them.
(Skree! Skree! Skree! Skree!!!!)
Now I know as well as the next person that female spiders mate and then kill and eat the males. Or something. So either my spider had just had his innards sucked out of him or he was a she who was now joyously expecting the patter of a squillion little feet.
It didn’t matter. I had come so far.