Friday, June 27, 2014

Attack of the Spider Woman

In the summer of 2008, I sat on my patio at dusk along with my visiting New Mexican friends, Georgia and Yvonne. Our conversation was soon distracted as we watched a very industrious (and creative) spider construct an elaborate web from the patio chair to the guttering on the house. With no wind and no obstacles to assist, this spider managed to spin a web of about sixteen feet on the diagonal. We watched in amazement as the web grew and grew during the evening of conversation. As the clock moved closer to midnight, we jokingly said that we would check her progress in the morning.

Early squints of daylight peeked through the clouds, and the dog woke me for a morning nature call. I stumbled outside with the dog and during my few minutes outside, I accidentally walked through the intricate spider web. I felt terrible. How was I going to tell Georgia and Yvonne that I walked through the web in a sleepy haze? I didn't mean to! But, alas, I confessed my wayward walking over breakfast, and we laughed. Little did I know who would have the last laugh.

From that day on, this spider began stalking me. She moved from weaving a web on the patio furniture, to weaving a strand or two of web over the opening to my sliding glass doors. Every morning as I took the dog outside (again in a sleepy haze) I was met abruptly with a spider web wrapping around my head and the subsequent "get this thing off my head" dance that followed. Every day. (Okay, yeah, I kept forgetting about it and walked into it each morning, but that's beside the point.)
The she-bitch spider did not stop there. She built webs over the door to the storage building to ensure every venture to get the lawnmower began with a spider web wrapped around my head. It was not pretty. I pictured the little she-devil perched on a nearby ledge, watching me, laughing. Laughing that evil spider-bitch laugh.  Oh, she knew what she was doing.

One night, though, she went too far. I exited my patio doors into a full-body-sized spider web like something from a Stephen King novel. It nearly rendered me motionless in its death-grip. Immediately, arms were flailing, legs were flying, squeals were squealing as I danced a jig to make Michael Flatley jealous, all in the attempt to get the web off of me. Then I saw her. She was perched on the end of the web still attached to the door. And she was moving fast toward me. During the next 60 seconds of crazy-dance, I lost sight of her. 

"Oh my God. She's in my hair!" I thought. I did not know that for sure, but she could have been. The dance grew more animated and likely much more entertaining for the neighbors. I spun around, shaking and shimmying, grasping at last remaining shreds of web and trying to throw them off of me. Have you ever tried to throw a spider web? Yeah, they don't throw; they stick. A mindless act, but I was obviously not in my mind at this point.

Then I spotted her again, sitting on the door jam. I decided to kill her. I picked up the closest thing to me -- a stick from a rustic "dried flower/stick arrangement" sitting by my patio door. 

"I'll hit her with the stick. That's a good plan," my mind raced. So I swung at her. Spiders live outdoors and are familiar with sticks, this I learned quickly. She must have jumped onto the stick with my first swing and glued herself to it because I could see her latched onto it with the subsequent swings. I figured I could knock her off the stick and then take the "death swing."

She must have sensed that. Rather than falling off the stick and onto the patio where I was hitting the stick, she instead flew off in the opposite direction. Yes, in my hair. With all the vigor of John Edwards on a campaign worker, I attacked that spider-bitch with all I could muster. This, of course, meant that I was attacking my own head at the same time, since the last I saw, she was flying toward my hair. Cussing, spinning, flailing, kicking (not sure why I was kicking, as she clearly was not at my feet) I had to get rid of that spider before she bit me and caused an appendage to rot off.

All the spinning and cussing sent the dog running to the back fence. (Remember, I came out here to walk the dog.) Not knowing whether the spider was hiding in my clothes, awaiting an opportunity to bite, I shed my T-shirt in a fit and began hitting it on the ground. Apparently, I was trying to dislodge any spiders that might be hanging onto the fabric in an elaborate plan to attack me. All of this happened in less than a minute --- from the initial walk into the web to the stripping off of my T-shirt and fervent beating of it on the ground. Oh, did I mention that I'm still on my patio? Oh, yes. In my backyard with neighbors in easy view, wearing only shorts and a bra as I beat my clothing on the ground while my confused dog looks on. This was not good. I had to get back in the house, but I was afraid the spider was on me and would travel in with me AND I was afraid the web itself was still covering some of the doorway and I'd have to penetrate the "fortress of the web" again.

I gathered my shirt, the dog and what was left of my dignity and went back into the house. I stripped off all remaining clothes in the kitchen and systematically beat them on the floor, again trying to dislodge any spider that might have hitched a ride. After a few minutes, I was reasonably sure the spider did not come inside. The dog was hiding under the bed, and I headed to the liquor cabinet. Lord knows, I needed a shot now.

I lifted my drink to my lips, and that was when I saw it. That spider-bitch was outside my patio door, rebuilding her web. 

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