My son believes all creatures have the right to a long and happy life, and that even spiders who have wandered into the house should be gently transported back to the yard or garden from whence they came.
While I don’t always agree with this theory, I’m not entirely hard-hearted either. Largely due to repeated readings of Charlotte’s Web as a child, I’m willing to do my part to for the insect world and am happy to alert my son if a spider needs rescuing. I don’t intentionally step on ants, and I’ve been known to hold the door open and shoe flying things outside rather than resorting to more violent methods of dispatch. But even I have my limits, and these were sorely tested on the night of the tarantula.
It was late, and in a pleasantly dozey state I ambled upstairs in anticipation of a good nights sleep. I flipped on the light switch and was jolted awake by the sight of a spider hanging on the wall just inches from my fingertips. It was huge and black, with creepy jointed legs, obviously a man-eater.
Now, at times like this my sense of fair play evaporates and instinct kicks in; I whipped off my shoe and slammed it against the wall, entirely missing the spider in my haste. The spider, offended by my assassination attempt leapt from the wall and flung itself at me. (There are two schools of thought concerning this sequence of events. Some would say that the force of my shoe hitting the wall actually bounced the spider from it’s perch, and that it was not in fact attacking me, but it sure looked that way.) My husband, knight in shining armor that he is, came running at the sound of the bloodcurdling shriek that echoed through the house.
“What’s wrong,” he gasped, out of breath from sprinting up two flights of stairs.
“There’s a Tarantula in here,” I said pointing to the spider, which was scurrying up the opposite wall.
He spotted it, not hard to do considering its size.
“It’s just a garden spider,” he said, “but it’s sure a big one. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.”
He picked up a magazine, strode across the room and swatted at the spider, which sailed gracefully through the air and landed smack in the middle of my underwear drawer. When will I learn to close my drawers?
Mute with horror, I stared at my husband.
“Oops,” was all he could say and . . . wait a minute, was there a hint of laughter in his voice?
“It’s not funny!” I said, verging on hysteria. Even as we spoke a giant arachnid was lurking in my lingerie. “What do we do now?”
“Well,” he tapped his finger on his chin, “we could dump out the drawer.”
“And watch the spider run under the bed?”
“Right. O.K. What if we leave the drawer in the backyard, and let the spider crawl out on its own.”
“Maybe, but what about all the other stuff that will crawl in?”
We finally decided to take the drawer out side and shake everything piece by piece until the spider fell out. It never did. Apparently it wasn’t in there anymore. Somehow it must have crawled back into the dresser while we were jiggling the drawer loose. We slept in the guest room that night.
When I walked into our room the next morning, the spider, seemingly none the worse for its adventure, was happily sunning itself by the window. If it had a tail it would have wagged it like a friendly puppy waiting to greet me at the door. This time I took a deep breath and called the transporter. My son carefully placed a fruit jar over the spider, and slid a piece of paper under the opening. Then I supervised as he carried it to the farthest corner of the yard, and dumped it in the grass.
In retrospect, I’ve decided there’s some merit to the Spider Transport Theory. Namely, the Charlottes of the world get to go on living, and Spider phobics like myself, enjoy the peace of mind, which comes from knowing that a spider is no longer in the bedroom. In fact, at last sighting, our spider was merrily skittering off in the direction of my neighbor’s house.