I’m not afraid of many things and although I’d prefer wild life not touch me or walk all over me without my permission, I don’t shiver in fear at the thought of it.
Unless it’s a spider. Or a bird. Full disclosure – one of my biggest phobias is being trapped in a small room with a bird while it flaps its wings in my face. I don’t know or care if that’s unreasonable, it is what it is and I’ve accepted it.
When I was little, my mom always told me to be nice to spiders. She probably stole that from the 1967 book, Be Nice to Spiders but I digress. They are harmless (unless they’re poisonous, but whatever) and they do a wonderful job keeping nuisance, damaging bugs at bay with their webs. Blah blah blah, it’s all well and good until one crawls on your face, but whatever, I get it.
One of my favorite books to read when I was little was Charlotte’s Web. When I saw the new and old movie versions available for streaming, I played them for Lucy. Which means I sat alone in my family room weeping at Charlotte’s death scene, while Lucy was in my kitchen clearing out cabinets and throwing napkins all over like confetti.
Watching the movie gave me a feeling of tenderness towards spiders. Sure, they’re hideous, but they are nice and don’t mean harm, work tirelessly to save pigs and they talk sweetly like Julia Roberts. About an hour later, I was going on to my back deck when I noticed a spider, about the size of a quarter, had built a huge web outside the door, forcing me to duck under it if I wanted to pass through (I didn’t). At first I wanted to tear my clothes and go running and screaming through the house, but I kept my calm. I even called her Charlotte and thanked her for catching so many annoying gnats in her web. Then I shut the door and hoped nature would take its course soon and send her to spider heaven so I can go out on my deck some time in the next month.
I went about my day and my bulldog Bruno eventually asked to be let outside on the deck. Nervously, I went to open the door but then realized Charlotte was gone from her web. I shrugged, let him out, shut the door and walked away.
“I hope Charlotte’s alright,” I thought to myself. My dual feelings of affection and wanting her dead were giving me some cognitive dissonance, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Then I looked down and noticed, CHARLOTTE WAS HAULING ASS UP MY BARE LEG!
I screamed, panicked and all but grabbed a butcher knife. I slapped her away off my leg, then without thinking grabbed a magazine and stomped her out, over and over like I was in some slasher movie. I crawled away and leaned against a wall, breathing heavily as I looked at the crime scene.
I had no choice, I told myself. This is her fault, not mine. Why did she have to crawl up my leg? Why couldn’t she just stay outside where spiders belong?! Damn it Charlotte, you left me no choice!
Finally I got my courage, made my way to her corpse stuck against a Pottery Barn catalogue and took her to the toilet for a proper burial flushing. I wasn’t risking our trashcan where she could come back to life and find me again for her revenge.
But, she was pretty much glued on the catalogue so I threw it in the dumpster outside.
RIP Charlotte. It wasn’t personal, I swear.