At eleven o clock at night David and I sat on the folded out futon in my new apartment and stared up at the spider making its was across the ceiling. A heartbeat of silence passed and I made a decision as the itsy bitsy motherfucker scuttled closer to being directly overhead.
“Yeah. I can’t sleep with that thing up there. Where’s your shoe?” I asked.
David pointed wordlessly to the space under the coffee table and didn’t break eye contact with the fat black speck. I snatched up his worn Ked and climbed up on to the table. I raised my self up on to one foot and took careful aim, then wobbled precariously.
“You want me to do that?”
“Naw, I got this.” I pulled my arm back for the killing strike. “I…got…this!”
I slammed the shoe down exactly one inch to the left of the spider which served only to startle it and send it into a frenzied circling.
“Shit! Shit!!!” I began hammering the shoe desperately against the plaster, each successive blow driving me, the spider and David closer to totally loosing our shit.
“You’re missing it! How are you missing it?!”
“Shut the fuck up! Just shut up! I’ll get it!”
“Well, you’re not fucking getting it!”
“Well, just give me a fucking minute and I’ll fucking get it!”
“It shouldn’t take a fucking minute to kill a fucking spider!”
Meanwhile I’d like to think the spider, in its terrified scuttle for quarter, was thinking in its little spider brain: ‘What the hell?!?! What the absolute hell?!?! Why are you doing this?!”
I gave it one more go with the shoe, smashing it a hairbreadth away from the spider. That was the last straw for him. The spider dropped like a tiny, venomous pebble into the dark lake of my futon.
David and I both screamed like bitches at the same time.
“Oh,god. Oh, god where did it go?!” I asked as I clambered off the coffee table.
“I don’t know!” David turned this way and that looking for the fallen yet still mobile spider.
That’s when I saw the miniscule waving of two furry legs on his shoulder. Davids shoulder, David who, have I mentioned? Loathes spiders. That was the whole reason I was the one to get up on the coffee table in the first place, misplaced chivalry.
I tried to break the news that his life long nemesis was perch on his shoulder gently but failed utterly.
“Heeeeeeey, baby…” I started and he knew immediately.
“It’s on me. It’s on me isn’t it oh god it’s on me isn’t it?!”
David whipped his head around and came face to multi-eyed face with his blackest fear. He loosed a noise that didn’t fully escape his chest, a guttural panic noise and began slapping at himself like he was trying to dismantle his own shoulders with his own arms.
If that sounds undignified I invite you to also imagine me doing a useless little foot to foot dance and flapping my hands while that happened.
His slapping stopped. My hand flapping stopped. We stared at each other, glassy-eyed and panting.
“Is it off of me?” He asked.
“Yes?” I craned to look at his back. “Yes.”
“Okay. Okay. I’m going to…go pee.” David levered himself off the futon and wobbled to the bathroom. I presume to be alone for a second. I couldn’t really blame the guy.
I spent that second vigorously sweeping the entire futon down with my hand. If the spider was on there and still somehow alive I was not going to put my favorite and only face close enough for it to access with its angry mandibles.
Satisfied I plopped back down and turned to get my beer off of the windowsill. There, with it’s eight legs folded over in a death rictus, was the spider.
What I’m trying to relate to you with this anecdote is that we really didn’t have insects in San Francisco but Portland clearly has a shit ton. I’m trying to adjust to this as quickly as possible. I can handle the tiny ants that seem to like chilling near my coffee maker but the spiders are really fucking with me.
I have a hard and fast rule about spiders. They are more than welcome to be in my home so long as they are not where I sleep or where I shit.
Oregonian spiders have consistently violated this edict.
The second day in my new apartment as I took a pee in my new toilet a big, sickly green one scuttled out from under the door mid-stream. There is nothing quite like diving to the floor with a wad of toilet paper to snuff the life out of a creature both absurdly small and yet somehow absurdly threatening while half peeing down your own leg. It’s an experience full of triumph, drama and then a quiet, embarrassed shower afterwards.
The distance across which these beasts can sling their webs is astonishing. Every time I leave the house I’ve adopted a dodging, weaving motion, squinting into the air trying to anticipate the unseen web with its fat builder crouched in the center. I’m reasonably certain that the fact that I look like a fucking mental case while doing this is why I haven’t met more of my neighbors yet. I’ve only walked directly into one so far but one is enough and as god it my witness there will not be a second.
I’m typing this on the sofa. Behind me is the wide living room window. I happened to look behind me a moment ago to see one of them with his face (and I’m being generous in calling what spiders have a “face”.) pressed to the glass, just looking in at me.
He knows. He knows what I did to the others. He’s waiting for his chance to avenge his people on my bitable fleshy bits.
Do you think if I let him in and offered him the tiny ants near the coffee maker as tribute we could put this silly feud to rest and he could let his brethren know that as long as I don’t see them in the bathroom we are cool?