Here’s a picture for you. A wife is home alone, enjoying a warming cup of peppermint tea on the sofa, feet resting on a soft, white rug, lap heavy and warm with a laptop whirring its way around the blogosphere. The tv flickers and witters on in the corner to give a feeling of company.
A sudden, low movement near the door catches her eye. A sharp intake of breath, a stifled scream and a startled lurch sends cup and laptop almost flying.
Yes, my friends, it is my most dreaded season of the year. The season of the Ginormous Spiders.
Now I know I live in England, that green and pleasant land not inhabited by a single one of the world’s deadly species, nor any of its largest creatures. But come September I couldn’t care less. These furry, skittering critters Freak. Me. Out.
I don’t care that it won’t kill me, or even do me any harm other than a bit of a tickle. I cannot stop myself squeaking like a complete girl when a spider big enough to create a shadow capers into my living room and perches its two twitching front legs on the edge of the rug while it assesses the room and decides how far it can get before the cowering hulk in the corner grows a backbone.
I managed to get the one in the story, a couple of nights ago. No kidding its legs were a good 5cm long and it was a good 2cm off the ground although its body wasn’t much to speak of. I was so proud of myself. No need to call the RSPCA, I got it out alive. I assessed the available options within arm’s reach: a yoghurt pot, a glass tumbler and a vat of a mug half full of herbal tea. No way I was going anywhere knowing that thing might make a home under my sofa and haunt me every time I reached down to switch the light on or off. So I decanted the herbal tea and made my move. All praise to anything that might possibly be in heaven, it didn’t move and I didn’t miss. Then I sat there for a good five minutes looking at the cup on the floor.
Could I just go upstairs and leave it to suffocate? How long would that take anyway? Could it find a way out and come and find me? What if the kids came down in the morning, moved the cup and were attacked by an incensed arachnid that had taken lessons from its Australian cousins overnight? Just how much mileage could Mr H get from me leaving it for him to deal with? No, I would have to see it through.
I chose the most solid paper thing I had to hand – a magazine. I gingerly slid it under the cup, hoping to god nothing shot out a leg or indeed a whole being. It wouldn’t do to wake the children and reveal how pathetic their mother really is. I took a deep breath, lifted up cup and magazine, freaked as the paper wobbled, opened the front door and narrowly missed throwing all three items through my neighbour’s window on the opposite side of the road, such was the force with which I ejected the beast from my home. Thankfully I just managed to keep hold of cup and magazine so neighbourly relations were maintained. Who knows if the spider survived. Who cares quite frankly. Although perhaps there’s some advantage in it going off to tell its mates there’s a crazy lady in there, so steer clear.
Big sticker on the chart for me I would say. But goddammit the message doesn’t seem to have to got through. Another of the blighters has gone and followed the same routine this evening. And last night I found one sat upstairs on the carpet in the very spot I stood a moment before I popped into Littlest H’s room for a late night duvet check. I could have stood on it! It could have crawled on me!
As you can see, me and eight legged creatures do not get on. And right now, the biggest question I have is how the hell I get off the sofa, given I managed to ruck up the rug while trying to encourage the intruder to disappear back out of the door, but instead it thought I was creating a home for it, so it is currently centimetres from my tucked up feet, between me and the door.
I think the first one survived its ordeal and has in fact told its mates to come and get me. Maybe next time I’ll just bludgeon the thing, to hell with karma.