Work, the wind … and weather in general, wreaked havoc with my walking schedule this week.
And, I needed to get some groceries, and give the car a run, so I planned to set off just as soon as it was light, hoping to get a few walking miles in around the store and schlepping bags into the house.
But before I left, I opened the cellarway door and my eyes, long-trained to zoom in on any critter skittering up and down the wall, honed right in on that spider.
As spiders go, it was not one of those ugly brown or black buggers that spin a thick web and dart out on the sticky threads to catch unsuspecting flying insects.
But, it was the first indoor spider of the year, and it was invading my territory.
It was not unexpected, of course, given all the rain we’ve had recently, but it sure did put a hitch in my plans to zoom out the door, because I am terrified of spiders and centipedes. And, to make matters worse, he was on the door, near the handle. The audacity!
I stared at him, and I suppose he stared back at me too. Who could tell? My mother, who often grew impatient with my inability to swat or stomp critters with more legs than mine, would say “he’s more afraid of you, than you are of him” … but, alas – I’d stand there petrified, staring at him, transfixed until he moved, or I could position myself properly to wield my weapon – my electric bug sucker.
My little machine sucks bugs up into a trap door from which there is no escape. It works fine, except I had to walk past this beast to get downstairs to retrieve it.
So, I had to come up with a Plan “B”.
Well, this morning I was in a hurry, so, in desperation, I took a Kleenex out of my coat pocket.
No, not to cry.
And, no, not to squash him – Heavens no! I can’t kill a spider with half a roll of paper towel, let alone one measly Kleenex.
I bravely threw the wadded-up Kleenex at him and stepped back quickly.
Well, that Kleenex fell right to the floor and I imagined him laughing at me thinking “come and get me if you can” … but I had no other “ammunition” and I wasn’t going to unlace my walking shoes. Besides, the uneven treads wouldn’t kill him either.
So I told him “wait a minute – stay right here” and I ran like greased lightning and got a loafer. Loafers have great swatability for bugs and I usually try to keep one handy once Spring arrives.
I, of course, forgot to be loafer-ready since it really didn’t feel much like Spring.
The loafers I keep near the door aren’t for wearing – they’re just for swatting, because if a spider or centipede crawled inside and I put my foot there, I’d surely have a heart attack.
With much bravado, I swatted. Hard. And guts went onto the cream-colored steel door and the bottom of my shoe, where, of course, I had to look twice to ensure he was indeed a goner and could not “get me”, as if the guts sprayed on the door weren’t enough to convince me of that fact.
Success – he was as dead as a doornail!
Feeling brave and oh so worldly, I headed out the door after mopping up his guts.
I gave no more thought to that spider, or the family he left behind, and I drove to Meijer. Since I’m big on the five-fruits-and-veggies-a- day-regimen, my first stop was at the produce department, where the regular crew and I chatted it up while I perused leafy greens, apples, broccoli and probably the last clementines of the season. Then I headed for the bananas.
My usual ritual for years when buying bananas is to grab a couple of plastic produce bags for each hand, whereupon I examine each banana to ensure there are no banana spiders tucked in the bunch. While you may think that’s crazy, a few years back I was standing doing that very exercise when one of the produce clerks came over to uncrate a load of bananas. She was wearing gloves. I pointed to her heavy white leather gloves and politely asked if the bananas had just been removed from the fridge. She said “no, I was unpacking a crate of bananas one day and a huge spider was in between the bunches so now I wear gloves”… I am sure the look on my face was one of horror, and she, obviously another person afflicted with arachnophobia, felt an instant kinship toward me.
After our conversation, I tripled up on the plastic bags and pulled those bananas apart and flyspecked them even more intensely.
But this morning, I was running late due to the creature on the door, and I was preoccupied visiting with Donna, one of the produce clerks – she was unpacking bananas as I walked up. She said “here’s a good bunch” and handed them over and I already had bags in my hand and she slipped them in. I never gave it a second thought. We chit-chatted a few more minutes, and I left to go to the U-scan.
Driving home, I suddenly remembered … I forgot to check the bananas for spiders.
My heart started pounding.
I glanced out of the corner of my eye to the grocery bag on the floor on the passenger side. It was darkish over there. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the bag, imagining that while I was driving that 1 ½ miles home, the imagined banana spider would morph into some type of monster arachnid and run out of the bag, across the hump and up my pant leg.
I drove faster.
My heart beat faster too.
I am sure I lost five years of my life on the trip home.
I arrived and checked that bunch of bananas out before I took them in the house so I’d not be contending with a humungous spider, the likes of the one featured in a long ago “Twilight Zone” episode.
Well, the bananas were fine – me … not so much.