Happy Halloween! Or whatever one says. This week, I’m going post a series called, “The Things that Have Made Me Anxious Lately,” (having never been one for cute, pithy titles, I ended up with this one) and in honor of this creepy holiday (seriously, how does the sky know to go grey on this day and the black birds know to swirl and twirl en masse on this day?), I am kicking the series off with something horrible.
(It took my one minute and seventeen seconds to write that word.)
I am irrationally and pathetically terrified of spiders (eeeee!). My wild imagination assigns powers to them that I’ve been told they don’t actually possess, but I would argue that creatures grow and evolve and adapt to their situation over time, so how the heck can we possibly know that they aren’t slowly increasing in strength and numbers because they possibly drink water that perhaps folks receiving radiation therapy have expelled? We don’t, we can’t possibly know. We can’t know that if we swing a bat to kill them, they won’t use one of their many appendages to grab it and bash our brains in, OR that they haven’t sent out a distress call in an octave our ears are too large to hear, and while we’re swinging that bat, an army is amassing behind us, ready to eat our faces AND our bat with their millions of fangs. We don’t, we cannot know.
So, a couple weeks ago, I had a situation. It had been raining all weekend long, and I had let the mail pile-up in the box to avoid frizzing my hair more than the norm. When I finally headed down there, in the rain, I opened the box to find a mini house of horrors. Apparently, an ant nest lived in the mailbox’s flower bed and the rain had saturated the bed so thoroughly, that those hard working ants, all 456,000,981,072,999,015,000 of them plus their wee larvae/eggs had relocated to the cozy, dry confines of the mailbox; many finding the pages of my SELF magazine particularly appealing, but I wouldn’t realize that until I was back in the house. They blacked out the corners of the box. They walked all over each other by the thousands. I had never seen anything like it and I don’t think you would or should unless you stick your head in the ground, in the middle of an ant’s nest, but then you’re just asking for it. I was not.
I got all skeeved and felt as though a large portion of those creepers were climbing all over me. Screeching and slapping and screeching more, I bolted for the garage door, punched in the code, hopped up and down, and then, once the door was open enough, I ducked under, out of the rain and far away from the nightmare in the mailbox. But then…then my troubles began.
Folded over from bowing under the garage door, but with much momentum, I was in an off-kilter sprint and my foot was about to make contact with the concrete floor when I saw it, just where I was about to step. The largest sss. Sppp. Spuh-eye-Der I have ever seen, live and not in captivity. I let out the cry of a terrified banshee and changed stride, mid-air, to manage a leap that belied my short legs. Impressive. And dove through the threshold, into the house.
A stream of astonished and horrified curses may have ensued.
After a few radical slaps to my legs, in case the monster had lept up my pant leg when I had hurdled over it (or maybe I rolled around on the floor violently) I peeked back around the corner into the garage. He was there, right where I’d left him, now up on all eights, ready and growling and drooling venom, I’m certain of it.
In an act that I am still shocked I managed to pull off, I grabbed the most-full can of arachnid-killing Raid and advanced, fingers to my neck to check on my vitals. I knew he either needed to die, or I needed to move. Typically, a brief shot with this poison and you hear the creature shriek, “I’m melting! Melting!” and crumple to the ground. The monster in the garage, however (who I’ve concluded lived underground, near Hell usually, but the rain had driven him from his lair and into the garage, much like the ants and the mailbox) was sprayed with half of the can for a couple of minutes, and then just seemed to shake it off and saunter haughtily toward my bicycle, leaving a foamy trail of poison in his wake. Since this villain was clearly impervious to my only defense, and I had now inhaled my fair share of the Raid, I freaked out even more. (If you’re wondering, as many have, why I didn’t just squash him, let me tell you: a) I am convinced he could have chewed through my shoe b) I did that once and the ground came alive with the trillions of babies that were being carried on the back of the one I crushed. I will never fall for that trick again).
“WHY are you so big?!” I yelled at him, “You aren’t supposed to be that big! How did you fit in the door? Why??!?”
“Please die. Please just die. Why won’t you die?” and the like.
Well, the monstrous bad-ass simply peered out at me from behind my tire (I was still just holding down the trigger on the can), saw the still-open garage door and made a run for it. Yes. Still had the energy and wherewithal to RUN.
For your amusement, and again, in-keeping with the holiday, here is a video I took that chronicles those final moments that followed his exodus from the garage. That’s me, hyperventilating in the background (it’s hard to breath when you feel like there’s a metal spike piercing your lungs and you’ve inhaled much spider poison). The star of the film should be obvious.
Have a creepy Halloween. Be safe. Carry Raid.