There is one big problem with my mansion. (Other than the fact that I can hear my neighbor breathing, that is.) Spiders. Of the Daddy Long Leg variety. Oh, sure, you can go ahead and tell me how harmless they are, how "helpful." You can tell me the sky is green and the grass is blue. SPIDERS ARE SCARY.
(As are ALL insects. No species is spared in my absolute hatred of all things creepy and crawly.)
When I first moved into my mansion, I told Neighbor John, "I'm so happy we're neighbors! YOU CAN KILL THE BUGS!" Not that I was expecting much; just the normal amount of critters that one might expect. And you know what John said? "Bugs? (Then indecipherable muttering and general sound-making as if I was an idiot for even suggesting such a thing.) We rarely see any bugs." Then his nose grew three feet long.
The first daddy long leg (DLL from the point forward) was chillin' by one of my electrical outlets. I kept an eye on him for a little while and when he was suddenly just... gone... I shrugged and went about my day. You see, I can't kill them. Even that terrifies me. I've seen my mom spray insects. The bug freaks out, my mom freaks out, I freak out. Everyone is shrieking and flailing about. It's not pretty.
People, I know it's not rational. I get that. Truly, I do. I realize the absolute stupidity in my way of thinking. But fear? Real, true fear? It's absurd and foolish and there's absolutely no reasoning with it.
That first DLL reappeared the next day, next to the same outlet. Chillin.' A couple hours later, gone again. Then there was the one in the corner below my window. And, later, one that was crawling across the door to my closet.
All of them (or maybe they are one in the same?) moseyed on within an hour or two. I'm fine with that! Again, COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL, but I'd rather I go on my merry way and they go on theirs. No harm, no foul. Just go. Please, please, just go.
A coupla days ago, I came home and discovered one loungin' in a corner of the room. He wasn't doing anything so I went about my business. I was even starting to think this whole let-them-live-in-peace attitude I'd recently adapted was a sign that the fear didn't have quite the stronghold on me it'd had in the past. I'm an adult. A (relatively) mature one. And I've survived a divorce. What's an itty bitty critter gonna do?
Then something happened and I realized I might not have come as far as I'd hoped.
I stopped by the mansion to change before heading out again. I sat down to pee (and quickly as I was in a hurry). From my perch I could see into the shower and, for crying out loud, another spider. I finished my business and stood, just watching.
I couldn't let it stay. This is my shower we're talking about. I REFUSE TO SHOWER WITH SPIDERS.
I'm embarrassed to admit what happened next.
I didn't know what to do. It was on the move. I had to act fast. Shockingly, I don't own bug spray. (WHY DON'T I OWN BUG SPRAY?!) I thought to grab a bottle of whatever bathroom cleaner was closest, but that would mean leaving the room and in my irrational fear-filled mind, that would have given the spider too good a chance to escape. The closest thing to me was a small bottle of water I keep handy for ironing.
I should have realized what sort of minimal impact this would have.
I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed until I was nearly out of water. That fucker, crippled though he may have been, fought the good fight. I realized I was probably torturing the poor thing, which was so not my intention. (Did you not read the paragraphs above in which I LIVE AND LET LIVE?)
I had to grab something stronger than water, something that would clue said spider in on the fact that he wasn't just CAUGHT IN A RAIN STORM, something that would finally put us both out of our misery. While he was down, temporarily, for the count, I dashed into the closet and grabbed... windex.
Effing glass cleaner.
I don't know why. I guess I just figured it'd have toxic chemicals that SURELY would kill an itsy bitsy spider. But, no. I just kept torturing the poor bastard.
At this point, a solid ten minutes have passed. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but in real spider-killing time? An. E. Ternity.
Finally, finally, it was down. If it wasn't dead at this point, it was only a matter of moments. My skin was crawling. My scalp was tingling. I felt itchy all over. I was certain his whole extended arachnid family was going to come crawling through the walls in a scene straight from Arachnophobia to attack me. I probably wouldn't have blamed them.
I turned the shower on and let the water run for several minutes. I was so tense. My shoulders were aching; I was on the verge on tears.
I wanted, more than anything, to feel some sort of accomplishment. I had, after all, killed a spider. For what may have been the first time ever in my life. I should have felt proud. No, it hadn't been at all graceful and I was sure that when the time came I'd be taken to task for my inhumane treatment of another of His creatures. But I had done it. I had killed a bug. The very thing that haunts my nightmares and sometimes even prevents me from living my life. But I didn't feel proud. I felt horrible. Awful.
I didn't know whom I felt worse for: the spider or me. Because at that moment I felt certain I would have to move. The spiders and I would not coexist. If they wouldn't leave, then I would have to.
To be continued...