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My latest peeve is spiders. I don’t know why but the spiders here in Oregon are uglier than the ones I remember from elsewhere. I know there are even uglier ones out in the world – including the truly poisonous ones – but I don’t have to deal with those. No, these are just regular old, non-poisonous house spiders.

I spend summers with cuts, bruises, spots of poison oak, and insect bites. Those bites appear quite often in the morning right after I wake up. So what am I to think? The only things around are those damned spiders. I have looked up spider bites many, many times and all I ever come across is “spiders seldom bite humans, in fact many couldn’t possibly because their mouth parts are not large enough.” Sort of like a human attempting to bite off the plaster in the middle of a wall – you just can’t do it (nor should you).

So, the next thing is bedbugs. I looked everywhere for signs of bedbugs (well, not everywhere because that would be stupid). There was nothing. I even set one of those sticky bug traps on the headboard just below where my sleeping head would be. Nothing. Besides, if it were bedbugs, why wouldn’t it be happening to Paul, too? (Except that he’s a tough-skinned old bird).

Anyway, it always leads back to spiders. I don’t like to hate them. I wish I could be like a Jain and not want to ever hurt anything. But I am not a Jain at all. I want those spiders dead. I should say that it really is only the spiders in the house that bother me. Outside spiders are great. Hell, I can sit for hours watching a spider weave a web. Or watch a colorful little crab spider that can actually change their color to match their surroundings (not that it actually does that while I’m watching).

Three days ago, I was in my bathroom getting ready for work. I laid my clothes that I would wear after my shower down on the side of my sink and was brushing my teeth. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move on the shirt I was about to put on. I turned to look but there was nothing. I thought I must have been hallucinating. Morning can do that sometimes. But when I grabbed that shirt, a mouse spider a little larger than a dime skittered out. I think they call them mouse spiders because they can grow as large as a mouse. That one won’t.

Ever since then I’ve been shaking all of my clothes expecting some eight-legged bastard to fall out of them.

I feel bad about this. And I feel even worse because I know that it is species (Order? Family?) specific. The common Cellar spiders, what I learned to call “daddy long-legs” as a child, get a pass. Is it because I was taught that they were “good” spiders as a child? Is it because those spindly legs aren’t as scary as the big hairy ones? Maybe both.

I remember sitting on the floor of our little motel-turned-apartment. My ex-husband, Eric, was sitting on the couch behind me. Eric was afraid of spiders, of course. I remember actually hearing the skitter of something on the kitchen floor. I looked and there was the largest spider I have ever seen (besides pet Tarantulas). I had to tell Eric not to look because that would probably have caused him a heart attack. I did what was necessary.

Of course, thinking back, maybe it WAS someone’s pet Tarantula. Sorry.

Anyway, I have had a growing resentment for spiders. I am not really afraid of them. I know they actually do good things like catch and eat those bugs that are probably the real reason that I wake up with bites on my arms and neck. But it’s just that they are pretty creepy. And they hide in things like your shirt to startle you when they jump out. I think they must know and do that on purpose.

A week ago Paul and I spotted one of these ugly spiders crawling on the wall in the living room. Armed each with a Kleenex, we both headed to kill and, you know what? That little bastard managed to skitter away. I use skitter because I was going to use scamper but that seems too nice a word for what those hairy bastards do. When Izzy gets wound up and runs around the yard as fast as she can, that’s a scamper. I could say scuttle, but I also like Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama. When spiders try to save themselves by running away, that’s definitely a skitter. And that spider got away from BOTH of us!

And this is the time of year when they really start coming into the house. So today, to right the wrong I have done, I killed a daddy long-legs.


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