Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Along Came a Spider...

I am afraid of spiders. I am not so bad as I once was, but I really, really don't like spiders.

El Cerrito has a plentiful supply of spiders. Mostly, the house attracts the long, wispy-legged kind, which I simply gently pick up on a broom and remove from the house. However, the city of El Cerrito, in summer, seems to be a hot property for a very large (by my standards), decorative garden spider, which I think is a kind of argiope. They spin webs, and hang on them in the late summer heat. Thank God, they do not seem to have any interest in coming indoors, preferring to live outside and eat mosquitos. Good on them. Because if they came inside, I would absolutely lose it.

Unfortunately, the line between indoors and outdoors seems to be getting slightly vague. For three evenings now, an enterprising argiope has been trying to get a web going across my front porch. Specifically, across the FRONT of my front porch, stringing it between the spiky little tree on one side and the porch support on the other. I would have walked into it this morning, except that it had already caught a mosquito, which gave the web's location away to me. Twice, now, I have snapped the guide threads holding the web up. That stuff is STRONG.

I can only assume it is hoping to catch either me or the fella in this web. What it would do if it caught us, is another matter, seeing as we are approximately 800+ times its weight. It is possible that this is some form of recreational big-game hunting. I just hope it's catch and release.

It's also possible, of course, that the spider does not realize that the web is located in a path taken daily by big mammals. The porch, if you don't recognize it as a porch, probably looks like an ideal web frame. I am not sure if spiders can learn from repeated experience that a location is not suitable. I hope to God they can, because if this critter does not get the idea soon I am going to go slightly batty.

Last night I dreamed about big spiders. This morning, as I said, I had to deal both with the web, and with a mosquito I tried to assist (fellow feeling), and, well, didn't help much. Tonight, I took a full bag of trash from the kitchen, and began to take it out. Thanks mercy, I remembered at the last minute to check to see if the path was clear. It wasn't. There's a big new web out there right now, and I've finally spotted the spider. It's large. If I had walked into it, I would probably be in catatonic shock right now.

"Kill it," says the fella. I did not dignify this with a reply. Reading over my shoulder, now, though, he's offered to take the broom and dismantle the latest web, which I took him up on. He's a good fella.

There's a note on the door which reads "Spider Check". Just to remind me in the morning.


Anonymous said...

Go to OSH. Get some praying mantiseseseseseseses. Put the pods in the bushes in your front yard... They will hatch and happily chow down on the spiders.


Anonymous said...

The only time I ever got scared of a spider was when I saw a yellow and black one who had taken up residence in my unlce's shower stall in Florida. It was diameter of a good sized orange. I kid you not. I got so freaked out I wouldn't even go into that room!