“I’m not opening that,” the Sears washer/dryer delivery man said of a piece of wood covering a hole in the wall. “I’ve seen that movie. It’s called ‘Arachnophobia.’”
Funny he should invoke “Arachnophobia.” When we arrived at our house in Idaho we found many spiders living there. Not everywhere, but enough to make your heebies go jeebie. The spiders weren’t bringing us our morning coffee or anything (but they could have, because there were enough of them, and our mattress is on the floor). Our friends had placed sticky traps in the basement and they were nearly full of eight legged freaks. There were even a few huge, pointy ones this east coast gal had never before seen.
“That one would look great gilded on a fascinator,” my more goth alter-ego exclaimed.
I caught one upstairs later in a glass and threw it outside. The exterminator thought that was adorable and we laughed (“I’m a hippy, too,” he said, through the guffaws). I stopped laughing when he told me about hobo spiders — the larger ones I considered wearing on my head. And my blood turned cold.
“Hobos will chase you across the garage. They’ll put you in the hospital. You can Google it,” he said.
“I won’t be doing that,” I told him. “Googling has nearly driven me insane on several occasions. I’ve learned to trust my doctors and my exterminators. And I’m really glad you’re here, and I’m relieved I didn’t know that about hobos until today.”
Then my husband and I chatted with the exterminator about Christopher Hitchens and Mormonism and an interesting time was had by most. I think half the spiders may have left due to the irritating thrust of our continued philosophizing.
“If I hear one more atheist book recommendation, bang-zoom, straight to the moon!” I might have heard a Jackie Gleason spider say as he slammed the front door behind him.
I like to look up animal meanings and since the spider motif has been following me, not just in my Idaho house, but in Newport and Massachusetts, I figure it can’t hurt to indulge my spidey sense. Especially after a spider literally dropped from the ceiling into my underpants when I was doing my bathroom business back on the east coast.
Some spider meanings: Spider is the keeper of letters, related to the number eight and, as such, infinity. It represents weaving your life, and making sure you’re building a web that will support, not entrap you (like buying a house with predatory spiders?). Also, according to “Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals,” “Spider gets your attention so that you notice that something you have woven has borne fruit.”
According to University of Bristol: “It has been suggested that a Boeing 747 could be stopped in flight by a single pencil-width strand and spider silk is almost as strong as Kevlar, the toughest man-made polymer.”
Cheers to the spider! Don’t eat your mate. And whatever you shoot from your abdomen, make sure it’s strong enough to stop a plane.
Jenn Sutkowski believes not all webs need be tangled, and other things that could go on gluts of memes clogging the internet. Find her weaving tales at jennsutkowski.com.
This Full Frontal column appeared originally in the Newport Mercury. I've been really crappy about keeping up with putting my columns on my website. Read a backlog of some of them by clicking here.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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