It's not about the house.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Eight-Legged Freaks

Have you seen this week’s New Yorker? Or maybe it was last week’s? The one with the mummies on the cover? Oh my god… There’s an article in it about this spider lady, and—


I don’t like spiders. I’m better about them than I used to be: I don’t have to run screaming naked from the house anymore if I see one in the shower. The porch is far enough for me to go now. But then again, I’ve never had a porch before, so maybe I’m not so much better after all.

Anyway this lady – who is apparently like four feet tall and weighs about a pound and a half – divides her time between crawling around dank basements known to harbor poisonous spiders, and “milking” the ones she catches (and brings home in her pockets) for their venom.

Now, I don’t love spiders, but somehow I never thought before about them having “venom.” I mean, I know they bite (some people don’t believe it, but they do – you should see the welts on Johnny’s legs), and some I know can kill you with their bite, but what spiders have in their horrid little mouths is poison – special spider poison – not venom. Snakes have venom. I don’t mind snakes.

This lady goes on to say all kinds of things about spiders I didn’t know before, some that doesn’t even bother me. Did you know, for example, that there’s a kind in South America that lives in colonies by the thousands and cooperates in tasks like web-building and whatevering-it-is–they’re-doing-to-their-prey? That’s kind of cool. I mean, I wouldn’t want to accidentally step on one or anything, but still, it’s kind of cool.

Some of it, though, is – to say the least – disturbing.

This spider bites you and the area around the bite turns black and sloughs off gradually until you’re left with a gaping hole. This one hides in wait and then drops down on your head (okay, they’re trying to drop down on other spiders’ heads, but still). This other one kills its rival and adopts the rival’s children…

Yikes. Who knew spiders took care of spider children? I thought they just laid eggs in your ears or something and then carried on their merry way. Now I have to worry about murderous foster mothers trying to get back in your ears to bring the bastards food and shit?

But no, I don’t. Have to worry about that, I mean. Those kinds of spiders don’t live here.

See, there are more spiders – and more kinds of spiders – in this house I accidentally bought than I have ever seen in my entire life. And I'm not fond of spiders. I've seen thick, leggy yellow ones; tea-green, iridescent ones; brown ones that make funnel-shaped webs and swear at you when you look at them; black ones that look like muscley asterisks and jump on you when you try to squish them... Ever since we moved here I've lived in full-time spider red-alert — but at least I knew there weren’t any kill-you kinds that live in Massachusetts.

Except for spider-lady says there are. Spider Lady says that – what with shipments coming from the Orient and South America – there are venomous arachnids in every state plus Canada. Canada!


I knew I hated spiders.

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