I really thought I'd gotten over my fear of spiders, at least to the point where I could remove them from my kids’ rooms when needed. You always know when it’s needed. There is no shriek quite as piercing as a child spotting a spider in his or her room, or (even more terrifying) in the shower.
My newfound confidence went right out the window one morning when I was sitting in bed, working on my laptop, and saw movement along the baseboards out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it’s just a cricket, I thought.
Why would a cricket be any better than a spider? It would be much worse. You can’t catch those things, and they jump! At least spiders don’t jump. Not spiders this big. Dear God . . . That is a spider, right?
I crept out of bed and put on my flip flops, then took one off in case it decided to attack. Then I put it back on, because . . . that thing was huge. I didn’t trust my aim with a tiny flip flop against a behemoth arachnid. Smacking at it might just make it mad.
I ran (as quietly as possible) to the kitchen to get a large plastic cup, heart pounding. What if it wasn’t there when I got back? What then? It could be anywhere! The cats were perched on the dining room table, looking concerned.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “It’s just an enormous spider. You would be helpless against it. Besides, it looks poisonous.”
Back into the bedroom. It was still there. Phew. I moved closer and closer, trying to get the cup into position before it spotted me. How do spider eyes work, anyway? Do they have more than two? Can they see in all directions? I feel like I really should know this before trying to sneak up on one.
No matter. The cup is all I’ve got. I brought it down slowly, slowly. The spider didn’t move. Plunk. Got it! Too late, I realized that the cup wasn’t flat on the floor. It was propped up on the – what do you call that thing at the bottom of the baseboard? A kickplate? My years of binge-watching HGVT failed me. In horror, I watched it scramble under the door of the closet.
I paused outside the closet door, cup in hand, for a very long time. Damn it. What now? I can’t start poking around in the closet, it’s sure to drop on me from whatever it’s attached to. I opened the doors and stared into the closet. Eventually I worked up the nerve to slowly push aside a four-pack of paper towels, expecting it to come charging at me from the other side of the package. Nothing.
I stepped back and noticed the flashlight on an upper shelf. That’s it. I’ll be able to see it better without having to physically enter the closet, and maybe I could paralyze it with the light. I didn’t know if that was possible but I really, really hoped so. It happens with deer, right? Spider in the headlights?
Betty (cat #1) entered the room. She loves chasing lights. I trained the light on the closet floor and she ran right in after it.
“No, Betty! Don’t startle the spider!”
I turned off the light, but before I did, I saw something on the floor, in the open, that looked a lot like the spider. I turned the flashlight on again and kept Betty at bay with my foot. I think that’s the spider! Just sitting there! Why is it doing that? Oh my God, it’s paralyzed by the light! It was like I had discovered fire.
I brought the flashlight closer and closer, testing the light paralysis theory. It didn’t move. Plunk. Just like that, he was trapped. Hooray!
Now, how to get him outside? The old “slide paper under cup” trick worked, but I couldn’t pick it up because the paper was flimsy. One wrong move and he would make a break for it, probably down my arm. I had to slide him across the floor, inch by inch, trying not to jump out of my skin listening to him skittering around in there. Six agonizing feet later, I remembered that there was a rug between me and the screen door. Foiled again.
What would Macgyver do? Duct tape. We have duct tape. Feeling accomplished, I ripped up what little duct tape was left on the roll into small strips, and started folding the paper up the side of the cup and taping it in place. Almost done . . . and then the tape ran out. One section of paper was going to be loose when I picked up the cup.
Holding that section tight against the cup with my hand, I maneuvered the screen door open. Carefully, gingerly, I walked to the very far end of the yard and put the cup down. The spider ran around the inside of the cup, but didn’t find the loose section in the paper. Still stuck in the cup. Dear Lord.
I untaped a few sections and put the cup back down, backing away just far enough to avoid accidental contact. Thankfully, the spider found its way out and disappeared into the grass.
Hopefully it will not find its way back in the house, because I’m all out of duct tape.