I saved a small green spider today.
It was an act of great heroism.
A very Zen/In-Tune-With-The-Earth thing to do.
I confess, though, I’ve committed arachnicide in the past. Intentional, premeditated, cold blooded spider murder. Serially, in fact. My weapon of choice is toilet paper. I wad it up in my hand, and, with heartbeat racing and a tiny, not-quite-voluntary scream, STRIKE QUICKLY, like a squeaky cobra, hoping my lightning reflexes will capture the spider under the paper which I then squish and squish and squish, hoping to mash its body and absorb any associated goo, all in one motion. In a pinch, a paper towel will do. And I’ve been known to use the occasional shoe. This is how I know I’ll never be Buddhist. I’m disqualified on the basis of my priors.
Oh, I know most spiders are innocuous. Beneficial, even, in eating less desirable bugs. But what I know factually in the logical part of my brain is not the same as the electric buzz of adrenaline that lights up my skin when I witness one descending from on high. In my house. Over my bed. Or, worst of all, in the shower where I am vulnerable — weaponless — too wet to use the toilet paper which would just dissolve in my hands. There I must face my opponent in hand to hand combat. Hand to tarsus combat? Irrelevant what the correct term is, I suppose, since I simply wave the white flag and quit the field. The spider always wins the Battle of Shower Run (where run = what I do when I see him.)
Yes, I am a spider murderess. But not always. Sometimes, overcome by compassion, I run, instead, for a jar and piece of paper, imprisoning the creature using the same maneuver as the Toilet Paper Crush. *WHAM* Trapped spider. And I whisper gentle kindnesses while I slip the paper underneath the jar and carry him to freedom. “It’s OK, little spider,” I say. “Nothing to fear.” If spiders ever made a True Crime documentary about me, I’d be one of those baffling, multidimensional characters — brutally killing spiders in rapid succession followed by inexplicable mercy. “It’s how she got away with it so long,” the narrator would say. “Releasing her captives to spread word of her great benevolence. Maintaining her reputation as a Defender of the Species whilst keeping her nefarious acts of violence under wraps.” It would be riveting, I’m sure.
But I saved a small, green spider today.
He popped up from behind the kitchen sink and proceeded to fall into it. None too gracefully, I might add. He might not be as coordinated as the other spiders.
There he sat, surrounded by drops of water and dirty spoons and dried bits of sourdough, with nowhere to escape.
He looked at me, and I looked at him, and he was very brave. He didn’t run, unlike a Certain Human in the Shower. He didn’t plead for his life. He didn’t squeal or strike like a cobra. He just waited, motionless, until I positioned a spoon like a getaway car, idling in front of him, at which point he jumped in its bowl and waited for me to lift him to safety. Which I did.
P.S. Unrelated: My son asked me if used tampons are, like, vampires’ tea bags. AND, NO, I DID NOT WARN YOU BEFORE I SHARED THAT LOVELY TIDBIT OF MY LIFE BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET ANY WARNING, EITHER, AND THIS SEEMED MORE FAIR. In times of crisis, we need to share one another’s pain. Thank you for sharing mine.
P.P.S. I don’t know the answer to his question. On the one hand, I think, NO, GROSS, VAMPIRES ONLY LIKE BLOOD TAKEN FROM A VEIN, PREFERABLY DURING SEX, HAVEN’T YOU READ ANY SMUTTY VAMPIRE NOVELS *AT ALL*? On the other hand, humans drink milk from other animals — and then we also ferment it so it coagulates and let mold grow on it and then cut it into wedges and charge outrageous prices at cheese mongers’ shops — and we eat, like, hot dogs and sausages and haggis and stuff, all of which is objectively disgusting but still delicious. So if we consume gnarly bits and also rotting secretions from various animal organs, then maybe??
P.P.P.S. I am neither prepared to answer my child’s question nor willing to let it go. I feel like this sums up All of Parenting.