Saturday, May 22, 2010

GOT MY EYES ON YOU!

I'm not a big spider fan.
Uh, let me rephrase that: I not a big fan of spiders. When it comes to BIG SPIDERS, I'm especially not a fan.
I won't go so far as to say the only good spider is a dead spider…but I will say that any spider I catch trespassing in my house is a soon-to-be-dead spider, providing my aim with the swatter is true. Outside is another matter. I'll concede spiders have their place—so long as we're agreed their place is not scuttling across my living room floor. I can be fair and reasonable, willing to live and let live, if a certain decorum is maintained.
However, my cottage is my castle, and I rule this modest kingdom with one categorical imperative—spiders are forbidden within its walls. Any spider caught therein will be considered an intruder, and punishment for ignoring this boundary shall prove swift and deadly.
Just to show my seriousness on the matter, I keep a swatter handy in every room.
As an informational aside, Myladylove employs a vacuum cleaner with the hose attachment as her preferred arachnid termination device. While I like this "suck 'em to the big fly feast in the sky" approach in principal, in practice I find it too clunky for instant decisive reaction.
True, it does offer a more remote working distance for inflicting death—especially appealing when armed with a short-handled swatter and facing a soon-to-be-deceased eight-legged nightmare of a size which makes me gulp and pause. More than once during these thoughtful pauses, as I'm trying to drag my courage back by the shirt collar, I remember how—given my adrenaline-fueled heart rhythm after a similar stalk-and-slay mission involving such a gargantuan foe—I really meant to check into investing in a home defibrillator unit. So in these cases, the extra margin of an additional foot or two might make a difference.
Yet I know I'd personally miss the lack of a squashed post-execution carcass which provides that necessary and satisfying proof of a successful fatality. There's also the moment of celebratory glee when your now-vanquished invader does a few turns around the porcelain bowl before a watery trip into the abyss. For me, there's nothing like a good slain-spider flush to restore a calmative balance to my universe.
Therefore, I'll stick with the swatter and employ it only within the confines of my cottage walls. Spiders outside need not fear. And seeing as how we're being perfectly honest here…certain spiders are, even to my arachnophobic mindset, rather cute. Especially when they're smaller than the eraser on the end of a pencil. Even I can't work up a case of unreasonable terror over a creature so tiny.
Of course they're still not too diminutive to set my spider-radar to pinging. Which is how I discovered the itsy-bitsy spider in the photo above. I was prowling about the yard yesterday. My radar pinged. I looked around, and saw the elfin creature—what I think is one of the metaphid jumping spiders, approximately 1/8-inch long—staring back at me from a secure pocket at the base of a pokeweed leaf. I eased over for a good close-up shot, and couldn't help grinning all the while because that old blues song by Sonny Terry or maybe Howlin' Wolf, "Got My Eyes On You," suddenly began playing in my mind. The perfect musical backdrop for the occasion.
You just have to love any creature which invokes such a moment…even if it does happen to be a spider!
———————

14 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Good thing you have no enemies - for you have certainly given them the means to 'get you'! ;-) Great pic!

George said...

I laughed all the way through this posting, Grizz. It was a nervous laughter, however, because I could feel one of those tiny creatures crawling around the back of my neck. I, too, am a bit arachnophobic. To be honest, however, when I look into the eyes of the little guy that is the subject of your very interesting photo, I am stuck with the Buddhist notion of how could I kill such a living thing. I do, of course, especially when they set off reptilian fear in me. I guess that's one of the paradoxes of life.

Von said...

That's so very sad, where we all live was once the spiders' territory, they lived here long before we did.You can't blame them for being there and they deserve our tolerance and assistance before we swat them into extinction.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Anyone who knows me well enough to be my enemy realizes I know them and their phobias and peculiarities equally well, and wouldn't hesitate a moment in return retaliation—with interest. Paybacks are…well, uncomfortable.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

I don't think, in spite of my post, that I would kill this little guy even in the house; certainly never outside. But when certain creatures (mostly those sporting eight legs) enter my home, I cease to view them in a benign manner. They become unwelcome invaders best eradicated, similar to a flu virus invading my body. Fear plays its ugly part, of course. That's why I'd remove or herd out a bird, squirrel, or snake—but kill a spider. I'll set traps for mice, but also shoo them out if I can. Paradoxical behavior for sure.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Von…

I don't think if every human on the face of the earth swatted 100 spiders each and every day for the next century that we'd have a shortage. Still I understand what you're saying. And I will tolerate spiders outside—admire them, take their photos, wish them happy hunting, even though I'm just as much an arachnophobic outside as inside. But my tolerance zone ends at the door.

KGMom said...

For shame.
Have we not had this exchange before? Did I not chide you on this very subject? Well, if I did, I failed to persuade you.
I, on the other hand--that is to your practice--gently gather up any spider found inside my house and gently deposit it outside. I instruct it to catch all the insects it can.
In fact, not long ago, I turned on the shower not having seen a spider struggling to crawl out of the slippery surface. The whole way through the shower, I kept apologizing. Once I had finished, I gathered it up in a tissue, and placed it in the trash. I was sure it was dead--but a day later, it revived.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

I do seem to recall that we did, indeed, have a similar exchange re. this very subject. Alas, you did not then persuade me because—on my part—it's not an intellectual, logical response, but an emotional one. A phobia. By very definition, illogical. And FYI, I've had this same argument/discussion with myself thousands of times. While I've not cured myself, I've at least managed to limit to the upper end the size of spiders that now trigger the response, and to a great extent, the level of emotional response.

Most people have phobias about one thing or another—whether or not they'll admit it. A few years ago, during a solo camping trip, I woke up one morning to find a rather large copperhead curled two feet from my head in my 5x7 tent. That did not set off any sort of emotional response. I respect poisonous snakes, but don't fear them in the phobia sense. So while I wasn't particularly thrilled to find myself sharing my small bedroom with a copperhead, I responded only by deciding how best to extract myself from the situation. Once that was accomplished, I simply shook the snake from the tent, pinned it with a stick, then picked it up and carried it well away from the camp before setting it free unharmed.

It would have been a different story had the creature been a tarantula.

Vagabonde said...

I do not kill spiders as they catch other insects, but I kill fleas and cockroaches whenever I find them, and moth too so they won’t eat my woolens. So that I would not be afraid of spiders my mother told me when I was very little that they were lucky and liked music. So when we saw one we would sing, then she would gingerly catch it and place it outside.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Vagabonde…

I understand your reasoning, at least to a point. But I've been bitten by spiders several times over the years—once quite badly as a child after which I needed several doctor visits and rounds of medicines before getting over the worst of it—though it required a month or two for the skin to heal.

My aunt was bitten in her house by a brown recluse. She spent nearly two weeks in the hospital, plus subsequent visits to the doctor. And I suppose you've seen the recent news story re. the lady in Georgia who was also bitten by a brown recluse, though she didn't realize it at the time. She finally went to the hospital as an emergency patient, lapsed into a coma which lasted 11 days, and during that time, had to have a mastectomy due to the infection damage to her breast.

I'm not saying all spiders are dangerous; they're not. But some are, and even most of the harmless ones can bite. Which may not actually be a practical excuse for my killing them inside the house to some folks…but I do. I also kill roaches, swat flies, and treat for fleas if we notice any (we have a dog.) I trap mice, too, which occasionally show up in the cottage—though a few months back, I caught one which was just pinned by the foot, not injured, and I took that one out and let it go.

In this end, this comes down to being one of those personal decisions, I guess—though when you throw in a phobia, rationally deciding may not be an option. I hope you understand.

A from TO said...

After the sucking up-do you think they travel back down the vacuum hose to taunt you once again?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

A from TO…

Nahhh…I figure that horrific and sustained mini-tornado, plus all those dog hairs, dust bunnies, and whatever else is spinning about in the whirlwind at the end of the hose, is sufficient to work the necessary ghastly magic. Plus a big wolf spider on the run is near impossible to catch up with and terminate while dragging a vacuum around. :-)

A from TO said...

Boy such big strong outdoorsman-carrying a big stick-no flyswatter. he he he

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

A from TO…

Actually, an often too-small, totally inadequate tool for the task…or so it seems to me. But one has to cowboy up and make do sometimes…