Back Off, Bugs, Inside Is My Territory

Around this time of year when I was little, the occasional bug would attempt an escape from the falling temperatures outdoors and wander into our home. If said bug was a spider, I would shriek and my mother would say something like, “Oh look! It’s a Halloween spider!” Maybe this was her attempt to make something scary seem cute, but years later, I remain unconvinced. I hate bugs.

My dislike stands whether it flies or crawls, has no legs or hundreds, or is alive or dead. One otherwise innocent afternoon during my teenage years, a pre-school boy I was baby-sitting looked down at me from the top of his play set and asked, “Would you like a worm in your hair?” The crusty carcass dangling from his chubby fingers is a terrifying image I cannot forget. Props to worms for making my garden happy, but the world is a minefield when the scent of annelids assaults my nostrils. I shudder at even imagining a slimy squish underneath my sole.

Yet the tiny creature that always tops the list of personal torment is the aforementioned spider. I hate spiders invading my territory. Apparently, when normal some people encounter a spider in their home, they catch it and release it outdoors, or employ the squish and throw away method. Like I’m going to get close enough on purpose to catch or squish one. As with worms, I cringe at smashing spiders and all other members of the bug community, be they squishy or crunchy. Yet somehow, when no one else is around to rescue me, or, if the person around is also a bug-hater, I become a reluctant courageous bug-smasher. Although, the smashing is often with a shoe (not mine) and sometimes thrown from a few inches away. Or across the room. Or the hallway.

At least spiders help out people like me by eating other bugs, but that’s no excuse to share my living space. I think they could do as good of a job keeping the bug population in check and from sharing my residence if they remained stationed outside. They refuse to get that memo, however, so continually I deal with spiders inhabiting the corners of my home between floor cleanings. No big deal when I’m the one holding the vacuum cleaner, but this year there were three offenders that took their invasion too far.

Crookedness among the cookware. This may be surprising, but I don’t (often) scream anymore when I spot a spider that needs to be removed from the premises. The discovery of the monster in a kitchen cabinet inside one of our pots was an exception. It was a pot we use regularly, no less, so clearly this invader hadn’t been paying attention to household routines. It had those awful, thin, crooked legs and waved two of them at me when I picked up the pot, as if taunting me. I think if it could have talked, its voice would have sounded like James Cagney. Too bad for the spider, my love for classic films did not spare it its life.

The bedtime sprint. Peaceful reading before bed was interrupted by the track star of spiders making a dash across my husband’s pillow. What it lacked in size it more than made up for in speed. Why do the teeny ones move the fastest? The worst part of it all is that we never found it. For all we know, it’s still at large. I almost slept somewhere else that night, but I thought it might have racing buddies hanging out under the couch.

Lurking in the lavatory. Of course the worst appearances happen at night. I was already having trouble falling asleep (a different night from the track star spider sighting), when I noticed a quarter-sized fellow insomniac on the bathroom floor. True love is a husband who doesn’t complain when you wake him at 1 a.m. to kill the beast, even though for 2.5 seconds he thinks there’s an emergency. Well, it was the size of a quarter (at least).

I don’t ask much, only for the creepy little uninvited guests to choose different lodgings. It’s honestly in their best interest. My husband loves to leave his shoes lying around and I have really, really good aim.


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