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Ménage à Deux

August 27, 2011

Friends, the last few weeks that I’ve spent discovering William Faulkner and enjoying the fuck out of his prose for reasons wholly unaffiliated with Oprah’s Book Club will not be the topic of this post. Nay, and I will pass entirely over the matter of how many times per Rolling Stones song (~10) Mick Jagger anachronistically reminds me of Jemaine Clement; nor, indeed, will I invite you to end your skepticism by listening to “Emotional Rescue” and imagining it as a Flight of the Conchords performance. Furthermore, I will surely not trouble your ears with a definition of the praeteritio, a Roman literary and oratorical device in which the author professes unwillingness to discuss certain topics and asserts that he will, instead, be treating an unrelated theme. For yesterday, men of Athens, I found a spider in my bed.

Sirs, let us be clear. I don’t mean one of the small ones you barely notice. Like, those little guys where you’re like, Oh crap, good thing I noticed that before I slept with it, ha ha, and you shoo it out of the bed and don’t even really care if it sticks around in your apartment, because hey, you’re a reasonable person with a healthy respect for all of God’s creatures. Such a spider would not be worth writing about, even on the internet where space is infinite and free.

The specimen that I caught lounging between my sheets was at least two inches long. It had the skinny, disproportionately long legs of a supermodel. It had eight of them. Against my will, I saw two of its eyes looking at me. The sound that I made upon pulling back the bedcovers to do the nightly spider check that I have always described to myself as paranoid and unnecessary was a muted squeal-gasp made from a physically impossible combination of inhalation and exhalation.

You might ask: Don’t you have a cat? Where was she while this was going down? Great questions, you! All the time, through friends and such, I hear about cats that chase and eat bugs. People apparently have cats that do this stuff without even being asked. It’s wired into them or something. Physically, my cat ought to be a killing machine, what with her unusual bulk and five extra claws. She ought to have what it takes to tear a spider into bite-sized pieces and devour them on a moment’s notice. But can I make a suggestion at this point? If you’re thinking of purchasing a used cat for your home or office, don’t let love blind your business sense. Spend the extra cash and get the extended warranty. You can’t assume that the cat is equipped with all of the standard features, or that she will retain even the small amount of reluctant initiative that she displayed nine years ago when she was dropped off at your old apartment in Calgary.

The cat saw my freakout and ran for the closet, where she remained throughout the whole production of capturing the spider with a giant glass bowl and a Simon Fraser University clipboard that I will hesitate to ever use again.

Simply squishing the spider was not an option, given its size and location. Shooing it off the bed would have meant wondering, at every moment, for the rest of my tenancy in this apartment, where the horrible thing was in relation to my face. Ushering it out the window would have led to nagging concern that it had at some point found its way back in. The toilet was my only viable option.

The discovery phase was horrible. The capture and destroy phase permanently altered my brain chemistry. But worst of all, ladies and gentlemen, was the post-emergency hindsight phase, where my brain started asking a series of questions. Here are some of the most trenchant ones:

  • How long was that huge spider in my bed?
  • Did it immigrate there with family and/or friends?
  • What do they think this is, some kind of arachno-B&B?
  • Was it ever on my face?
  • Now that I think about it, is this thing on my chin in fact just an unusually bad pimple?
  • What species was it?

That last question is the worst one to ask yourself in a situation like this. Definitely don’t go online and start looking at spider photos, my brain told me.

Stop opening your computer, it said.

If your therapist was here, it continued, she would reassure you that it’s okay not to always know everything. Choosing not to learn the Latin genus and species names of the awful thing you found in your bed won’t make you a bad person.

Just update your Facebook status and read a couple of poems about something other than spiders and go to bed, my brain urged with barely controlled hysteria as I typed “large spider Vancouver” into the browser search bar.

Don’t look at the images, it begged as I looked at the images. Is there anything more self-destructive and counterproductive than the human brain? Why do we do these terrible things to ourselves? Why won’t evolution work on re-hardwiring us so that our actions will have some hope of making even a small amount of logical sense?

This morning I was hoping–no: fully expecting–to find a web reading BITCH, or possibly even HOMEWRECKER, in the corner above the bed, woven by the widow (word play! eh? eh??) of my recent guest, may he rest in peace. That was going to be the silver lining to all this. But I’ve checked that corner and all the others, and no note has been left. A disappointing conclusion to a disgusting situation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joaquin permalink
    August 28, 2011 11:53 am

    “Even in the liberated or lesbian woman there is some biologic restraint whispering: keep the birth canal clean. In judiciously witholding herself, woman protects an invisible fetus. Perhaps this is the reason for the archetypical horror (rather than socialized fear) that many otherwise bold women have of spiders and other rapidly crawling insects.” -Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae.

  2. Kate permalink*
    August 29, 2011 2:59 pm

    I don’t think it’s reasonable of her to segregate the sexes, let alone single out lesbians, when it comes to insect/arachnid fear. Across the board, most people get pretty panicky when they’ve got bugs on or near them. It seems to be a pretty human response, and it has logic behind it (insects can be poisonous, carry disease, inflict painful bites, infest skin and clothing, etc.). And to my credit, I think most men would have flipped out way worse than I did the other night when I found Arachne’s husband chillin’ under my covers. There was no time for the liberated woman to panic; she had to get that fucking thing out of her apartment…

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