Saturday, November 04, 2006

The new landlord

Throughout my childhood, there were certain phrases spoken by my father that came across more as a mantra than anything else. My sisters and I heard these so often as kids that it’s hard to imagine a world where those phrases don’t exist. I heard them so much in fact, that after years of repetition and exposure, no matter how absurd they sounded, they became a kind of truth. While I imagine a fair amount of those sayings were not uncommon to the rest of the world, there is one that comes to mind that probably didn’t make the rounds.

“Spiders are our friends.” That’s what my father brought us up to believe. When either of us small, innocent little children (and we were always innocent. I don’t think a single one of us ever did a bad thing in our entire lives) shrieked in horror over a creeping, crawling, hairy abdomened beast of a spider, my father was always right there to tell us not to worry, spiders are our friends. I can’t recall a single instance where this ever calmed one of us down.

The next series of events was duplicated many times in our house. The child would continue to cry, my dad would continue to explain the many blessed benefits of arachnids, and my mother would come in with a tissue and dispatch the little critter. It never ended well for our “friends.”

I can recall the first horrific moment in my life when I uttered that same phrase to a friend of mine in the exact same intonation as my father. I can only speak for myself, but the majority of my 20’s have been spent doing two things: Trying desperately not to turn into my parents and turning into my parents. I’m not sure what the aversion is. My parents are good people and I get along with them very well, yet for some reason, it remains one of my main goals not to turn into them. I’m failing miserably.

All life goals aside, I seem to have, willingly or not, subscribed to the theory that spiders are indeed our friends. I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of that mantra growing up, or some other complex series of events that I can neither recall or explain, but I’m against killing of any kind, hated bug or human being. Killing is killing and I don’t like it, nor do I practice it. So with that in mind, I have a tendency to be a lot more lenient with the various insects and or arachnids that occupy the same living space as I do. I prefer it if the critters stay outside though, and I will do whatever necessary to remove the bugs from the inside and place them outside if such a need may arise.

The other day, I saw this.Trust me, in person it's much more impressive.

At first I thought it was pretty impressive. Decent sized web, must have taken awhile to put it together. I can respect that sort of craftsmanship. Nature often does impressive things. I wonder about strange things sometimes, so when I saw that, I wondered what the spider that made it looked like. Then I wondered how many bugs had been caught in that web. Then I wondered if I could ever get caught in that web. Then I wondered if a leaf ever got caught in the web and when the spider came out to check on it, he was disappointed because he wasn’t a vegetarian. Then I made some careful mental notes about the exact location of the web because my ability to walk through spider webs is exceeded only by my fear of walking into a spider web when the spider itself is directly in the middle and would consequently end up on my face. You see, while I consider the spider to be my friend, I still do not like it to crawl on my face. I don’t like it to crawl anywhere on my person, but my least favorite place to have it crawl is on my face. If given a pop quiz that said, “Where would you least like to have a spider crawl on your person? A) Your shoe. B) Your Hand C) Your face. Without hesitation, I would answer C.

As luck would have it, one of my previous question was answered last night when I came home. It was late. It was dark. I was alone.

I’d rather not get into the exact details of what happened next, but suffice to say, my wallet will be quite a bit lighter on the first of every month from here on out and this guy’s wallet will be substantially heavier. (Let’s not get into where his wallet will be, or the fact that it’s probably not legal for him to just show up and start charging me money, it’s a bit of a moot point considering the level of creepy that he exudes. And if you’re thinking you could take him, you might be right, but the two behind you in the shadows… good luck with them.)You can call me VinnieI’m sorry dad, but you were wrong. Spiders are not our friends; they are our landlords.


cadiz12 said...

anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine. however, i don't believe they ought to be crawling all over my kitchen table, so have no hesitation in dispatching them with a tissue. maybe that's hypocritical, but it needs to be done. i'm sure that's how my dad would handle it, and since i'm turning into my parents, i have no other choice.

Radioactive Jam said...

At least your parents aren't spiders, right?

Ironic coincidence: last night driving home from work, I spotted a smallish spider in my car. Okay first, I said "smallish" but I think we can all agree when it comes to spiders, size doesn't matter. Second, I wanted to let you know I had to rewrite most of the first sentence of this paragraph. The original went like this: "Last night I spotted a smallish spider in my car, driving home from work. You see the problem with this, yes? And I didn't want to "lose focus" and spin out into some irrelevant sidebar about how, exactly, could a so-called smallish spider see over the steering wheel *and* reach the pedals. Next would come some heated debate about valid size ranges for "smallish" etc. And to be honest, I just didn't want to go there.

So to speak. And now I've completely lost the tenuous - dare I say silken - thread of thought that had been in my mind when I started this comment. I'm not surprised by this; spiders have that kind of effect on me. Friends or not, I don't like 'em. Never have, never will. And that's exactly why the first "Alien" movie still creeps me out to this day; that *&!!@##! creature (in its pre-bipedal, egg-dwelling form) looks like just another "smallish" spider to me.

Thanks for triggering such a fine set of thoughts, Jon. Seriously; I was this close to getting my mind locked onto boring, work-related things. No fear of that happening now.

Jon said...

Cadiz: Generally, anything that eats the flying insects is a friend of mine too, but after a certain point, they go from being friendly to extortion.

Jam: No, my parents are not spiders, but if they were, then I probably would be too, in which case I think I could type a lot faster… and I’d be able to spin webs… that would be pretty cool…

I guess my biggest problem with your comment is this: Why are you thinking about work on a Sunday??? That spells trouble.

omar said...

I'm a little bit sorry I read this post. Or more accurately, I'm sorry that I saw that second picture.

Anonymous said...

there's actually this story concerning prophet muhammad that affirms that "spiders are our friends".

there was once the prophet was migrating to Madina in the dead of the night, to escape the...well, the bad guys whose name I can't remember and he was running away with his friend whose name I also can't remember. So they enter this cave, trying to hide from all those people running after them. And in this cave there were two other creatures : spiders and geckoes.

no kidding.

the spiders were told of the prophet's dilemma and vowed to help him and hide him in their cave (landlord tendencies, see how they refer to it as "their" cave) but the geckoes couldn't keep their mouths shut and cricked and squeaked and made noises that attracted the bad guys attention to the cave.

and this is what lead my aunt on my mother's side to have frequent friday night (that being a holy night for us muslims) excursions to beat every single gecko she sees to death with a broom stick. This was apparently to one-up our chances of gaining the big ticket to the pearly gates.

so...look out for them geckoes. the treacherous little rascals.

* I fear I might have blasphemed my way through this entire comment, but my memory of childhood stories aren't very accurate. and sometimes, old people just come up with things to make you believe in them.

cadiz12 said...

friggin geckoes. good thing we don't have them in these parts. unless you count that geico advertising gecko. and he just looks slimy.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, I suppose it is a LARGE spider, but that just means it will eat bigger bugs. Or maybe you if you are not careful... Now if we had an outside cat, I could see the whole problem taking care of itself.

Maybe you should write about another maxim: "A cruise is like being in prison with a chance of drowning..."