If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that last week brought some uncomfortable surprises to my bed in the shape of demonic arachnids.
Arachnophobes, READ NO FURTHER.
If you live in Kansas or in any of the states south of the Mason-Dixon line, then you’re probably Very Aware of the terrors capable of being wrought by the brown recluse. If you're not from one of these states, then it's probably worth mentioning that the bite of a brown recluse carries a venom that causes your flesh to rot from your body. I don't recommend googling "brown recluse bite," but if you must, consider yourself WARNED.
Every region I’ve ever lived in has this sort of boogey beast. In Virginia it was snakes. In Japan, centipedes. In Mississippi, black widows. In Washington, rain. But none have ever pursued me so well as the brown recluse.
(I was about to say none of the others have followed me into my bed, but a very chilling memory of an encounter with a poisonous centipede in Japan just refreshed itself for me….I’m suddenly unsure that it’s wise to continue writing this post….*)
(*This blog is not about wisdom.)
So. Imagine this if you will: you’re waking up after a blissful night of rest. The sun is rising outside your window, the birds are singing sweetly, the aroma of coffee floats through your door on a curling wisp of cartoon steam.
But when your Darling roles out of bed, there’s a large dark spot on the sheets just at the point where her shoulder blades might have been, which leads to the following conversation:
Darling: What is that?
Me: Turn on the light.
Darling:…I do not want to.
But when the light goes on, there’s no doubting the fact that the dark spot pressed to the bed sheet is a brown recluse spider. Adult. Squished. Horrifying.
Naturally, this led to two solid days of denial. Which is why I can now say with absolute certainty that I do NOT recommend using denial to rid your home of spiders.
DOES. NOT. WORK.
How do I know this?
Picture this: two mornings after that horrible experience, you wake to another delightful birdsong of a morning and lazily climb out of bed. You think all is well in the world until you and your Darling return to make the bed a short time later to discover something small and stick-like laying on the sheet.
Me: What is that?
Darling: It is a part of a plant.
Me: *spots another* I think it’s a spider’s leg.
Darling: O_O It is a PART of a PLANT.
This led to a very careful and fruitless inspection of the sheets, which in turn led to lifting the pillows….
And WHADDYA know? Brown recluse. Sans three legs. Squished beneath my pillow.
I’ve never considered myself to be afraid of spiders (because really? between spiders and zombies, there's a clear winner where rational, reality-based fear is concerned), but finding two full grown brown recluse complete with fiddle-playing heads in my bed has definitely tipped me toward the more hysterical side of things.
Upon finding this, the second brown recluse, we leapt from denial to aggression and went berserk on the house. I have no idea if vacuuming the ceiling and walls, setting down traps, or playing my cello menacingly at the corners were effective, but it sure made me feel better.
So, this is the point at which I realize this story doesn’t really have a comforting ending. … Sorry?