Around the World With a Vagabond

Spiders in the Night February 16, 2011

Filed under: February Doesn't Suck,Spiders in the Night — christynichols @ 12:43 pm
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Last night I dreamt about spiders.  These seem to be a common theme of my dreams when I am feeling stressed out.


These creatures are horrible and terrifying to me.  So are dolls, but I will limit this post to only one piece of scary at a time.


In last night’s dream, this spider was so big, I could see every detail on its abdomen and face.


Like this:

A few years ago I was home from London and visiting my mother in California.


One morning, my mother awoke to find the guest bedroom where I was meant to be staying in complete disarray – the lights were still on, the bed pulled away from the wall, pairs of blue jeans strewn across the floor, her vacuum cleaner laying in pieces, and her grown daughter curled up in the fetal position on the couch in the living room.


What happened?  This:


There is always a spider in her house.  She had set me up in the guest room, and I began a nightly ritual of scanning the ceiling and walls for the creepy varmints.   The ceiling had two dark spots on it – from what, I don’t know, but I knew every “normal” spot in that guest room, so that if a new spot appeared, I knew it would mean an intruder.


One night I went to bed very late after everyone else was asleep.  As I lay down in the spare bed, I scanned the ceiling for any extra spots other than the two.


One spot. . . . .two spots . . . .three spots.  . THREE!


Back flew the covers and up I shot to cross the room and flick on the light.  I KNEW it.  The third spot was a big meaty spider.


There was no way I could sleep soundly knowing there was a spider in the room. I would lie there half awake in fear that it would come creepy-crawling over my face and into my mouth in the night.


Since it was way up on the ceiling – this presented a problem.  I couldn’t easily smash it with a shoe, so I decided to get the vacuum cleaner.


Even though the guest room was directly opposite my parents’ bedroom, there was no way the noise would wake them. My step-dad’s snoring is the envy of polar bears and my mother’s earplugs means she would sleep through machine gun fire.


I lugged the vacuum and all of its parts into the guest room.  The spider smirked from the ceiling.   I had to drag and heave the guest bed away from the wall so that I could stand on the bed, hold the vacuum cleaner hose up to the eight-legged beast, and suck the sucker up.


Things did not go to plan.


When I turned on the vacuum, my hand began to shake as I held the vacuum hose up to the ceiling.  I’ve had to do this before – suck up big bugs with a vacuum, and the thunk-thunk-thunk sound their bodies make as they travel through the hose at lightning speed just gives me the heebie-jeebies.


I tried to coax myself several times to just get the damn vacuum nozzle close enough to the stubborn spider and get it over with. Just do it. Just DO it. But I just could not do it.  I dreaded, just DREADED the sound and the feel of angry spider shuddering through the vacuum hose.  And knowing that he probably wouldn’t die, but would march straight back out, plotting his vengeance, was not a comforting thought.


I abandoned the vacuum and its pieces to the guest room floor.


Plan B.


I decided to go back to the idea of smashing.


My step-dad kept his jeans in the guest bedroom closet. He is a tall man, and his jeans were heavy duty.  I thought that I could use the jeans as a swatter because they would give me a safe enough distance between the end where I held the jeans, and the other end that did the spider-smashing.


All I would need is one, swift, hard swing on target and then no more spider.


I decided to do a few practice runs, so I carried a pair of my step-dad’s jeans into the living room. I chose a spot on the carpet, reeled the jeans back in my hand like a whip, and let them fly!






I tried again . . . this time with better results.  I practiced a few more times, swatting my step-dad’s jeans at the carpet in my mother’s living room at 2am trying to improve my aim.


When I felt more confident, I headed back down the hall to confront the enemy.


There he was.  Watching me.  Right above my bed.


My heart was pounding.  (I wish I was dramatizing this, even just a little, but I really am this much of a scaredy-cat).


I took aim with the jeans.  I had one shot. I was going to squash the chunky spider with one heavy blow of denim.  I pulled back my arm, eyed the arachnid, and then . . .




I think I actually screamed as I slapped.


And . …… . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. . I missed!!!


Oh. No.


The spider was only blown off the ceiling from the force of the jeans.  It floated to the bed, scrambled to the floor and hastily disappeared somewhere amongst the chaos of bed sheets and vacuum parts.


I had no idea where it had gone, but I was taking no chances. The parents had slept right through the entire ordeal and so, without sympathy or rescue, I headed to the living room to spend the rest of my night on the couch.