Since a traumatic event I experienced on July 22, I’ve felt a bizarre tingle in my fingertips, vision that’s extremely acute, and a tactile stickiness on my feet and hands. I’ve had an urge to climb the side of buildings, leap from tall towers, and save damsels in distress.
OK, those are all lies. But I was pestered by a minor itch for 24 hours after poking my hand into a brood of just-birthed spiders (of undetermined species) on Monday of last week. It was likely my imagination rather than any sort of physical trauma. The baby spiders (spiderlings) were exceedingly tiny, and it’s hard to see how one could have had the wherewithal to bite or sting me.
The incident happened when I took some comp time midday Monday to mow half my lawn, which the excessive heat the previous week had kept me from cutting. The grass was high, rain was forecast, and I had to mow the damn thing.
Needing to get back to work ASAP, I went to grab the push-mower where we keep it under an overhang between the house and the garage. I didn’t take the time to look before thrusting my right hand into the nest of hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny spiderlings. But feeling the soft, insinuating web, I immediately jerked my hand away. Then, before knocking the web away with a broom, I ran and got my iPhone to memorialize the incident, getting as close as possible to maximize the focus. (If the spiders had been larger, I’d surely have been more hesitant about getting that near.)
Pictures taken, I opened fire with the leaf blower to make sure none of the spiderlings or their momma remained on the mower handle. I did feel a twinge of guilt about that, as I do whenever I wipe away a spider web near the house (which have been appearing a lot lately). But separating and safely removing the brood of spiderlings was a task well above my homeowner pay grade, not to mention, as I may have mentioned before, I HAD TO MOW THE DAMN LAWN.
A friend on social media suggested I should have annihilated the spider nest with Raid, but I really try to avoid going pesticide defcon unless as a last resort. As for any surviving spider pups eventually growing up into big, scary spiders, then gaining entry to the house and seeking painful revenge, I really wish I hadn’t just created that image in my mind.
That creepy prospect now will join the chamber of backyard horrors that occasionally feature in my dreams, along with hyper-aggressive yellow-jacket wasps emerging from ground nests, giant swarms of honeybees appearing 20 feet from our front door, gray rat snakes slithering out of nowhere, and razor-sharp nettles and thorn bushes impaling my skin.
Living in southern Arizona for a year in my mid-20s, I really thought that was an unusually dangerous place to be outdoors. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widows, cholla cacti, etc. But now I’m not so sure that was any more daunting than what I face on a day-to-day basis in my backyard in rural southeast Ohio.
Now if I could just get rid of this octuple vision I’ve been having…