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Suburban Island

Along Came a Spider
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003, 9:18 a.m.

QUESTION: Do I have a spider on me?

WHAT I LEARNED: Miss Muffet was no fool.

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After watching just the beginning of Eight Legged Freaks this weekend, I found my dislike of spiders greatly reinforced.

Spiders = Scary.

Two night ago my daughter told me there was a big black spider in my office. Unlike the brave katiedoyle who recently did battle with a mouse, I took the easy way out. I stood in one spot, looked half-hearted around at the walls, and then said why don't you turn off the computer and go to bed. The computer off, the lights out, the door closed - the problem solved.

Or so I thought.

The next day, as I was happily typing away in my office, I look down at my arm because something felt a little tickly. Insert big scream here. A big black spider was crawling on my arm. Not that I had too long to examine it. This is because I immediately leapt from my seat and began forcefully brushing myself off and violently shaking out my clothes, all while turning in circles on tiptoe. No spider crawling on me is going to remain there for long – even if I do have to look ridiculous to attain a no-spider-on-me-now status.

I made my son get off the phone by calling his name in a loud hysterical voice until he arrived downstairs to verify that there was truly no spider on me. Is there a spider on me? Is there a spider in my hair? Is there a spider on my back? It's amazing how many questions you can ask while pirouetting about like a crazed ballerina.

But once I was sure that the spider wasn't quietly clinging to me, just waiting to reappear and scare the bejabers out of me again, there was one big question left - where was the spider?


We looked on the floor. We looked on the walls. We looked on the ceiling. We looked on the chairs. We even looked on the desk as best we could, given the surfeit of papers scattered across it. No spider. I believe it may be possible that I flung it into hyperspace with all that brushing and jumping and shaking out of clothing. It may still be orbiting the planet as we speak.

Or, more likely, it may be silently bidding its time in the dark recesses of my study. Last night I had an overwhelming urge to clean off my desk. No spider was found and as a bonus, my desk isn't covered with a layer of papers, dust drifts, and circular patterns that look like crop circles but are really just marks for coke cans and coffee cups.

My desk is clean but who knows if my office is spider free. Next time I see that spider it’s a paper cup and a free ride to the front garden for it. Come on spider – make my day.

Today’s Suburban Strategy: Look Ma, no hands...

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