Scary things and a solution to spiders.

I don’t like spiders.

Arachnids inspire a terror in me that is unparalleled by anything other than my fear of sharks (well, if this isn’t completely unsettling, I don’t know what is) and dark places I need to traverse after my brain decides that it’s been far too long since I last contemplated the possibility of ghosts and other potentially malevolent spirits and/or demons (not to mention psycho killers and maniacs). Clearly, I’m not alone—see below:

monsters

Whenever I mention that I dislike spiders (also known as eight-legged minions of Satan), or, upon seeing one in the vicinity of my person and innocently screaming at the top of my lungs: “KILL IT! KILL IT TWICE! AND THEN KILL IT AGAIN!”, however, I’m often subjected to reproachful looks and unnecessary lectures on the importance of all God’s creatures (bullshit—if we were so fond of all God’s creatures, then why are we letting some of them go extinct every. Single. Day? Huh? Huh?).

“But Bay,” someone mentions helpfully, with a spoonful of reproach and holier-than-thou-ness, “We need spiders. They eat other harmful bugs, like the mosquitoes you detest.”

Yeah, right.

Now, it is true: I do detest mosquitoes. That is because they always bite me and I’m allergic to them and erupt into massive reactions that radiate heat, discomfort and whiny-ness. And, since I’m clearly the choice option on their unknowing buffet, I am worried that I’m going to contract some hideous disease. I mean, when I am getting bit 114 percent more than the people around me, I feel like my odds are good for getting something bad from the buzzing bastards.

Mosquitoes, as far as I can tell, serve no purpose or benefit to the planet. Certainly, they pose no benefit to me, which is all I need to know. They’re a net expense. They don’t pollenate flowers, look pretty or eat other malicious creatures. They’re like the trigonometry of the insect world. We just don’t need them. So, if spiders are so philanthropic, then they need to pick up their A-game and eat more mosquitoes. Like all of them.

Hmm, this is not technically a solution to spiders. It’s more just an expression of my weenie-ness. But still, you guys. I hate them. I’m genuinely terrified of them. My heart races, my palms sweat and I’d probably knock children down to save myself from spidery situations.

True story: One night, when we were in Avignon, we were getting ready for bed (we shared hotel rooms wherever possible to save our scrilla) and Jen and I were chatting about who knows what, perched on the edges of our bed. Suddenly, I noticed Jen’s gaze slide downwards and to the right, widening at something she saw.

This is when we discovered that when it comes to arachnids, I actually have a spidey sense. I didn’t see that it was a spider, but I knew it was. I leapt off the bed (I may have flown. It’s hard to say.), emitting a sound that Jen later recounted as inhuman, the likes of which she’d never heard before.

The boys “took care” of the spider, but since I didn’t see its carcass, I couldn’t take any chances and proceeded to mummify myself tightly in my bed sheet, willing to risk suffocation while I slept, if it meant the creepy monster couldn’t touch me.

So that’s my post. Lately, all the spiders are either trying to get inside or stringing up law-of-physics-defying trip lines directly across all the paths I need to traverse (probably the same paths that are laden with ghosts, monsters and psychopaths). I have seen some shockingly large specimens of wolf spider, the hefty hairy brutes. Here’s an example of one I recently saw:

wolf spider

Just kidding. That’s a werewolf. But the similarity is [literally] frightening and my reaction to either would be pretty much the same level of freak out (the werewolf might scare me less). Is it a mere coincidence that they both have “wolf” in their name? I think not.

But seriously, they’re all putting webs up EVERYWHERE. I mean it—I don’t even understand the mechanics of how they get their webs from point A to point B. If I wasn’t repulsed, I’d be fascinated and I’d read up online to learn more. But I can’t do that, because even looking at pictures of spiders raises my blood pressure and makes me all twitchy. In the mornings, I’m all Raoul in the Phantom of the Opera, going for a jog while keeping my hand at the level of my eye. And then going all ninja-pants when I run through a web.

spiderninja

 

On taking risks.

Okay, so I’m not a big risk-taker. I guess, in retrospect, I have taken some leaps of faith, like deciding to go back to school full-time to get my MBA. In the midst of a massive global recession, no less. Okay, well, the market didn’t actually tank until my third week or so of classes, so really, it wasn’t that risky when I went in. But still. Still.

There are, however, some smallish risks (risklets?) that I take on a daily basis:

  • Despite knowing better, I continue to use Q-tips to clean my ear canals. 
  • I cut veggies (or fish, or anything requiring cutting) like a madwoman. Or so I’ve been told. Generally by people who have cut themselves seriously.
  • I use Groupons for haircuts, much to Adam’s chagrin. Those of you who know me understand the risk in this. Those of you who don’t can eagerly await a blog post on this very topic.
  • I wear yoga tights for pants. I guess that’s not so much risky business, but I am risking judgment from strangers. Or some acquaintances.
  • I jaywalk. I’ll even jaywalk in front of police, though only if I think I can disappear into the crowds before they catch me. It’s more of a calculated risk, this one.
  • I don’t always rewash my pre-washed veggies. Especially the greens. You know, the ones that say they’ve been washed nine trillion times? Or at least three times.

I know, I know: I’m INSANE. I’m practically a maverick. What do I think I am? Invincible? Well, maybe. Just a little bit.

However, just this very evening, whilst cutting (unsafely, of course) some veggies for a salad, I shook out some spinach from the bag. I even thought to myself, out loud, so I could use quotes when I blogged about it later, “I should totally wash these.”

As I put one in my mouth, I thought, “Meh, what are the odds of actually getting ecoli on my spinach?” Probably pretty high, based on some recent news, but that’s beside the point. I don’t even know what Cryptosporidium is, but it sounds pretty (I’m sure it isn’t).

In the face of this menacing peril, I laughed, because that’s what mavericks do when they take risks, grabbed a leaf, popped it in my mouth and began to munch it. This is about when I noticed something in the bag of aforementioned spinach. Upon closer inspection (said spinach is still being chewed in my mouth), I discover that “something” is, in fact, a beetle of some sort.

And then I died.

Okay, I maybe didn’t die or even faint. I did, however, spit all the spinach out of my mouth into the sink, along with the beetle, which went down the drain. I may have run the garburator. What? WHAT?! DON’T JUDGE ME FOR KILLING THE BEETLE. IT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN IN MY SALAD TO BEGIN WITH. I don’t like bugs, though more specifically I don’t like bugs with eight or more legs. When they’re in my food, I don’t like any of them.

And no, I am most definitely not reassured that the beetle would’ve at least been clean, on account of his being washed at least three times, according to the marketing on the bag.

I’ve been all twitchy ever since. I keep thinking it’s on me. Or it’s called all it’s friends and they sneaking in under the doors.

I don’t have a picture for this post. No, I did NOT take a photo of the beetle. I’m okay with that.

Spring. It’s so hot right now. And The Shower Incident.

So maybe “hot” isn’t quite the right word, but whatever! It was GORGEOUS outside today! Working from home, which, by the way, is favourite, means getting out for a lunchtime run is a bit more simple than when I’m at the office. This is because when I work from home, I wear sweatpants (which I call my “creative pants”. Jeans are “happy pants”, just for the record).

I can run and not shower and I don’t have to get all dressed up again afterwards, like I would at work. Okay, so I don’t really get all gussied up for work, but from the home office, I can just put the sweatpants back on (sweat is in the name, so it’s fine to do so sans shower). Hey, at least I wear pants when I work from home: From the sounds of it, I’m doing better on the wearing of clothes at home than some others I know. Or at least according to their purported home-working ensembles, which tend to involve degrees of partial nudity, or so they would have me believe.

Here is a thing about me:

I do not like shared showers. Never have. If there’s not a shower stall, I’m not showering. I don’t feel comfortable prancing about in my birthday suit. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I still haven’t told you about the Shower Incident. <<shudders>> I will do so below. Read on, brave souls. You’re in for a treat.

Honestly, though, I’m just not into it. I wear deodorant and shower at least once every day, so I really don’t think I reek of feet or armpits. Plus, I’d have to lug in even MORE stuff every day and life’s too short. I have yet to hear someone around me say, while quizzically sniffing the air around them, “What’s that stench?” so I think I’m doing okay.

Also, I like my shower. It’s got all my stuff. I have a prescribed order of shower-related events to which I adhere, so my bathroom is the place to be. Plus, Hermes sits on the toilet and waits until the shower’s done, then jumps into the tub to lap up the tub juice. Then he jumps out and leaves cute little paw prints on the tiles. I don’t get that at the pool, though it would be a nice touch. Pool cats. Aww!

Here, in a nutshell, since you’ve waited so patiently, is the Shower Incident:

Once upon a time, which was roughly 2 years ago, I was at Crystal Pool for my morning swim, when, whilst showering as per the pre-pool regulations—in my bathing suit, of course—before entering the pool area (this seems to be optional for many pool goers, but it’s really more of a rule than a suggestion, so COME on, people: Read the rules! And then follow them!), I turned around to find a naked woman surprisingly close to me. As you may know, I’m particular about my personal space and a bit of a prude, so you can imagine my discomfort at being in close proximity to a stranger who was naked as a jay bird not wearing any feathers, or even boxer shorts. Not even a smidgen of modesty. Shame on you, Jay Bird. Shame.

Egad! I thought, what does she think she’s doing? And then she smiled and asked me, “Would you mind getting my back?” At which point, she held out a pouf that was manufactured and vigorously used since roughly The Dawn of Time.

Here is where I calmly said, “I’m sorry, but I’m really just not comfortable with that.” and left to go for my laps. Of course. Because that’s what an adult would do who did not wish to do the thing requested of them. Because it is their prerogative to say no.

Except I didn’t. Because the first thought in my head was: “Aaaah! There’s a naked lady here, talking to me!”

The next was: “EW EW EW! I don’t want to touch her scaly old back!”

Followed by: “I really need an adult! I want to say no, but then she’ll think I’m a weirdo freak with boundary issues (which I clearly have).”

So, I said sure (and threw up in my mouth a bit) and gingerly accepted the disgusting pouf and lightly ran it on her back, letting the water from the shower hide my tears of horror while I gagged and shuddered.

You guys. Do you know what happened next? No, of course you don’t. Let me tell you. She said, “Harder.” And I died inside, after dry heaving and fainting cold on the disgusting tiles of the shower room floor.

When The Horrid Event was over, and I turned my shower to scalding to wash away my feelings and clean my soul, she said thanks and winked conspiratorially at me, saying, “It’s just so hard to reach your back!”

You know what, you guys? It is not actually that hard to do. Reaching your back, I mean. And you know what else? This lady is A FIT WOMAN. She could probably kick my arse. She can reach her own back. I was so ashamed of myself. Seriously. Who does something like this when it makes them retch and squirm? This girl, that’s who. Yeah, the girl who is technically bilingual (I’m a little rusty) and knows how to say “no” in no less than five languages, except in moments when she really needs to.

Thing is, this woman is at the pool every morning I am, same time, same channel (different lane, though). So, you know what I did to avoid this unpleasant scenario? Like the big, grown-up and independent woman I am, I changed my schedule to ensure that I wouldn’t be in the shower with her EVER EVER AGAIN.

So sad. If you’ll excuse me. I need a shower.

This will do nicely for me.