The other day I was cleaning the mantle. Actually, I was taking down the Christmas decorations. Covid has made me less…timely. Why take it down today when you can take it down next month? Why write a blog post today when you can blog next year? See how it works? It affects us all differently, I guess. But I digress.
As I was saying, I was clearing the mantle, a little too aggressively as it turns out, and a large glass vase was knocked to the hearth and smashed to smithereens, thereby disturbing the spider population that lives behind the firewood pail. Naturally, they came out to protest and shake their creepy legs at me because spiders are always feeling persecuted, always playing the victim. Sure, they can drop down from out of nowhere right in front of your face, sometimes while you are driving, but drop something near them and they take it all personally. Normally, I don’t entertain that type of behavior. I just relocate them to the neighbor’s yard in hopes they’ll find a new home that’s not my home. However, we were in the middle of a nor’easter that night and it didn’t feel right, you know? I mean, sure I’ve gotten much lazier with Covid, but I’ve also gotten nicer. As proof, I offer my most recent Myers-Briggs test result, which placed me firmly in the F for Feeling range, for the first time in my life. That means I’m nice now.
Next, I thought about relocating it to the garage where it at least had a chance of surviving but I’ve already done that twice this winter during snow storms and now I’m going to have to deal with those little creepers in my kayaks next spring. If you’ve ever been out in the middle of a lake and looked down to see a fat, ugly 8-legged varmit nosing around your bare foot area you know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s nothing recreational about that. I could just kill him, I thought, rather coldly, I’ll admit, or get BigB to do it for me-he likes killing things. But then I’d lose that imagined veneer of niceness I was admiring on myself.
I sighed. I was just going to have to negotiate my way out of this. I hate negotiating with Arachnids. They are fearless and sly.
I decided on aggression. “Listen”, I said. “I can dump you out in the snow, squish you with a shoe, or we can work this out. Which is it going to be?”
It laughed and the hair on the back of my neck took note. It stopped laughing and my blood froze. Eight beady little eyes squinted up at me. “No, you listen, Karen”, it snarled back. “I’ve seen your moves. You’ll never catch me. So I can leave an egg sack in your ear tonight, involve my friends in the attic, or you can forget you saw me, how about dat?”
I really didn’t want to meet his friends in the attic and, I try not to think about this, but I think I already have an egg sac in one ear. I didn’t need a set.
Maybe aggression was the wrong tactic, I thought. Maybe I could reason with it.
“Let’s be reasonable. We can work this out. You know what we need? We need some ground rules. We need an agreement for peaceful coexistence. Can you get on board with that, friend?”
“I’m not your friend”, it snarled, “But I’m a reasonable being. What do you have in mind? And it better not include the word ‘garage’.”
God, he was scary.
Anyways, that’s how the 2021 Chicken Arachnid Armistice came to be. They get the hearth, I get everywhere else. The firewood pail must remain undisturbed at all times. If I kneel on the hearth to light a fire, I’m fair game. If I catch them anywhere near my ear they will feel the fury of 10,000 arachnophobes. It won’t be nice for them.