overhaul / undertow

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

nature takes its course

Spider update:

It is with great regret that I report the unfortunate passing of The Spider. I felt kinda crappy doing it. I mean, she was HUUUUGE. A very impressive black widow [how did she get in here, all the way up to my 2nd-storey office? amazing], fully grown, her abdomen, touched with red, about the size of the fist joint of my pinkie finger; the tips of her legs extending, attenuated, to sharp black needles. Growing up in the West San Fernando Valley, where these things abound, and in my backyard (which was very big--it's a long story why it's so big, for another time) which was full of perfectly cozy places for widows to take up residence--big piles of wood, loads of brick and stone (dad is a bricklayer and stone mason, quite the artisan and perfectionist) and a stand of eucalyptus, constantly shedding bark and leaves, dating back to the 20's when the city was founded (it was called Owensmouth then, to lure new citizens, as though it was some lush river land--when it was, in truth, a dry and dusty place)--well, at any rate, dad taught me early on how to recognize their webs (thick, strong, tight and snapping, in corners as opposed to across open spaces, and constructed with no rhyme or reason, unlike the usual glass-shatter-pattern of most spiderwebs). And how to recognize their profile even if they were too immature to have gone black yet. And to know that when they DO go black you better be careful.

But still I felt bad. Such an amazing display of nature's intelligent design, so sublime and terrifying--how can soemthing so small inspire such primal responses on the part of humans? I got at least two pleas for "clemency for the spider," both from men. My [female] roommate wished me luck in killing it. I think women have a much more visceral, kill-that-fucking-thing-now-for-chrissakes response to spiders because of evolution. A spider that big could kill an infant. Think about it. Primeval female humanoids prolly were smacking the things dead all the time, in an effort to safeguard their young.

Poor thing, though. Too bad she couldn't be free and in a safe place for her--like in my old backyard, where we'd often leave them be in they were out of my, and the dogs', reach.

My friend Kat collects 'em live (she's also getting her degree in forensic science--now there's a woman) and transplants them to safe places where they can live out their lives unmolested and fulfill their formidable role in the food chain, reducing the bug population. Which I heartily appreciate.

Too bad I couldn't can her in a jar and take her to Kat, but it was just too awkward a situation for me to do that.

Death has now visited my offices.



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