WE HAVE a new pet, and I am not happy about it. Although somewhat furry, it isn’t cuddly, snuggly or cute. It doesn’t follow commands and will never fetch the paper, or my slippers, or even its own toy. That’s because it’s a spider—a horrible, scary, hideous and outrageously large monster that set up housekeeping on our side deck, within steps of our hot tub, about one month ago and is apparently quite content to live out its life there, spinning intricate webs which it eats every night and ultimately having hideous little spider babies that will grow up to torment other poor souls like me.
Called a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia to its friends), Wikipedia describes it this way:
“Yellow garden spiders are large, orb-weaving arachnids, meaning they spin a circular web. Most spiders have two claws on each foot, but orb weavers have an additional claw to help them spin their complex webs. In females, the top side of the abdomen is black with symmetrical patches of bright yellow.” It goes on to say that its bite is not poisonous, having the same impact of a bee sting and posing no risk to humans except if you are allergic.
Okay, two things: First of all, yuck, yech and gross. Second, I happen to be allergic to spiders and have visited the ER three times for treatment of bites. While my breathing is not impacted and thus my life is not in danger, whatever part of me gets bitten swells to the size of an average telephone pole within minutes and stays that way until whatever magic drug the doc shoots into me takes effect.
Naturally, being of sound mind I have arachnophobia. And yes, I have sought treatment for it and it did not work—why would it? It consisted of tapping my forehead with my fingers a dozen times while saying aloud, “Nice spider, cute spider, I love spiders.” (For that I paid $400, so I am not only afraid of spiders but morons.)
So no, I am not at all amused by “Spidey,” as my husband calls it. Mitch loves Spidey and finds it interesting. He gets up each morning and goes out to say hello to it. Or actually her, since she matches the description. Personally I think if you are going to name her you should go for something like Spidette, or even Charlotte, as in Charlotte’s Web, the famous children’s book I could never read, for obvious reasons.
My dear friend Jay came for dinner a few nights ago and fell in love with Spidey. Jay is an outdoors enthusiast, and that’s putting it mildly. Anyway, she took a lot of pictures of the thing. Despite her trying to get me over my fear I remain disgusted and look forward to winter. Hopefully it will be severe and Spidey will freeze or be blown away in a punishing Nor’easter.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.