I am in the minority about spiders in the house. Most people, I think, kill all spiders on sight. But I try to live in peace with spiders. Unlike yellowjackets or cockroaches, spiders have a place in the world. That place is outside, or up in the rafters of a barn, and preferably not inside my house. But if they do come in, they are welcome to stay if they follow a few simple rules.
- The spider must be no larger than a quarter (preferably, no larger than a nickel) with all its creepy bitey arms outstretched.
- The spider, if it is a web-builder, must create and maintain a web at ceiling level. Corners are best. Corners near lights are ideal, so the spider can eat the little bugs that fly in and buzz around the light.
- If it is a wolf spider, it must FFFFF STAY THE HELL OFF OF ME. Nothing makes me scream and do the Spider Dance like a damn nickel-sized wolf spider running across me on the couch.
The Tub Spider this morning broke all the rules. I first noticed Tub Spider when it was behaving properly - up in the corner of the bathroom ceiling, not too large, chilling out. It seems paradoxical to approve of a spider in the corner of the bathroom ceiling, considering one is often naked in there and the spider could snap and leap upon you at any moment, but think about it: you've got all your weapons at hand. If you're in the shower, the water protects you. If not, you've got the makings of a protective Toilet Paper Mitt at hand. And if all else fails and it does go all rabid-dog on you and you panic, there's something you can squirt at it from the cabinet under the sink. Bathroom spiders are safe spiders.
But this morning the Bathroom Spider had molted, grown to the maximum permissible size of a quarter, and had moved house to spin a web in the tub. No sir.
It should be obvious that I don't like to kill things, even large uppity spiders. But I consider myself to be acting as the Sword of Darwin. Nature is red in tooth and venomous-fang. Creatures that are evolutionarily unsuited to where they end up get killed. If I kill every spider that migrates from the ceiling corners to the bathtub, eventually over many spider generations I will help create a less-than-quarter-sized species that ONLY lives in the corners of the ceilings. They will eat gnats and mosquitos, thus allowing me - and YOU! - to sleep better at night. I am doing a service for the world.
So I calmly grabbed a dustpan, dispatched the spider, made a small toilet paper glove, and threw it away. I didn't scream even once.
Now, if I can just keep it together when I have to crawl under the house and turn the swamp cooler water line back on...