“I spy with my little eye…
“A spider right over your head!”
As disconcerting as this statement might sound, picture hearing it while you are in a car. A crowded car. That is moving 70 miles per hour down the highway, and being driven by a man who hates to stop for anything. Then, imagine, that it is not your head over which the spider is hanging, but over your nine-year old daughter’s head. Your daughter who is afraid of even the smallest pinprick of a dead spider that she might chance upon on a sidewalk in the great outdoors.
We all look at the spider. Except for the driver (my husband) and Grandma, who didn’t hear the I Spy statement. Fortunately for Grandma, she also missed the screech that followed. Sometimes, deafness can be a blessing.
My daughter’s friend had been the “spier” of the spider. She was sitting next to Dimples in the third row of the car, and I was sitting in front of Dimples. And, sure enough there was a spider lounging on the ceiling right over Dimples’ head. The spider was not a mere pinprick. It was a Daddy Longlegs. And as three of us stared at it, the Daddy Longlegs started tapping one of his eight long legs, like some kind of mutant Fred Astaire.
Dimples was amazingly calm. She leaned as far forward as she could with the seatbelt still connected and laughed nervously. Her friend tried to reassure her. “I don’t think it’s still alive. Its leg is probably just moving with the vibrations.”
To which the leg deliberately began to tap again, making the two girls shriek, and my husband, Cap’n Firepants, who was watching this scene unfold in the rearview mirror, asked, “Do we need to pull over?” Clearly implying that he did NOT want to have to do that.
“No,” the two girls bravely said in unison.
“I could grab it,” I said, “but if I miss it, it’s going to fall on your head.” I am the brave snake wrangler, the necessarily assertive Owner of Wonderbutt, winner of Adult Spelling Bees, and daily writer of a blog that reveals my whole life story. Spiders do not scare me.
Nine-year old girls leaping out of a car going 70 miles an hour somewhat concern me, though.
“No, that’s okay. We’re almost there, right?” I was really proud of how well Dimples was handling this.
“Yep. Almost there.” So the three of us kept a wary eye on the spider for the next longest lasting 15 minutes ever, as Dimples regaled her friend with the story of our recent snake experience, trying to keep her own mind off the doom dangling above her.
When we finally reached our destination, it was not surprising that the girls nearly trampled each other scrambling out of the car. Cap’n Firepants meandered over, and peered into the back seat.
“Yep, that’s a spider. Kind of big, too.”
Cap’n Firepants deeply dislikes spiders. They rank with rats and snakes, as far as he is concerned. But he knows that I do not like to needlessly kill things. So, instead of squishing the spider on the ceiling – which, let’s face it, would have made for a less pleasant ride home anyway – he grabbed it, and the little web of gnats surrounding it.
And mentioned, as he deposited the package on the lawn, that the web of gnats happened to be a web of spider babies. Making Daddy Longlegs a Mommy Longlegs, of course.
So, the three-rowed car that we had borrowed for the trip to make the ride a little less crowded became a two-row car on the return trek as the two girls squeezed themselves, their gear, and their shopping bags into the second row with me to avoid any runaway spider babies.
As the girls chattered away and started to sing ridiculous ditties over and over, I wondered about Mommy Longlegs, and what kind of inconveniences she would endure now that we had moved her family. Perhaps, like Charlotte of the Web, she will pass away before her brood gets the chance to drive her crazy.