If you can’t picture what being single feels like, imagine you’re afraid of spiders, you’re home alone and a spider shows and you are the only one available to kill it. Or as I would refer to it, Thursday.
I was sitting on my couch doing a crossword and watching a TV show of questionable virtues, and this episode was particularly action packed — meth lab explosions, nuclear weapons, cocaine flying through the air, bodies piling up, in a word everything that is why I watch the show. After most episodes I feel cooler, a little bit tougher for having spent time with special ops guys on covert missions in exotic parts of the world.
But then this monster showed up. And guys, it’s the biggest freaking spider I’ve ever had to witness up close. It’s certainly the biggest I’ve realized I had to kill. Because you go through stages of figuring out what to do next.
- Stage one: Panicking. In which I leapt over my sofa to get farther out of its reach.
- Stage two: Bargaining. Do I call someone? No, it would take them too long to get here and I have to keep watching it to see where it goes. I have to kill it.
- Stage three: Weapons Assessment. I have a bottle of spray poison that seems to only stun and irritate them, often causing them to go into hiding. This was out. The vacuum was in the closet the spider was guarding. Thankfully the broom and dustpan were out. Weapon selected.
- Stage four: Strategizing. I knew that if I hit it with the broom I would stun it, it would drop and then it would start moving for real and carpeting is nice and cushiony, harder to kill something on a soft surface (I remember this from last year when I had to kill one crawling toward me on my bed at 1 am. Another time).
- Stage five: Killing. I hit it hard with the dustpan attached to the broom. The dustpan came off, I had barely winged the villain. I go in with the broom. Knock it down, of course. And then it does the most terrifying thing possible. It runs at me. RUNS. You know in your nightmares when you’re being chased by the most tenacious, undeterable evil ever? Yes. But I hacked away at it and spread its remains over a foot of carpet so that it would have a hard time rebuilding itself.
- Stage six: Recovery. I had to try and start breathing normally and let the shaking abate. I also called friends, just to assure myself that there were humans in the world not currently plagued by spiders. I took a walk outside to ease the claustrophobia, I forced myself back to the scene of intense violence and terror and pressed play on the remote. I also vacuumed up the corpse.
- Stage seven: Acceptance. There are other spiders in this apartment. I am not alone. It’s just how it goes. It’s not ideal, but it’s life. I am never going to be on good terms with spiders, I may always jump when a picture of one is on a computer screen or in a magazine, but to date I haven’t lost a battle with a spider.
Like any crap opportunity I’ve had the pleasure of enduring, spider killing has its rewards. This time the reward is in knowing I can do it. Even when that part of me that’s terrified is screaming “there’s no way you can kill it”, I did it anyway. (Don’t get me wrong, had there been a qualified adult present I would have had them do it. I’m not ashamed to ask for a grown-up when I can.)
And finding out you can do something that you knew you couldn’t do is almost exhilarating. It’s terrifying and exhausting and empowering. Or it will be tomorrow after I’ve stopped checking every surface every five seconds for my victim’s friends and families members seeking revenge.