Walking out of the ladies’ room at work, a coworker spotted a spider lowering itself from the ceiling. As she ducked beneath it and returned to her desk, I waited for the tiny gray arachnid to lower itself within my reach. Unable to find a piece of paper or tissue, I removed my sandals and smacked the spider at 5 feet in the air. Several coworkers shook their heads, others laughed and one applauded.
It’s not the first time that I’ve killed a spider or other crawling insects with my shoes. There was the time in graduate school class where a huge palmetto bug scurried across the auditorium floor. This caused three cohorts to quickly move their chairs. I stood, walked up a level and squished the huge winged-roach with my shoe. The professor stopped and said, “and that ladies is an example of leadership.” A few years earlier, while enjoying dinner with friends in a now-closed rustic pub, a wolf-spider jumped onto the table after we paid the check. My friend Joci tried to climb over Becky in the booth while I stood up, ripped off my sandal and pounded the spider in front of the waitress and several confused patrons. The manager hurried over and asked if there was a problem. Joci said, “Yes, you should call an exterminator. Otherwise, you’ll need to get Janet to walk around and offer her services.” The pub closed shortly thereafter citing renovations and new management.
I know that spiders eat insects and are beneficial little creatures, but when they expand their webs across pasture fences, I imagine that they’re writing my name and sending messages to their spider friends. I’ve lost count of the number of times walking woods or a barn and get smacked in the face by a web of sticky invisible thread. Arms spastically flailing, I grab at my hair to remove the web and have nightmares for a week of being chased by crawling, jumping arachnids. I’m just a little flinchy sometimes.