Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Them

Barbarella
Barbarella

Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.

-- Aung San Suu Kyi

If the morning had been anything other than unremarkable, I might have been better prepared for the terrible onslaught that was to come. As it was, however, the sky was neither clear nor cloudy, and the temperature inside was maintained at 75 degrees. I'd eaten my oatmeal, selected something caffeinated from the fridge, settled into the ergonomic chair at my desk, and slid into the quotidian business of checking e-mail and scanning headlines. While purging the night's accumulation of spam, I sensed movement in my periphery. Tearing my gaze away from the computer screen, I located a gossamer strand catching the light. One end was floating in the air, and the other appeared to be attached to the far side of a dust-covered copper sphere -- part of a small fountain that has sat inactive on my desk since the water evaporated a year ago. I watched the silky string dance in the air for a few minutes and then brushed it away with a Max Mara catalogue.

Sometime between cnn.com and the Drudge Report , I again sensed motion, this time to my right. A miniscule spider, such a light green that it appeared transparent, was traversing a credit card statement. I'm no Jain. What little guilt I occasionally feel for murdering insects, bugs, and other pests is fleeting. My weapon of choice -- a pad of paper -- was the closest thing I could grab. I set it gently atop the wispy creature and returned my attention to the words on the screen. I must have been too gentle, for a minute later I glimpsed my victim scrabbling over a stack of papers a few inches away from the pad that was supposed to have killed it. Without a second thought, I lifted the pad and struck the bug with a resounding slap. It was then that I noticed the remnant of spider that had already been under the pad. The first one hadn't survived after all. The vision of not one, but two little squash marks instilled in me a hint of trepidation, but I shook it off and retreated, yet again, to the Internet.

As a touch typist, my eyes remain on the screen while my fingers do their thing. I was updating my blog when, like a snowflake, the silhouette of another spider drifted down in front of my screen and landed squarely on the "7" key. I jerked my hands back and gaped at the invader. As I stared, momentarily paralyzed, two horrific realizations burned at the forefront of my mind with the icy heat of liquid nitrogen: 1. There are many of them; 2. They are above me.

Had he been home, I would have screamed for David. Instead, I held my breath and considered my options. I crushed the creature with a piece of paper when I saw it make a move toward the "6" key. Releasing the air from my lungs, my sigh became more and more vocal, until it reached a desperate whine. It occurred to me that, if these things were dropping onto my desk, they may very well be dropping onto me . Thus, I tore my ponytail loose and flailed wildly at my head with both hands.

After this brief and violent episode, I sat and stared at my keyboard, resisting the knowledge that the only way to gauge the severity of my predicament would be to look up. I was convinced that the moment I tilted back my head, their little leader would give the signal and my face would suddenly be covered by hundreds of bloodthirsty spiderlings. I fought hard to convince myself that the reality couldn't be as bad as the B-movie version playing in my imagination. I knew I had to look before another one fell, but my head wouldn't budge. It wasn't until one of the diminutive green devils, whose silk had caught a puff of air and floated right to left past my face, that my mind checked out and my body reacted. Like an overdose victim who'd just been jabbed in the heart with a needle full of norepi-nephrine, I jerked to a standing position and my head snapped backward.

I was relieved to see nothing but the white ceiling and the tops of the sage-colored walls. But then, after my eyes had adjusted to this new perspective, I began to distinguish them -- dozens of moving, microscopic dots -- from the shadowy, spackled texture. There were only a few on the ceiling. Most of them lined the 90-degree crevice where ceiling met wall, as if they were taking up positions in preparation for a SWAT-team-style assault. I was surrounded.

I can't remember if I screamed as I ran from my office to the closet that houses the vacuum. I must have been making some kind of noise, because I do recall the vibration in my throat and chest. Touching my ankle is painful confirmation that I dropped the vacuum on my foot after I fished it from the closet; and a dull throb in my head is a constant reminder of how many times I bumped it as I fumbled to attach the long hose and find a suitable stool to stand on.

Armed with household appliances, I scrambled around the room, jabbing every inch from corner to corner with the broomy end of the vacuum hose. I lifted the blinds and shrieked when I found more baby spiders on the window. I could feel the sweat beading on my brow from my exertions, but I could not rest. Not until I knew they were all dead. Then I saw it: a huge, shriveled exoskeleton lying on the floor at the base of the window, next to a bundled up ball of what looked like flimsy gauze.

Fragments of scenes played through my head -- all of my spider associations colliding in a hodgepodge that included bits from the cartoon movie Charlotte's Web , the horror flick Arachnophobia , and hours of Nature Channel documentaries. Finally, the pieces joined to make one solid conclusion that I could have sworn was spoken aloud to me in a British man's voice: "The mother spiders are devoured by their newly hatched spiderlings, after which the young will climb to the highest point and let out their silk, letting the air carry them away." I extended the hose in my hand as if it were a sword, and sucked up the sac and carcass.

I don't know how long I stood in the center of the room, vacuum in hand, nostrils flared, eyes wide and darting every which way. I sighed a breath of relief when I heard David at the front door. He paused at the entrance and then followed a trail of detritus that had fallen from the closet and been dragged down the hallway to my office by the vacuum's cord. David stopped at my door and looked around the room. Furniture was overturned, hoses and cords were scattered about, and my desktop was disheveled. My eyes were crazed and stuck wide open, and my hair was deranged from having been let down and slapped silly.

"Something traumatic happened while you were gone," I said, by way of explanation.

Looking me up and down, David smiled and choked back a laugh. "Let me guess," he said. "It involved the vacuum?"

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Cigarette smokers across the border take a hit

Duty-free stores help
Barbarella
Barbarella

Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.

-- Aung San Suu Kyi

If the morning had been anything other than unremarkable, I might have been better prepared for the terrible onslaught that was to come. As it was, however, the sky was neither clear nor cloudy, and the temperature inside was maintained at 75 degrees. I'd eaten my oatmeal, selected something caffeinated from the fridge, settled into the ergonomic chair at my desk, and slid into the quotidian business of checking e-mail and scanning headlines. While purging the night's accumulation of spam, I sensed movement in my periphery. Tearing my gaze away from the computer screen, I located a gossamer strand catching the light. One end was floating in the air, and the other appeared to be attached to the far side of a dust-covered copper sphere -- part of a small fountain that has sat inactive on my desk since the water evaporated a year ago. I watched the silky string dance in the air for a few minutes and then brushed it away with a Max Mara catalogue.

Sometime between cnn.com and the Drudge Report , I again sensed motion, this time to my right. A miniscule spider, such a light green that it appeared transparent, was traversing a credit card statement. I'm no Jain. What little guilt I occasionally feel for murdering insects, bugs, and other pests is fleeting. My weapon of choice -- a pad of paper -- was the closest thing I could grab. I set it gently atop the wispy creature and returned my attention to the words on the screen. I must have been too gentle, for a minute later I glimpsed my victim scrabbling over a stack of papers a few inches away from the pad that was supposed to have killed it. Without a second thought, I lifted the pad and struck the bug with a resounding slap. It was then that I noticed the remnant of spider that had already been under the pad. The first one hadn't survived after all. The vision of not one, but two little squash marks instilled in me a hint of trepidation, but I shook it off and retreated, yet again, to the Internet.

As a touch typist, my eyes remain on the screen while my fingers do their thing. I was updating my blog when, like a snowflake, the silhouette of another spider drifted down in front of my screen and landed squarely on the "7" key. I jerked my hands back and gaped at the invader. As I stared, momentarily paralyzed, two horrific realizations burned at the forefront of my mind with the icy heat of liquid nitrogen: 1. There are many of them; 2. They are above me.

Had he been home, I would have screamed for David. Instead, I held my breath and considered my options. I crushed the creature with a piece of paper when I saw it make a move toward the "6" key. Releasing the air from my lungs, my sigh became more and more vocal, until it reached a desperate whine. It occurred to me that, if these things were dropping onto my desk, they may very well be dropping onto me . Thus, I tore my ponytail loose and flailed wildly at my head with both hands.

After this brief and violent episode, I sat and stared at my keyboard, resisting the knowledge that the only way to gauge the severity of my predicament would be to look up. I was convinced that the moment I tilted back my head, their little leader would give the signal and my face would suddenly be covered by hundreds of bloodthirsty spiderlings. I fought hard to convince myself that the reality couldn't be as bad as the B-movie version playing in my imagination. I knew I had to look before another one fell, but my head wouldn't budge. It wasn't until one of the diminutive green devils, whose silk had caught a puff of air and floated right to left past my face, that my mind checked out and my body reacted. Like an overdose victim who'd just been jabbed in the heart with a needle full of norepi-nephrine, I jerked to a standing position and my head snapped backward.

I was relieved to see nothing but the white ceiling and the tops of the sage-colored walls. But then, after my eyes had adjusted to this new perspective, I began to distinguish them -- dozens of moving, microscopic dots -- from the shadowy, spackled texture. There were only a few on the ceiling. Most of them lined the 90-degree crevice where ceiling met wall, as if they were taking up positions in preparation for a SWAT-team-style assault. I was surrounded.

I can't remember if I screamed as I ran from my office to the closet that houses the vacuum. I must have been making some kind of noise, because I do recall the vibration in my throat and chest. Touching my ankle is painful confirmation that I dropped the vacuum on my foot after I fished it from the closet; and a dull throb in my head is a constant reminder of how many times I bumped it as I fumbled to attach the long hose and find a suitable stool to stand on.

Armed with household appliances, I scrambled around the room, jabbing every inch from corner to corner with the broomy end of the vacuum hose. I lifted the blinds and shrieked when I found more baby spiders on the window. I could feel the sweat beading on my brow from my exertions, but I could not rest. Not until I knew they were all dead. Then I saw it: a huge, shriveled exoskeleton lying on the floor at the base of the window, next to a bundled up ball of what looked like flimsy gauze.

Fragments of scenes played through my head -- all of my spider associations colliding in a hodgepodge that included bits from the cartoon movie Charlotte's Web , the horror flick Arachnophobia , and hours of Nature Channel documentaries. Finally, the pieces joined to make one solid conclusion that I could have sworn was spoken aloud to me in a British man's voice: "The mother spiders are devoured by their newly hatched spiderlings, after which the young will climb to the highest point and let out their silk, letting the air carry them away." I extended the hose in my hand as if it were a sword, and sucked up the sac and carcass.

I don't know how long I stood in the center of the room, vacuum in hand, nostrils flared, eyes wide and darting every which way. I sighed a breath of relief when I heard David at the front door. He paused at the entrance and then followed a trail of detritus that had fallen from the closet and been dragged down the hallway to my office by the vacuum's cord. David stopped at my door and looked around the room. Furniture was overturned, hoses and cords were scattered about, and my desktop was disheveled. My eyes were crazed and stuck wide open, and my hair was deranged from having been let down and slapped silly.

"Something traumatic happened while you were gone," I said, by way of explanation.

Looking me up and down, David smiled and choked back a laugh. "Let me guess," he said. "It involved the vacuum?"

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gordon Parks’ Batman and Robin crimebusters

The old guard doesn’t cotton to being upstaged by a pair of rookies
Next Article

Covid-19 casts a pall over San Diego political money

Barbara Bry's daughter lends $5000
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close