The Spider Dance

I had to have the lawn mower guy come out today. He’s an older man who I know who repairs a few lawn mowers so that he has something to do with himself since he’s retired. He says it keeps his wife at home. He headed for the back yard where I usually keep the mower. I stopped him and pointed to the machine off in a patch of woods, next to the side yard, lodged against a tree. He stared at it for a moment, taking in its position on a slight down hill slope, one front wheel kind of in a hole, one rear wheel slightly up in the air, front end shoving a smallish tree into an acute angle. When I told him that it was also out of gas he quit looking at it and began examining me with interest. I began to flush just a bit. “What were you doing?” He asked. Keeping my face absolutely stoic I said, “Mowing the picnic area.” “Nooo,”he persisted, “When you drove it into a tree, what were you doing?” “The spider dance,” I replied, “And I did NOT drive it into that tree. It did that all on its own.” The lawn mower man is a nice fella and other than grinning hugely and emitting a few quiet chuckles he said nothing further, at least not to me. He just set about doing what needed to be done for the mower.
 I didn’t explain to him that as I was driving around between the trees my face had contacted a gigantic spider web. And then another one. I could suddenly see yet a third, occupied by an enormous spider! Down here they call them banana spiders. They have yellow striped legs and get as big as tarantulas. Anyway, I hadn’t really been paying attention to my driving since encountering the first web, but rather flailing my arms around trying to remove web residue and possible spiders from my person. When I saw the giant spider directly in my path I jerked the wheel to the side and dived off in the opposite direction. For some reason the kill switch under the seat of the mower didn’t engage when I abandoned it, so while I was running from the woods into the house ripping off my shirt and screaming, windmilling my arms the entire way, it merrily drove it’s self into a tree. I could hear it out there running as I showered. (no spiders were found on my actual person) I decided it would run out of gas soon. It took nearly 45 minutes.
 It isn’t the first time that spiders have caused me trouble. Once I opened the dryer to put some clothes in and came face to face with a gigantic black-and-hairy creature the size of a beefsteak tomato! I flung the clothes all over the kitchen, (that’s where my washer is, it’s an old house) screamed (I think I believe that the sonic vibrations cause the spiders to run away) and slammed the door to the dryer. I didn’t want the damn thing to get out. It had probably climbed in through the dryer vent. Maybe it would go back the same way. Unfortunately while I was simultaneously flinging laundry and slamming dryer doors I was also running away as fast as my legs would carry me. Apparently a person’s brain cannot manage quite that much activity at once. I fell, crashing into the kitchen chairs and knocking over the table. All the commotion attracted the attention of my youngest son who still lived at home at the time. He dealt with the spider and righted the furniture while I gathered the scattered laundry. At the end he fixed me with a solemn stare and said, “I don’t think this is how a grown up is supposed to act.”
 The policeman I met in Winnfield LA would probably agree with him. I met him one morning while driving to work. My commute to work is quite long (125 miles or there abouts) but I only drive it once in a weeks’ time. On this particular day I passed a crew cutting brush on the side of the road. As I passed them I thought I saw a large spider fly in my window. I convinced myself that the sighting was a hallucination, induced by my phobic tendencies. After all, spiders don’t fly! And that slight crawling sensation on the side of my head? More hallucination, I was sure. About twenty miles down the road I felt something crawling on the back of my calf (it was past Valentine’s Day, I was wearing shorts). I began swerving severely as I slapped at whatever it was. Looking down I saw a massive spider coming over the edge of the seat at me. I careened into the nearest parking lot and leapt from the car. After a few seconds of doing my windmilling, screaming version of the spider dance, I began trying to figure out what I was going to do about getting myself back into the car and on to work. The spider, showing great foresight, had vanished for the moment, but I was not fooled. I spied a backscratcher between the car’s seats (as to just WHY it was there, well that’s a story for another day). I began gingerly poking about with my new weapon, prepared to break and run should the need arise. About that time my hair touched the back of my arm and I had another outburst of slapping and windmilling. Then I saw the cop, standing behind me. “May I ask what you’re doing?” he asked, mildly. I suddenly realized that I had pulled up in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office and this poor man had been sent out here to deal with what I’m sure appeared to be a crazy crack-headed woman. I started to explain about the spider. It didn’t make me sound a lot saner. He listened to my story and got that same silly, lip twitching look that I’ve learned to recognize. In that same calm, mild voice he said, “Can I borrow your stick?”, reaching out and removing the back scratcher from my hand. Good move, I thought, disarm the nut-job. Moving slowly and carefully so’s not to alarm me, I reckon, he drew on his gloves and felt around under the seat of my car. He poked some of the detritus in the floor boards with the back scratcher. “It seems to have gone away ma’am,” he informed me. Feeling a bit silly I got back in the car and drove to a nearby Dollar Store where I purchased enough ‘spider spray’ to fumigate a small city.
 The cop recognizes my car and has waved at me a couple of times as I drive thru Winnfield. I keep a can of spider spay in the car. In case of emergency.The dryer has a new screen on it’s vent. The lawn mower had a bent blade, easily fixed and I have adopted a new system of driving it with one hand and waving a large rake before me with the other. It’s not doing much for my reputation as a reasonably sane individual, but I think that’s kinda shot anyway. Hopefully it will be a long time before I am forced to again do “The Spider Dance”.



  1. ittymac said,

    August 13, 2013 at 1:04 am

    I’m still laughing. And sympathizing. 😱

  2. August 18, 2013 at 3:13 am


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