To hell with Charlotte

One of the best things about moving to the Frozen North — you know, Chicago? — is that the variety and quantity of bugs are far fewer as compared to the Southwest. I do admit getting a small amount of joy out of explaining how precisely to avoid scorpions in New Mexico:

Me: And then! You have to check inside your shoes.

Slightly horrified friend: They get in the shoes?

Me: Yes! And also they climb on the ceiling so you have to look in your bed.

Slightly horrified friend: …

Me: … Because they fall. On your face!

Slightly horrified friend: And people actually live in these places?

Me: It’s not so bad! Unless you live by an open field. Let me just tell you about the time there was one in the bathtub…

Just making it clear that I’m grateful that I can yuk it up about horrible bitey tiny monsters, rather than live with them.


I’m really not good with spiders. Perhaps it all harkens back to that time when I was in Arizona as a child. I stood in a brown dirt parking lot, wearing brown knockoff Birkenstocks, with my suntanned brown little foot. RIGHT NEXT TO A BIG BROWN TARANTULA.

When P and I first moved into our house, the garage had some spiders on the ceiling. Big spiders. I didn’t want to kill them, because what did they ever do to me? They weren’t inside or anything, caressing my face with their hairy pedipalps. But then there were a lot more of them. It was a big brown spider convention.

So I did what any other reasonable person would do. I stopped parking in the garage. It took P a few days to catch on — I cleverly lured him into parking, see — until one day he caught me in the driveway. Let’s just say there was a spider massacre that night.

Since then, the spiders were plotting. Mabeline, the World’s Most Expensive Cat, and her mean sister Amelie, were no help at all. I think they might have been cracking the windows at night to let the spiders in.

On Saturday night, I sat down at my desk to pretend to work. I saw a teensy, teensy spider floating down behind my laptop. I smashed it. Later, I saw one floating in front of my face. I smashed it. Two seconds later, another one started wandering across my keyboard.

“P,” I said. “Get in here. I killed this little spider and then it was somehow on my keyboard and…”

You are probably quicker on the uptake than I am.

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” he said. Then, more quietly, a little more urgently, he said, “On the other hand, get out of here. Now.”

I ran down the hall, shouting behind me for him to bring my phone and my Kindle. Then I asked what happened. Priorities.

Turns out, there were baby spiders ALL OVER MY CEILING. Think about that. Above my head. Spiders. Floating around. Landing on my scalp and making my brain their lunch. All these years, I was worried about scorpions and then some Charlotte wannabe comes in and tries to make my office her incubator. Well, to hell with her. We had ourselves another spider massacre, my friends.

Later my sister texted and asked if the spider curse she had the gypsy lady put on me had come true yet. I sure hope she was kidding.

5 Responses to “To hell with Charlotte”

  1. Donna says on :

    Checking my ceiling right now….

    Yeah, I do like that our bugs die every year and start fresh in the spring, never really getting truly big.

  2. Eliza says on :

    Donna, that’s a great point. They don’t have time to beef up. I’ll remember that, the next time I find a wad of baby spiders in my hair.

  3. Erica says on :

    I am itching. Just…itching. And trying to control my gag reflex.

    I think the only solution is for you to move. Or call Orkin. Or both.

    Still itching.

  4. CarrieP says on :

    I don’t think I’ve ever in my life heard a more fantastic phrase than “caressing my face with their hairy pedipalps”

    Thank you for that. Thank you very much.

  5. Eliza says on :

    Erica, the itching stops after a few hours. Or days.

    Carrie, I kind of talk about pedipalps a lot! My cat’s front legs look like pedipalps, so they’ve been on my mind.

Leave a Reply