For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a jumpy person. As a kid, I never wanted to watch scary movies at sleepovers because I would be the only one actually unable to sleep. Years went on and as I learned about probability, my fears shifted significantly. The thought of getting skin suited—while terrifying—is significantly less likely than, say, getting trapped in an elevator for a few hours.
Now that I’m an adult and pretty set as to who I am as a person, I think I can say that there are two things that truly scare me: sharks and spiders. I know a few people who would say that commitment should be on that list as well, but that’s a different column for a different time. Either way, sharks are things that I don’t really have to worry about too much because, aside from Lake Michigan, I’m completely land locked. Spiders are a different story.
It started off relatively normal. E and I moved into our apartment on a rainy day at the end of April. The space had just been cleaned, and despite it being a ground-level unit, it was appealing. More space for less rent? Sign me up. The movers tracked in some stray dirt and leaves, but after sweeping the place up, we were ship shape. That is, until that night when I noticed a spider crawling on the wall near our front window. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I picked up one of my recently unpacked flip flops and slapped that motherfucker against the wall. The stain is still there as a reminder.
The weeks went on and summer came. One downside of our apartment is that it doesn’t have air conditioning, and since we’re on the ground floor, we can’t put in window AC units. Instead, we just open up the windows whenever possible, including our big front window that doesn’t have a screen on it. Does this allow for bugs and every once in a while a feral cat to enter and exit our living space freely? Sure. But it also allows for air flow, which is something that our apartment doesn’t have without it.
That takes me to this week. On Sunday night, I was lounging and rewatching the most recent season of Game of Thrones, when I noticed there was a dense web in the corner of my living room. I walked over and as I got closer, I realized that there were two spiders who had conjoined webs to form one super web. Since I was halfway through a bottle of wine, I decided it would be a problem for Future Charlie to handle. I walked away across the apartment and into our bathroom, where I saw the same thing in the corner and next to the sink. Weird, I thought, but that’s something Future Charlie can handle.
On Wednesday, I had just gotten back from a run and went to go shower. I pulled off my headphones, stripped down to my compression shorts, and mosied on over to the bathroom. I turned the water on cold (because, y’know, we don’t have air conditioning) and jumped on in to let the refreshing drops rain down upon me. As I reached over to pick up my 3-in-1 bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, I jumped back. There were two spiders of varying sizes and colors building their webs across all of our various bottles of shower goo. I’ve used a few different adjectives to describe showers before—dirty, refreshing, and necessary, to name a few—but this was the first one I would ever describe as “delicate.”
The final straw was last night. You see, I sleep with a giant fan blowing across my bed to keep from getting too hot at night. Typically, I’ll leave it on medium strength, but for some reason this night I left it on high. The first few times I slept with the fan, I caught myself waking up in the middle of the night. It’s so strong that I felt it blowing the hairs of my legs, which made me think something was crawling on me. I imagine meth addicts experience similar sensations.
Well on this night, Wednesday, July 12th, 2017, I had my fan up extra high. I don’t know why I did, maybe I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to turn it down an extra notch. Whatever the cause, I was sleeping soundly when I awoke to what I thought was the fan blowing my arm hairs. Instinctively, I slapped my right forearm, and between the fingers of my left hand I felt a twitch.
“No,” I said, “No fucking way.”
I clicked the home button on my phone and held the light up to my hand and sure enough, there was a spider between those two fingers.
The way I see it, there are two options: we can move, or we can fight this. Option one is out of the question because we signed a year-long lease and you just can’t beat our front patio. So that means we’re going to fight them, and I’m pulling out all the stops. I’m talking brooms. I’m talking flip flops. I’m talking one of those lighters that has the really long end that you light bon fires with. I’d even be willing to shell out a couple extra bills to hire a mercenary to come in and wipe them all out in one fell swoop.
This is war, and war is hell. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll make it out of this (although I probably will because they’re just spiders and I’m a human man), but if I do, I’ll make damn sure to appreciate every day we have in a spider-free apartment. Do yourself a favor and take some time to appreciate your clear bathroom corners and webless bedrooms. Some day, they may not be there. .