Spiders, to me, are a lot like people who enjoy politics: interesting to look at from a safe distance, but ultimately horrifying and not something I want to be close to.
Last fall, a decidedly large garden spider moved into my carport, deciding that he had zoning permission to build a web quite close to the door that I use every single day to get to work. This was objectively not a very chill thing for him to do. Even if I was not the massive coward that I am, I didn’t want this greeting every morning, but I couldn’t be too upset because garden spiders are a good breed of spider to have around. They eat all the bugs that bite and cause physical harm, the trade-off being the mental and emotional harm that seeing a spider can cause.
The obvious issue here is that this is my carport and my primary entrance to my house. It is not a garden. He should not be there, as he likely isn’t even old enough to drive.
The secondary issue is that I don’t know how to convince him that the great property values in my neighborhood aren’t an invitation for him to haunt me. It’s great that he has a similar taste as me in terms of wanting a place to live, but he never once offered to help pay the utilities, and that’s just rude.
The internet told me that because this thing that strikes so much fear into me classifies as a “helpful spider”, I should try to capture him and relocate as opposed to committing murder. As noted earlier in an understated way that I hoped wouldn’t draw too much attention, I am a huge coward. I will not attempt to relocate a helpful spider unless I am using one of those bomb defusal robots, and my wife keeps telling me that we can’t budget for that.
My first attempt at reconciling the situation was simply turning off the lights by the carport door the moment I was home. Spiders don’t care about light, but they care a great deal about eating the bugs who are attracted to light. My theory was that by keeping the area dark, I would lower the carport property value enough for the spider to move.
I wish I could say that this attempt accomplished nothing, but in truth it went far worse than that. Technically, the spider did move as a result of my attempt to dive into the darkness. He moved to a slightly different spot on the other side of the carport door, then called some cousin of his and invited him to take the original spot. My attempt to outsmart a spider immediately backfired and doubled the amount of spiders I had to deal with.
More internet research informed me that spiders, while not necessarily being attracted to light or heat in the same way as bugs, do react pretty strongly to smells. Strong smells can mess with their ability to sense the bugs that they want to feast on, so the next theory involved putting peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle and spraying areas to ward spiders away.
And spray I did. I didn’t just spray the general areas that the spiders had settled in, I coated the carport. I got as close as I could to showering the spiders themselves in this peppermint scent. By the time I was done spraying, Santa Claus himself would have told me I overdid it with the peppermint, and from what I remember, he is addicted to the stuff. But it didn’t make a difference. In fact, the calming scent of peppermint seemed to have encouraged the spiders to make themselves even more comfortable, setting up tiny spider patio furniture and really making themselves feel at home. This is not their home, it’s my home. I pay the mortgage, and I hate this entire situation.
However, my hatred does not outweigh my stupidity, and my stupidity continually told me that I have zero desire to risk making physical contact with these (totally harmless) monsters. I found myself unable to attempt to physically move or eliminate one of them myself, because eww what if I end up touching it?
I offered the possible solution of sealing that door and never using it ever again, but my wife had no interest in this idea. One morning, as I was struggling in bed with the overwhelming weight of waking up, she entered the room and said, “Okay, I killed one of the spiders. You have to take care of the other one.”
I asked her why she only killed one and not both. In her own unique loving way of communicating, she gave me an answer in the form of turning and leaving the room without saying a word. The ultimatum had been sent. I knew what I had to do.
My genius final solution? I hooked up the water hose and decided to fire away at the spider from a safe distance, thinking I could destroy the spiders home and that would be the final straw. Surely the power of a water hose can clear out a spider web, right? No. Not even close. It appears that spider webs are the only material on earth stronger than my own stupidity.
I never wanted to harm the insect eating horrors, I only wanted to destroy their homes and livelihoods. Alas, all I accomplished was waterboarding the creature and making myself feel even more guilty than if I had simply killed it from the start. Water didn’t work, and while the next logical choice would be to burn down the carport and start from scratch, I doubted that my wife would sign off on that idea.
My only option was to grab a broom so I could swing from a safe distance and do what I should have done all those weeks earlier. I ended things, sacrificing a bit of my soul as I sacrificed that bug-loving fiend. I wish there was a grand life lesson to be learned from the entire endeavor, but I’ve pondered for months and have come up with nothing.
The only thing I can figure out is that it seems my fear of my wife greatly outweighs my fear of spiders. And hey, I guess that’s what makes for a healthy marriage.