i just killed the largest spider that anyone on the planet has ever seen.
now you may be thinking two things:
1.) if it really was the largest spider on the planet, why would you kill it? destroying what could very well be a miraculous scientific discovery and what not? i’m sure bill nye would have some strong words to say about that.
2.) this sounds silly coming from a girl who is planning a trip to africa, a place that actually has insects worth fearing, unlike the relatively insignificant inhabitants of a rented condo in boulder, colorado.
but seriously guys, it was like the size of my face, and yes, i still wear child size glasses because the adult size moves off my nose like a yellow tube on a slide at water world, so it was a child face size, but still, that’s huge. it may or may not have been a vicious flesh eating alien bug, but i decided to kill it just in case it actually was one of those jumping, angela-eating, eight-legged ickies.
i was minding my own business, listening to the four seasons pandora station and cleaning my messy, dirty, didn’t this girl’s mother teacher her anything? excuse of an apartment (for the record, my mother taught me all kinds of things including how to keep a tidy home. it’s just that i chose to retain only the fun things like how to fly a kite or how to gut a fish you’ve just caught from a lake or when it’s appropriate to eat chocolate (anytime after 8am, unless it’s your birthday, and then you should be having cake for breakfast)). as i headed for the bedroom, barefoot and unaware, i noticed a big black thing in the middle of my hall.
“what is that?” i thought as i examined closer.
“is it a feather?”
now that should tell you something right there. when i see a giant (size of my child size face, but in reality like 1 1/2″ length max) unknown object on my floor, my first thought is that it could be a feather. better yet, in my mind, it could be one of two types of feathers: a crafting feather that was leftover from an undoubtedly awesome hot gluing session, or an animal feather that i accidentally carried in from my morning exploring outside.
as i leaned in, i realized quickly that this was no meaningless remain from my katniss everdeen halloween costume. this was a spider. this was the spider.
i panicked. i squealed. i wasn’t sure what to do other than to back away very slowly to keep from startling the creature. should i kill it? should i try to save it with the old cup/paper trick? after a quick mental debate (you have to kill it but you should save it, but it’s so big, but you should save it! but what if it finds it’s way back in?) it was the four seasons who told me what i had to do: don’t think twice, it’s alright. so i searched high and low in my living room for the perfect weapon.
of course, i immediately found my hiking boots stored purposefully next to my front door. i always keep them there because they’re usually muddy, but also because if there’s a zombie apocalypse, i don’t want to be stuck wearing my “be the change you want to see in the world” repeated graphic TOM shoes for the rest of my life.
with one shaking hand and in one moment, it was all over. alive. then, dead. of course, i hit him/her/it again, just to be sure. when i lifted the boot from the second blow, all that was left were the shriveled remains. i exhaled. i straightened my back. i even felt so confident i felt the need to tweet immediately “i am woman, hear my roar.” guys, it was big.
as i vacuumed up the monster, i saw the guts stained to my carpet. i was immediately disgusted with myself. i had just killed an innocent creature. maybe it’s blood that makes you realize it, maybe i was just feeling guilty from my totally ignorant public announcement, but i realized that i reacted not on what i knew to be true, just assumption alone.
i have no idea what kind of spider i killed. it could have been a dangerous black widow. it could have been a harmless something else. it’s absolutely possible that this spider has a nest in my apartment, and there will be more of the same to find. it’s possible that it could have crawled into my mouth in the night (please, no) and caused me to choke/die/cry. it’s possible that it could have given me a lethal bite. it’s possible that it could have crawled back into whatever hole it came from and lived a very pleasant life with a centipede, earthworm, ladybug, boy named James and a very, very large peach. i simply decided to kill it because i’ve been taught that ALL spiders are dangerous or gross or both.
is it an inherent human reaction to dominate anything smaller and weaker than ourselves? is this really how racism happened? is this why entire indigenous people were killed off? do all bigots start out as spider killers?
i understand this is a stretch comparison. it’s not as if another human of a different race or belief was in my house and i immediately decided to beat them with a gortex boot. but i did decide to act not on what i knew to be true, but what was simply a possibility. i acted on fear and fear alone.
overall, i think i’m a pretty reasonable tree hugger. i don’t believe that a bear in yellowstone should be put down just because they attacked on animal instinct when a photographer left out bait to get “the perfect shot.” i believe that wild fires are natural and just because we’ve chosen to place our houses in beautiful places doesn’t mean that we should be immune to the natural cycle. i believe that spiders come into houses not to feast on angela-sized girls, but because we’ve covered their habitats in cement, and just like all of us, they’re simply looking for a safe place to call home.
i killed the spider with no intention of eating it or using it’s parts for tools. i killed it because i didn’t like it (see also: dances with wolves).
it may be on a relatively small scale (or humongous if we’re talking about the size of this particular spider), but our words and our actions are a piece of a giant picture. just because we’re scared doesn’t give us the right to harass or kill any part of any of it.
the sooner we learn it, the better we can become.
it starts with a spider.