automobilius arachnus

You may recall that the Pacific Northwest becomes inundated with gigantic, large-abdomened spiders during September and October.  You can’t walk between two trees without getting webbed or having an acorn-sized spider land on your head.  Luckily, by Halloween most of them are dead or hibernating or doing whatever it is spiders do during the winter.

Except one.

(dun dun dunnn)

I ran a couple errands today during lunch. When I returned to work, I backed into my usual space and locked my doors before getting out, like I always do.

I opened my door and saw a huge spider swinging towards my face, George of the Jungle-style.

I hauled the door closed and watched as this spider swung back and forth in the breeze, legs flailing.  I had broken its web when I parked my car.  It was suspended from a four-foot thread attached to the branches overhead.  The wind was blowing so much that the spider’s path was unpredictable, but if I kept my door open for too long, that spider would probably come whizzing in and plop down on my lap.  This was no regular large-bottomed seasonal arachnid, either – this guy was the Stone Cold Steve Austin of the spider family, the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, possibly even the Sylvester Stallone of spiders (though not quite the Arnold Schwarzenegger). The door had to remain closed at all costs.

So. Spider holding me hostage in my car.  No problem.  There were many options – climb over the gearshift and get out the passenger door, find something to kill the Stallone Spider, move the car to a different parking spot, or call 911 or the Terminator for help.

I tried to time him as he swung around outside, wondering if I could open the door fast enough to hit him, or if I could just blow on him and make him land safely on the side of my car.

Cautiously I opened my door again, forgetting I had locked the car.  HONK HONK HONK.  Alarm went off.  I slammed the door again and tried a combination of moves involving the panic button and starting my car until something worked and the alarm shut off.  I was sure the folks at the office across the street were probably wondering what the deal was with this girl sitting in her car for five minutes, staring at something and occasionally setting her car alarm off.

The spider continued to swing around outside.  He had stopped flailing and was now hanging there with all of his legs spread, as if he was pretending he was there on purpose.  “What?  You never seen an upside-down single-strand web before? What’re you gonna do about it?”

The wind died down a little and I searched the back of my car for a weapon.  I have so much rubbish in my backseat, I thought I’d be able to come up with something, but all I really had were stray papers and my purchases.

I found a bit of cardstock and cracked my door open again.  The spider bounced along with the breeze.  I flung the paper at him and watched as it fluttered straight to the ground.  Okay.  Plan B.

I closed the door again as the wind picked up.  By now I was no longer afraid of what bystanders might think of me – I was terrified of this spider.  It could get in my car, it could get on me, or it could just hover outside my window for the rest of time.  Time for drastic action.  I took the fat, sturdy folder of car paperwork out of my glovebox and held it out, ready to whack this spider across the street on his next pass, like Harry Potter did to that pixie in that one part of “Chamber of Secrets.”

Instead the wind died again.  I opened the door cautiously.  The spider bobbed gently near the back door.  Holding the folder like a shield, I scrambled out of the car and slammed the door.  I retrieved my purse from the passenger side and scuttled back into the office.

My legs were shaking for another ten minutes.

And when I left work at the end of the day, in the dark, I could see a long silvery strand of web fastened to the side of my car.

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5 thoughts on “automobilius arachnus

    • This is true, but climbing from the driver’s seat into other seats is a bit like trying to climb out of a tank. Not that I’ve been in many tanks, but the point is it’s challenging and sometimes painful. Also, two of those doors were up against the spider-filled hedges.

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