When I'm startled, apparently I sound like a chihuahua yelping in pain. How do I know that, you ask? I have an unimpeachable witness: my mom. I was sitting on my bed yesterday afternoon talking to her on the phone, with Charlie snoozing contentedly next to me. My upper arm felt funny, as though somebody was tickling it. Still chatting, I looked down at my arm and Holy Mother of God, the biggest spider I've ever seen was crawling up my arm! I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say it looked like an extra from Arachnophobia. I didn't stop to study it carefully, but I think it might have been a wolf spider. Christ on a biscuit.
The reason I didn't have time to study it is because I was too busy flinging it off me, shrieking, dropping the phone, leaping five feet straight up from a sitting position, and falling on the floor, gibbering in a panic. From far, far away, I heard someone calling my name, and I thought the SPIDER WAS LURING ME TO IT. Finally, I realized my phone was on the bed and still on. I grabbed it and heard my mom yelling "What happened to Charlie? I heard him yelping!"
I was too scared to be embarrassed to admit it was me who made that noise. I told her what happened, and she asked whether I could still see the spider. I peered over at the bed and saw him crawling along the edge of the mattress. He was coming for me! I scooped up Charlie, who was awake now and puzzled about my hollering, and shooed him into the living room. Then I raced back into the bedroom while my mom was telling me to just squish the spider with a kleenex. I said "Mom, you don't understand! He's so big he'd fight back. Besides, if I squish him, he'll crunch!" I picked up a People magazine and swatted ineffectually at him. He paused and chuckled, and then scurried behind the bed.
Well, that was it: No way was I ever sleeping in that bed again. I told my mom I'd talk to her later, and then I paced around the living room, wondering how long spiders live. Suddenly, I had the bright idea of sucking the evil thing up into my vacuum cleaner. (A pity I don't use my cleaning tools to, you know, actually clean more often, but they get quite a workout in home defense.) I hauled my Bissell into the bedroom and quickly set up the tool attachment. I inched the bed back from the wall, switched on the vacuum, jumped on top of the bed, and began sweeping the attachment wildly back and forth along the floor behind the bed. I couldn't see the spider anywhere, however.
Just as well. It didn't occur to me until later that if I had sucked the spider up, he would have been trapped inside the canister alive and really pissed. I don't know how I'd have managed to empty the canister without him attacking me. I shut the bedroom door, just in case the spider was still in there somewhere.
Kevin got home about an hour later, and even though I used very descriptive words and gestures to explain how huge the spider was, I don't think he believed me. I even mentioned Arachnophobia twice to make sure he understood! Despite that warning, he went into the bedroom while I cowered on the couch. I heard him yell "Holy crap!" followed by some muffled bangs and thwacks. I tiptoed down the hall and saw him going into the bathroom, holding a wad of kleenex at arm's length and looking extremely pale. The toilet flushed, and he came out. All he would say was "I'll never think you're exaggerating about spider size again."