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Epistulae Ciceronis
A Perfectly Squiffy Jag


21.11.07 Wednesday
01:03 pm - Wick. Previous Entry Share Next Entry
A few weeks ago a spider showed up on my monitor. I don't like spiders, but he seemed small and harmless so I let him be. A few minutes later I found him on my keyboard - as I was typing. Later on, while on a conference call, he crawled up onto the speaker phone. Very peculiar.

Over the next few days I grew fond of this spider. Most spiders are stationary and just hang out on their web acting creepy. This spider is nomadic and curious; he's constantly walking around checking out what's on my desk. I guess he's probably just hunting for food, but it seems inquisitive.

One day, he jumped from the top of my monitor to the top of a bottle of scotch that I keep on my desk. He's a jumping spider! It was really amazing to watch. I guess I knew some spiders can jump but it was really exciting to see it. Once he learned how to jump he started exploring the entire office - his world just got larger.

Then he disappeared. I was really worried that one of my cats had eaten him or, worse, I had accidentally crushed him. I've never felt concerned about crushing bugs, but this was different. The idea that he had been killed really upset me. But then he showed up again, on my keyboard, as though he's always been there.

A few days ago I went to the bathroom and was washing my hands when, in the mirror, I noticed him on my collar. It was both endearing and frightening. For the first time he made me nervous. I began to slowly take off my shirt, but he started crawling toward my neck. I panicked and took my shirt off quickly and in the process he fell to the ground. I felt terrible! So I held out a tissue which he crawled up on and I brought him back to my office. For a few minutes he watched me carefully and would get defensive anytime I moved - I think I really scared him. I was afraid I'd ruined things with my new friend.

After half an hour he seemed to warm up to me again, though, and came back to the keyboard where he spend the better part of the afternoon. Later on Shinji (my cat) came and lay across my arms (which makes typing really hard!) and the spider tried to crawl up onto him - although he seemed to have trouble navigating the maze of fur, so I'm not sure if he succeeded.

On Friday, I went to shut the door and noticed a different (bigger) spider caught in the doorway. His leg had been crushed, but he was still alive. Normally I'd have just crushed him, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I picked him up and moved him to the floor. He limped off. On another occassion I saw an earwig on the banister and flicked it without thinking; I smashed half of it and the other half was writhing. I killed him so he would stop suffering. I felt really terrible.

Katie doesn't get it. She think he looks creepy. I guess he does. He has these furry white pedipalps which I think look like a beard, but I suppose are pretty daunting.

As an aside, I think the spiders we kept running into in Guatemala were a variety of Nephila (known as "golden silk orb-weavers"). The variety found in Central America are, apparently, only mildly poisonous but fairly painful due to their size.

{int i; i=23; i++}

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glitterus [21.11.07::09:58]
This is my favorite spider...

Oh hell, I like them all. I am desperately seeking a video of an egg sac hatching with wave upon wave of spiders coming out... because I saw it once and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my short life.
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glitterus [21.11.07::10:02]
Wow this guy not only shares my love of spiders, he also looks extremely intelligent.
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tyrven [21.11.07::10:34]
Ha! That totally reminds me of where I was raised. That field could have been a block away from my parent's house and that guy could have been one of my neighbors or cousins.

You know, in that case I'd have just smashed it. It's not that I don't respect what he's doing, but black widows make my skin crawl. I don't know how many times my parents rushed me to the hospital to have spider bites checked out to make sure they weren't from a black widow.
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tyrven [21.11.07::10:46]
Christ. I've never really spent any time on YouTube. I just spent thirty minutes watching videos of spiders, spiders vs. spiders, spiders vs. centipedes, spiders vs. girls - and WTF is this Fear Factor craziness? This chick ATE two large spiders!?
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silvergrrl [26.11.07::08:41]
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tyrven [21.11.07::10:23]
Huntsman spiders creep me out. I've never seen one, but I've heard stories.

An egg sac hatched on our back deck last spring and Katie and I both tried to photograph it with the macro lens, but the depth of field was too tight and most of the spiders ended up being really blurry. It was unfortunate because you're right - it's totally amazing and beautiful. And they're so cute when they're babies!
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amatol [24.11.07::05:41]
ack I saw that once, though it was a wolf spider... I wasn't amazed, but then it was on my bed pillow (& I was told they were poisonus.. I think they aren't really). Out in nature I think I might have been fascinated, I remember seeing a bunch of babies with their little parachute webs and that was cool.
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tyrven [24.11.07::05:03]
Under your pillow? That would traumatize me. Really, my fear of spiders is pretty unfounded; outside of a number of ultimately harmless bites when I was a kid, I've never had one really invade my space - maybe they'll hang out on the wall, maybe I accidentally walk through their web, but my pillow? I'd check under my pillow every night after that.
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amatol [25.11.07::08:09]
not under, on top of, so it was easy to spot and I wasn't in it!! Though I wouldn't sleep in that bed that night though even after washing all the sheets and vacumming everywhere to make sure there were no little lost spiders. My spider semi-horror story does however involve what was most likely a black widow biting my arm in my sleep, it had nested in this crack in the windowsill which was over my bed (for some reason the house I lived in in Highschool had an infestation, it was to the point that when my mother called an exterminator they refused to do anything as they don't die from chemicals.) Still I never actually saw it and other than a huge golf ball like lump on my arm that I was told looked like the right type of bite, I have no real proof and it never creeped me out beyond moving my bed. What really creeps me out are things that swarm and luckily only one spider does that and I am not going anywhere near it!!
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karinkarinkarin [21.11.07::10:54]
did you name the spider?

the spider that lived in my window at my parents' house was named winston.

I can't bring myself to squish spiders, despite how much they scare me. anytime I find one in my apartment, I capture it with a glass and a piece of paper and transport it outside.

I'm sure that people walking by on the street outside have thought that I was crazy, running down the stoop with a glass and then dumping whatever's in the cup out and then running back into the apartment building. oh well.
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karinkarinkarin [21.11.07::10:57]
also, I really like that this entry is tagged with 'friends'. :)
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tyrven [21.11.07::11:26]
I told Donya about it today, and she named it "Wick". Before that, I was calling it "Spider friend". I have a tendency not to give names to things.
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silvergrrl [26.11.07::08:43]
The spider that hangs out underneath one of the stairway lights in my apartment building was named Fred by my boyfriend. I pointed out that since it's frickin' HUGE that it's probably a lady spider and she's since been renamed Winnifred, because said boyfriend couldn't get used to Frida.

...Spider season makes us all a little weird.
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lormagins [22.11.07::02:34]
I hate spiders. Because I have serious arachnaphobia. While I know it's irrational, I attribute my insane fear of them to having a fairly vivid imagination and reading field guides to poisonous spiders of north america that were available in my parents household when I was a small kid.

These guys freak me the fuck out. I first heard about them from Andy's tales of his time in Kuwait. They don't have venom, they shoot out an anaesthetic so the prey (usually camels) can't feel that its flesh is being eaten by the spider. CREEPY.
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tyrven [24.11.07::04:56]
Oh, man - camel spiders totally freak me out. Ugh. They're not actually spiders, though, right? Nonetheless.
(Anonymous) [22.11.07::02:52]
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tyrven [24.11.07::04:56]
I took a couple of him when he discovered my bottle of scotch, but I haven't processed them yet.
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cobalt999 [22.11.07::05:48]
What a curious critter. I had plenty of encounters with spiders of all kinds while living in South Florida, including jumping spiders, but our relationships were usually adversarial. The whole lot was doomed to automatic death owing to wolf spiders and black widows; killing anything eight-legged became habit. Given their persistence in even the most sterile settings, chore might be a more appropriate description. I don't miss the subtropics.
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tyrven [24.11.07::04:58]
That was what I hated the most about our central America travels. Aren't wolf spiders harmless? Just super big and creepy? I don't know if I'd have the guts to get close enough to kill one. I get really nervous around spiders.
(Anonymous) [22.11.07::07:30]
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tyrven [24.11.07::04:59]
Ha! That's awesome.
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anosako [22.11.07::07:51]
I have a healthy fear and sense of respect towards spiders most of the time. They tend to catch me off-guard, more than anything. But I let them be, if they're not scuttling in my direction with a force. However, my sisters will scream in a panic, asking me to kill them. It breaks my heart [they are FANTASTIC at taking care of flies for crying out loud!] -I had to collect 10 different ones for a high school zoology class and that was pretty traumatic.

One night in September, October I had noticed a rather large spider in Brian's closet but of course thought nothing of it. It roamed the dvd case for a bit then went back into the closet.Then Brian noticed its size. It was HUGE. He kept trying to kill it all night [he has a horrible case of arachnophobia] and couldn't sleep. His closet was then cleaned out in the course of two days. I'm jealous that the spider was able to make him do his chores.

Does this mean I have to grow four more appendages to make him do my bidding? Geez.
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tyrven [24.11.07::05:00]
I think you should grow four more appendages regardless. How useful would that be?
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anosako [24.11.07::05:05]
This would entail that I would have more responsibility, can cut my production time in more than half time, and therefore have to think more about what those appendages would be up to. I don't think I want to be the next step in PC evolution.

I'm happy working at my 75% rate, thankyouverymuch.

the other 25% is still sleeping in bed :)
(Anonymous) [03.04.08::11:06]
What a great post! What a great experience!