Another Arachnid Anecdote
I like my morning routine. It's precise, quiet and involves lots of coffee. Now that I am getting up so early to write for two hours before work, the caffeinated nectar of the gods has become exponentially more important. Coffee helps me think faster and move through my morning more quickly.
On Monday, I arrived at the front door to discover I was not alone in the foyer. In the space where the wall meets the ceiling was a spider who was distinctly segmented, with eight legs stubby. His carapace was a shiny dark brown and he didn't look like he was going to set a land speed record anytime soon. I dismissed the likelihood of spider incursion when I opened the front door and decided to give him a stay of execution. I didn't have enough time to go upstairs, get my hurley, kill the spider, wipe spider guts off my hurley, and then put it back upstairs.
There's a bathroom off of the foyer and through the open bathroom door, I could see a second spider. Spider #2 was more problematic. He was a smaller (but no less ugly) cousin of the big scary fecker I killed in the sink two months ago. Plus, he was moving along the wall. Moving spiders are a higher risk than stationary spiders.
The way I see it, a stationary spider has just pitched a little tent and decided to squat for awhile. A moving spider is one who has Manifest Destiny on his tiny brain. He's off to explore new lands and claim them for Spiderland and clearly, that will not do.
Unfortunately, Spider #2 was still too high up the wall for me to easily reach him. And even if I could reach him, I didn't relish the idea of crushing him under my thumb like the evil spider overlord I aspire to be. I'm not real keen on the crunching noise. Reluctantly, I knew I was going to have to let him live.
I watched him to see if he was going to move within pouncing range. He was too wise though and he even ran in a crooked line, like safety experts advise you to do in the unlikely event that someone is shooting at you. I noticed a little motion behind him and realised that a little baby version of the spiders I like was following my quarry as well. I almost had to laugh. I wanted to say “Little Bit, what do you think you're going to do?” But still, the little spider shadowed the big spider across the wall.
I made a mental note to put a hurley in the umbrella rack and went out to catch my bus. In the evening, I killed Spider #1 but Spider #2 was gone. Just between us, I've been checking around the downstairs toilet almost obsessively when I need to use it. I do not want to meet that spider when I am in a vulnerable position.
Mildly entertaining story, you say, but what does that have to do with coffee and your morning routine? Well, how good of you to ask. I was just getting to that bit. Tuesday morning, I took my cup out of the dishwasher, which had run overnight. I poured in a good bit of Nescafe Black Gold, a generous amount of sugar and a couple of ice cubes, as I do every morning. (Speed of coffee ingestion is of the essence. I don't have the time or patience to wait for it to cool down.) Then I tottered off to the let the kettle do its thing while I collected my lunch for the day. When the water was boiled, I filled up my mug and went into the study to write.
I like to savour the first couple sips of coffee, while the mug is still warm, and then jump into the writing. One delicious sip. Two delicious sips. Three delicious sips, then “What the hell is that translucent thing stuck to the side of my mug?”
A spider, who looked suspiciously like my friend Little Bit, was plastered against my mug. He looked like a cartoon character after the steamroller. I looked at him, weighing up the grossness of drinking spider particles against my need for coffee. I was about to try to get him off the side of the mug, when he slipped slowly, inexorably into the blackness like a drowning man.
My squeamishness won out and I had to get fresh coffee. I also had to check the bathroom, both for Little Bit and for Spider #2. Little Bit was alive and well. Spider #2 was nowhere to be found. The fanciful part of my imagination wants to believe that Spider #2 engineered the little spider's demise as a warning to me. Sort of the arachnid version of leaving a horse head in a mafia rival's bed. The rational part of me has collected a very valuable lesson – as bleary eyed as I am some mornings, I am checking my mug first.