There’s a long-standing urban myth that when you kill a spider, its family and friends will come and get you in some kind of knightly quest to avenge their brother’s death. Now, I am never one to tempt fate, so in spite of my fear of the nippy little buggers I’ve never squashed one. I always try to face my fear, get a cup, and release the little guy out into the wilds of my windowsill – which is one flight up – but how it gets down is its own concern. That’s what it gets for coming into my house.
Yesterday, two odd things happened. I wrote a blog post about the ups and downs of being single, and one of the definite downs was how nobody could save you from spiders. Then, I collected my wee fella from nursery, and as I stuck my head into the tots room I could hear the childcare assistants chiming out Incy Wincy Spider.
I should have known.
I should have recognised the signs.
Two spider references in one day? There’s one in your house, One Single Mama.
And yes. There was. The little bastard scurried across my carpet at around about 10pm last night, just when I had settled down on the sofa with a glass of red wine and – wait for it – phoned a guy I’ve been chatting to for a few nights after a foray into the world of Tinder.
I don’t think he’ll be getting back in touch with me after the scream I let out. My eight-legged nemesis might have just cost me a date.
Out he scurried, from under the armchair, heading straight across the carpet to the toybox by the television. My voice did this horrible weird thing where I was still trying to sound “cool” for the boy (man?) on the phone but near enough had my legs round my shoulders to stay away from the carpet, which was now Spiderland.
After a couple of deep breaths I eventually admitted to the poor bloke – who was mid-story – that I was freaking out because of the absolutelyfuckingmassivegigantic spider staring at me from the middle of my carpet.
He laughed at me.
He said, “What’s it going to do, come and get you?” Perhaps. Or lay spider eggs and have babies. Or crawl into my mouth while I’m sleeping. Or bring its pals round for an empty because it thinks it can get away with anything if I don’t show it who’s boss immediately. “Well, go and get a cup. Put me on speakerphone.”
I duly did. One of my first conversations with this guy and I’m edging round the living room, held hostage by a bloody arachnid.
It was then that I squealed. I heard my potential date ask what was happening. “It’s moving,” I replied, realising how mental I sounded.
“Well, what size is it? I know you said it was big, but give me a size here.”
Rather than just giving him an answer, I asked, “What, including the legs?”
“Yes. Include the legs.”
“About an inch. But it’s quite far away. Maybe it’s bigger up close.”
“They always are,” he chuckled.
Oh, yes. Fantastic. Well done. I found myself ranting that it was all-very-well-and-good him sitting there in his cosy spider-free house with his cosy spider-free carpet and his cosy spider-free bed and laughing at me in my hour of need because I was freaking out and what if it goes for the baby and all he could do was make dirty jokes about things being bigger up close, and how this is why I need a boyfriend.
And then I realised that my rant had made me feel quite gallus and I’d already managed to get close enough to put the cup over the spider.
I was saved.
I didn’t need a boyfriend after all.
I opened the kitchen window wide and tapped the spider out onto the windowsill and I was a very proud single mama. I had faced my fears and protected my brood.
Until I tried to close the kitchen window and couldn’t get the handle to turn. I swore at the window repeatedly. “I’ll ring you back,” I meekly told my possible-Tinder-date. I spent half an hour opening and closing the window, wiggling the handle in just the right way to try to get the locks to catch. I battered it. I gently placed it. I wiggled it one way and the next, knowing that this window had always been a bit dodgy but that there was definitely a knack and I just needed to remember what it was.
The spider sat on the windowsill, looking at me. Laughing, probably.
“Don’t you dare come back into this house,” I snarled.
My elation turned to anger and then, as is always the case, little whimpery sobs. By 10.45pm I was phoning my Strong Male Friend who lives around the corner. I’m not proud of the conversation that followed, but the good thing about the Strong Male Friend is that I’ve had this exact conversation about a few things since my split. The window is pretty much interchangeable with anything else that’s ever been broken or needed sorted in my house recently.
“I can’t close the window.”
“I can’t close the window. The kitchen window. It won’t close.”
“Why won’t this fucking window just fucking CLOSE?” I sobbed.
“Do you want me to come round and close it?”
“NO. I need to do this by myself. I don’t need you.”
“But you can’t close the window.”
“I FUCKING KNOW THAT.” He left me to sob some more for a moment, then asked again.
“Do you want me to come round?”
Of course, in typical Strong Male Friend style, he came around and closed the window on the first attempt.
Still, I got rid of the spider.