One of my favorite memories from 2011 has to do with a hitchhiking spider and the joy of screaming together with a good friend…
“I’m going to the store. Want to join me?” I texted my neighbor, craving company, especially on a Thursday night’s trip to Wal-mart. She answered affirmatively and we headed out in my hubby’s car, a small, reliable Pontiac we’ve had since Cole was a baby.
After browsing and picking up what we needed, we checked out and headed back home. It was just after 9 pm and the summer sun had set. July in Florida is generally stormy in the afternoon and sticky-humid at night, so I had the air going in the dark gray interior. As I drove into our subdivision, I glanced toward Heather as she shared what was happening with her hubby’s job.
In the car’s darkness my eye caught movement. Not good movement. The bad kind, quick and furtive and scurrying with eight legs and a shiny fat thorax that was much too big and round – wait, is that a ball with legs? – and really shouldn’t be in my car and oh my goodness did I mention I saw movement with lots of legs?
My worst nightmare unfolded in slow motion. As Heather unknowingly continued talking my eyes zeroed in on the very large (I’m not exaggerating – it was B-I-G) spider crawling across the windshield of the car.
My heart took a heavy downward dive when I realized the unwelcome creature crawled across the dashboard. Not on the outside, on the INSIDE.
Thankfully I was able to remain calm, peaceful words flowing out of my mouth like a gentle bubbling brook.
“Oh my freaking goodness, I am going to have a heart attack!”
“What! A heart attack? What’s wrong?” Heather looked at me in alarm, her green eyes bugged out. (Pun intended.)
I can’t remember what I said or how I articulated the spider’s presence, but in .0452 seconds we were both shrieking. If you’d been a fly on the glass in my car that night (which would have been a bad idea because the spider would’ve eaten you), this was what you would’ve heard:
SCREAM. SHRIEK. MORE SCREAMS. SCREAM, SHRIEK. SCREAM.
I drove erratically down our road, narrowly missing mailboxes and trees and parked cars. Get home, get home!
Spiders don’t jump, right? Not spiders with thick, bulbous bodies, tarantula-like with fangs and hairy legs and heavy enough they could do Biggest Loser – Arachnid Edition’s weigh-in on the Publix produce scale.
More movement! No! No! No! (WHY so many legs?)
SHRIEK. SCREAM. Colorful words flew around the small car interior, undoubtedly from the frightened spider, who was probably wondering if he’d jumped into a stunt driver’s car and wishing he’d stayed in the tree he’d been dangling nonchalantly from.
I made it into the drive way with the Pontiac parked crookedly. The car was still running as I jumped out, leaving the driver’s side door open. In my arachnid angst I totally forgot that the car remains locked until the ignition is shut off. Heather screamed from the inside of the locked car as I ran around our driveway, screaming like a headless chicken.
I finally realized Heather couldn’t get out so I ran back to the driver’s side and hit the unlock button, releasing her from the spider tomb of terror. She flew out and we jumped around the still-running car, shrieking and eventually giggling uncontrollably.
Our combined screaming brought out all our kids, who were supposed to be in bed but who ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ over the large black spider pacing back and forth on the dashboard. Proof that the spider was extra-large? My spider skeptic hubby took a good look and decided our shop vacuum was the best way to get the 8-legged creature out of our car.
Amazingly, even after being sucked up with the shop vac and dumped out on the road, the spider was still alive. (What are they feeding arachnids these days?)
The moral of the story? Arachnid angst is best shared in pairs, though I don’t recommend sharing it in a dark car at night. It’s also never nice to lock your friend in a car with a spider.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. ~ Proverbs 17:17