There’s a tarantula living in my minivan. I live in New Jersey where they live only as pets in aquariums or at the zoo. No it is not my pet. I have an intense dislike of all spiders. When I find one in my way I get rid of it. I’m aware that they eat insects and are good for the environment, but they’re not good for my peace of mind. Besides, insects do not live in abundance in my house or van. I know some type of arachnid has taken up residence inside my vehicle because every morning when I get in there are a few silken threads draped across the dashboard.
One year there was a large spider living behind my side view mirror. It had built an intricate web going from under the mirror to the door handle. No matter how many times I brushed it away it was always there the next morning. Eventually I gave up and left the web in place. That was a bad decision! One day as I cruised along the highway with the windows down I happened to glance over at the mirror. My stomach lurched as I saw, holding tight with all eight legs, a huge spider flapping in the wind. Always a fast thinker, I rolled up the window and drove on, screaming inside. When I got to work, I gingerly got out and shut the door with my foot in order to keep as much distance between the monster and myself. Upon entering the building I looked at two of my co-workers with wild eyes and screamed, “Oh my God there’s a spider on my van!” They looked at me for a moment, taking in my wide-eyed panic. One of them calmly grabbed a broom and the three of us went out to do battle with the creature. The arrogant bugger was still there, clinging to the center of its web. Raising the broom, my co-worker swiped away the spider, rolled her eyes at me, and marched back inside. The following spring a new web appeared and Monster Junior took up where his parent left off. As long as all I see is the web I can live with that.
I’ll return now to the current resident inside my van. One day when I got into my van there it was a mini jumping tarantula on the dashboard. As I was trying not to spill the coffee I was holding, my response time was somewhat delayed and just as I was ready to squish it with a napkin it jumped into the vent. Now I’m afraid to turn on the fan, what if it gets blown out at me? Probably I’ll wait until after my husband drives it so the creepy thing can blow out at him. That’s one of the privileges of having a husband.
Recently my friend posted on a social networking site that she has a spider living in her car so she’ll have to burn it. Nearly everyone responded with a bug in the car story. I guess that the occasional creepy-crawly in the vehicle is one of those unifying things that have no prejudices. I’m not sure why we’re so freaked out about insects and arachnids in our living spaces, but it’s one of the great equalizers in the world.