Last Saturday was an exceptional day.
My parents had driven up from Colorado, a miracle in and of itself, considering the world-wide pandemic that we have going on.
We were thrilled for the visit, but they had arrived with a mission.
To help me plant the three barren flower beds in my yard.
During stay-at-home orders, they had created a small English garden in their backyard
and were going to bring a little of that magic to my humble yard.
We ventured out to a nearby nursery, masked, looking for flowers and herbs.
We had all we needed in terms of roses and butterfly bushes,
but decided that we needed some cute ground cover for the flower bed in the front yard…
maybe some creeping thyme…
a version of the herb that blossoms with tiny lavender flowers and you know…creeps…
covering the ground.
The nursery only had one plant, so we headed to Home Depot to see if they had more.
There was no creeping thyme to be found. But we did find four creeping myrtle plants.
Equally purple. Equally creeping. Equally adorable.
As we moved up to stand on the red social-distancing line near the cash register,
both my mom and I were holding two plants each.
I noticed that my bangs were falling over my sunglasses.
Except for the fact the I don’t have bangs as they have grown out during the pandemic.
It took me all of 3 seconds to realize that what was slipping down over my sunglasses
was not my own hair,
but 2 spindly light brown spider legs.
In a moment of panic, I screamed, “Spider!”
I, simultaneously, threw both plants, my sunglasses, and my right hoop earring down to the ground.
My shriek of horror unnerved the folks in the Home Depot.
The Home Depot lady came over to me and said, “What happened? Was it a spider?”
This question made me think that this was not a first-time spider incident.
Maybe Home Depot had an arachnid issue in general,
If so, they need to address it.
Because spiders don’t bring out the best in people.
I was standing, legs askance, arms flung wide from my body, neck thrust out,
searching the ground for the offending party.
“A spider was on my head.”
My mom moved far away from me. Not even for social distancing purposes.
The Home Depot lady began to search the ground with me.
Mom edged back even further.
I glanced down at my upper body just in time to see the light brown spider with long spindly legs, emerge from under my armpit.
It began to crawl across my chest.
Sweet Jesus, take me now.
I lost my mind.
I lunged forward in a leap resembling a half-gainer, flinging my body up and outward,
and let loose with an ear-piercing, “Aaaaahhhh-eee!”
The spider took flight. Mom took another several steps back.
On high alert, I cased the ground.
And my upper thighs.
The teenage boy at the register was dying laughing.
I believe he was on the spider’s side.
The concerned Home Depot lady, no longer socially distanced,
swept her hands downward across my shoulders and back, declaring, “It’s not on you.”
It seemed like she had done a lot of spider checks in her years.
My mom, clutching her creeping myrtle plants, had triple-social distanced at this point,
no longer wanting to be involved.
After a crucial search yielded no spider sightings, I calmly reached down to the ground, put my hoop earring back in my ear and placed my sunglasses back on my head.
Then I picked up my creeping myrtle plants.
The Home Depot lady declared, “I don’t like spiders.”
Mom and I paid at the register, ignoring the snickers of the teenager helping us,
and began walking out to the car where Dad was waiting.
Then we got the giggles.
Mom said, “I’ve never seen you throw down something that fast.”
Well. She had never seen me with a spider in my hair before. My spider reflexes are stellar.
We were near hysterical by the time we slid into our seats and told Dad what had went down.
I said, “Mom, I am still crazy itchy!”
She said, “Me, too.” The whole 5-minute car ride home, we were laughing,
brushing our hands over our shoulders and legs,
assuring ourselves that our itching was psychosomatic.
Except that when Mom got out of the car at my house,
THE LIGHT BROWN SPINDLY LEGGED SPIDER WAS SITTING ON HER HEADREST.
Apparently, when I flung him the second time into the Home Depot ether, he had landed on Mom.
She should have edged out further.
The spider had ridden all the way home with us in the car. On my mom’s neck.
I unleashed a banshee-like scream next to my dad’s head.
The sheer force of it hunched his shoulders forward.
He called out all the names of my siblings before he landed on mine.
“Susanna! Stop screaming.”
This is the thing.
When a spider has crawled on you twice and then taken up residence on your mom’s shoulder for a 2-mile drive?
That is completely scream-worthy.
Dad proceeded to try and end the spider with a magazine.
He only got a couple legs.
This is the most determined, wily arachnid I have ever encountered.
We. Still. Don’t. Know. Where. It. Is.
We googled spider leg loss and discovered that they can easily live without a couple legs.
For all we know, he could be making his way back home with Mom and Dad,
plotting his spindly-legged revenge.
So…all this to say.
Stay safe and healthy,people.
And wrap yourself in a roll of mosquito netting next time you head out to the Home Depot.