I’ve tried to think of a clever way to segway into this story, like telling a joke about lemons, or the time I naired my lip when I was 16 the night before school pictures and I ended up looking like Captain Red Beard. But none of that makes any sense, so I’m just going to jump into the middle of this thing.
My friend Jeanetta and I went back to our cabin Saturday afternoon during the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference. We were participating in the handmade craft bizarre, and Jeanetta was gathering up her lovely aprons, pins and hair bows, among other things.
Don’t worry, I didn’t hand make anything, I just signed copies of my book. No one lost fingerprints, or got superglued to a homemade acorn frame (true story).
As I went to get my books, I moved the box and my suitcase and tiny spiders rushed out from underneath.
I should remind all you gals that this is Arkansas, the hottest hot spot for all things spidery. This is not a critique on the lovely establishment that hosted our conference. The bottom line is: spiders happen, especially in the woods, especially in hot weather, especially to me.
It took a moment to process what was happening. You know those movie scenes where the lead is in a dangerous situation, and you’re yelling at the screen, “RUN STUPID RUN” and they don’t run, they just dope around like idiots? Staring? Asking idiotic questions only the soon-to-be-dead ask, like, “What the?”
I moved in closer, and lifted up the suit case.
Thousands of spiders exploded out from underneath it.
Fine, maybe not thousands. But hundreds, definitely hundreds.
I bolted into the air like a 150 pound wet cat, screaming a garbled mix of words that sounded like, “Spiders my leg in my clothes I want mommy sweet Jesus save me.”
“What? What is it?” Jeanetta crossed the room and in one short second she grasped the situation.
“Get something to spray them with!” she yelled, running into the bathroom.
I grabbed my hairspray, and she got a Clorox spray bottle and we began our battle.
The tiny baby spiders were brown, and the floors were brown, and it was only when they moved that we could see them. They were under my suitcase, and backpack, and up the wall beside my bed.
THEY WERE EVERYWHERE.
At one point I gazed at Jeanetta in awe. I was doing battle as well, but it mostly involved lots of screaming and slapping and swatting. I was battling out of fear. Jeanetta was battling like a (excuse my language dear classy readers who are more ladylike than me) bad ass. I mean seriously. Give this woman a fur coat, a necklace of bear teeth, and a sword and I’d bet dollars to donuts she could survive every season of Game of Thrones.
Eventually we encased all of their tiny bodies in a heavy layer of sulfate-free hairspray and bleach. The entire cabin smelled like a hair salon and a hazmat team had a baby together. We high fived, I counted ten new gray hairs and back to the conference we went.
Ding dong the spiders were dead. Or so we thought.
After a cookout by the lake our cabin turned in early for a night of pajamas and gossiping and cocktail making. I leaned over my bed to get my favorite pink and white polka dot pajama pants and there they were: tiny, almost invisible, feathery baby spiders running straight for my leg.
I screamed and grabbed my handy hairspray bottle. Jeaneatta didn’t bat an eye and grabbed her bottle of bleach. The other girls stood and watched in horror. Surely it was just my bed area? We slaughtered dozens of spiders and I commenced with moving to another bunk.
Then we noticed spiders running out from under the rug in the center of the room.
Long story short, I went home to sleep in my own bed that night.
I realize this makes me a gigantic girl. But listen. I grew up in the sticks. I grew up in the woods. I grew up in a place where our neighbors trash got ransacked by black bears, coyotes circled our house and howled during a snow storm, and it took 30 minutes to drive to a store for ice cream. I know wildlife. I know spiders. And I’ve never seen this many in one place.
Obviously there was a nest (or nests) of thousands of baby spiders just waiting for us behind the doors of Birch Cabin. But here’s what I know, or learned.
1. You want Jeanetta on your side. Whether its killing spiders or going on the run from the mafia, she’s your girl.
2. I scream in falsetto. Bring it boy choirs.
3. Small fast moving spiders are way scarier than the big ones.
4. UNLESS the big ones move even faster than the tiny ones. Never mind. All spiders are equally scary.
5. Yes. I will still wear my favorite spider necklace. It’s made of silver and polished stone. It does not breath, bite, or crawl up the leg of my pajamas.
Also, I now consider it a token of survival, a token of Spiderpocolypse.