Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Slovenly Host

A large percentage of people report being watched over by angels. Angels are supernatural beings deputized by God to watch over people, because even though he is all-knowing and omnipresent, he would like to have a day off now and then. In fact, according to Genesis, he invented days off. Ordinarily it would be a little creepy to think of things watching over you, but angels are presumed to have your best interests at  heart. They may drop the ball every now and then, sure. But they're not personally going to mess you up.

I don't have angels of my own. I didn't really need any; I was born lucky. But I have plenty of people watching over me. Probably hundreds. Technically, they're spiders. But I feel honored to have them. They just hang out by the ceiling and make little cottony nests and go about their tiny spider business, and a fine business it is: eating insects and keeping an eye on things. They can do that. They have eight eyes and they can look at a lot of different stuff at once. Angels get distracted, but spiders are on it. One pair of eyes checks the direction of light (in our house, it's coming from the TV). One pair has telephoto lenses. The third pair swivels, and yours don't, Mr. Fancypants Primate. The fourth pair gets basic cable. Spiders rock.

House spiders in particular may have evolved to live with myopic people. I have to really think about it to notice my spiders, and yet, when I do, they're all over the place. I'd say most of ours are on the ceiling in the TV room, although they drop down from time to time on little magical circus threads, just to get a closer look. Then they go back to the ceiling to watch over us.

In spite of the fact that I have had a thriving and undisturbed community of spiders in my house for decades, I'm not sure I've ever been attacked by one. Maybe. I've woken up with an itchy, persistent sore about three times. It's always on my butt, and it's not a big deal. I assume I roll over on them in bed, and so I can't say as how I blame them for objecting. But a lot of people are terrified by spiders, and hate them strenuously, even though they hardly ever hurt anyone. They'll do anything to keep them away and they want to kill the ones that make it through. They feel exactly the same way about Muslims. Spider eradication, in fact, is a plank in the modern Republican platform. It's too early in the campaign for specifics but they'll get around to it. Just as soon as they can figure out the best way of killing spiders while simultaneously poisoning the environment and enriching Dow Chemical, they'll get back to us.

Not house spiders, but a favorite photo, so here it is.
The Orkin site, which is devoted to providing the consumer with poisons for all manner of natural beings, solemnly intones that the "signs of an infestation" (I'm sorry, that is a loaded word: "presence" would have done nicely) include The Spider or The Web. Yes, that is true. In fact one of the surest signs of spider presence is the spider. The signs of an infestation of humans include Plastic and Massive Unprecedented Destruction Of The Environment. Orkin does not supply a Human-B-Gone. They totally would--ethics are not a consideration--but they aren't interested in exterminating the species with the wallet.

Spiders are entirely carnivorous. But they don't take down big game. They're all about eating insects and, significantly, other spiders. So if you really hate spiders, you should really like spiders.

44 comments:

  1. Ah -- a kindred spirit! I, too, love spiders. When they find their way into the house, we let them be. We have a deal with them: they have the ceiling and wall space, and we have the floors. Neither side usually tries to walk on the other's territory. On cleaning day, Paul and I keep each other informed as to any spiders that might need to be cleaned around, as we don't want to harm them. If one should be in harm's way (they seem to like getting into the shower), we relocate it to a plant that could use a little spiderly maintenance. I admire their patience -- building a web and then waiting for prey to stumble into it. I hope that some of that rubs off on me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to go fishing, so I know I have a LITTLE bit of that kind of patience.

      Delete
  2. So that's why I don't have spiders! No TV. However, I don't think the rest of you will have your octopod entourages much longer -- they'll get fed up of Donald Trump being on TV all the time and clear off. Even spiders have standards.

    Does Orkin do angels? Creepy buggers don't intend me any good, I'm sure of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait just a minute. We don't have Donald Trump on our TV. WE have standards.

      Maybe Orkin will develop a spray called SeraFOOM.

      Delete
  3. I do not mind spiders as long as they do not reproduce to everywhere and as long as they keep out of my way. I do not like the white and black dots of spider poop or dead carcases on the floor in the corners and when that gets out of hand I do wipe them away...no pesticides needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. Now that you mention it, I don't know that I've ever seen spider poop. That near-sightedness comes in handy sometimes.

      Delete
  4. I like spiders just fine -- as long as they stay out of my bed! Angels are easier to cope with and don't leave webs to get in your hair and and everywhere ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe all those times we feel like we're in a funk for no reason, we're really going through angel webs.

      Delete
  5. I've always liked to have spiders around because I like flies and mosquitoes much less. And now that I know they watch over me, I'll like them more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know--they're a lot less creepy, right?

      Delete
  6. I like small spiders but have to confess to being creeped out by the big ones (bigger than a tablespoon, say). My mother-in-law, an otherwise sweet and gentle person, is freaked out by them (so much so that she once had a fender bender over one) so for a few days before any holiday gathering, I have to go around with a broom and dustpan and gently encourage the spiders to drop into the dustpan, and then I take them outdoors. If it's too cold outside, they go into the garage. It's nice to hear that there are people besides us who would not see spiders in the house as bad housekeeping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I think it probably IS bad housekeeping, but I have to own that.

      Delete
    2. You HAD to burst my bubble.

      Delete
  7. We have a couple of light-brown spiders who live in the kitchen and patrol for bugs we like much less than spiders. My hubby gave them names, and the grandkids call them by those names but I'm pretty sure we've seen several generations come and go. And yet, there are never more than two of them. And they don't hang around our food, only up in the high corners where they seem to find their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's a perfect upstairs-downstairs arrangement, isn't it? I'm so in awe of spiderwebs that I hate to disturb them. I mean, they go to a lot of work.

      Delete
  8. Spiders are fascinating critters, and some of them like these peacock spiders are beautiful. My partner is horrified by them and kills them. Like jenny_o I escort them outside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The linked TV ad is twice as funny if you leave the sound off :)

      Delete
    2. And the peacock spiders that EC linked to? They are AMAZING.

      Delete
  9. Although I have always had a visceral recoil when coming upon a spider, I have worked to overcome this. I appreciate their awesomeness and usefulness, especially the fact that the big-ish ones will catch and eat CENTIPEDES which truly disgust me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, those must be bigger than the ones I see.

      Delete
  10. Scared witless as a very young child, I've grown to be fascinated by them.And feel the loss of "my" spiders on a very personal level.Nephila plumipes has eyes like blue diamonds. Yes, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad always liked spiders and took photos of them. But he said he hated them when he was younger and made a point of studying them so he could get over it. That's just the kind of weird thing he would do. At any rate, we were always well-disposed to them in our family. I think Mom didn't get a vote. Why have your lost your spiders?

      Delete
    2. Well, one web had a huge hole in it so probably a bird.Maybe birds got the others, too, but no web damage so not sure.I have photos on Facebook if you're brave enoughhttps://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152678699181869.1073741834.697396868&type=3

      Delete
  11. hate flies, hate mosquitos. Spiders are ok. Don't know quite why, but I see one on the wall, and watch it go back behind the picture, and I'm ok with it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they're helping keep the house up.

      Delete
  12. I do not want spiders in my home at all! They creep me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should work on that. Because THEY'RE THERE.

      Delete
  13. Wonderful title, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Angel Pootie has lost his wings...
    I like spiders, except the redbacks which are poisonous to us Aussies, they mostly live outside but if one finds his way inside, he's likely to find himself severely squished. Sadly, I've found four spiders this weekend, all dead :( One in the kitchen and three in the bathroom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not as wild about bathroom spiders. Or at least shower spiders. The reg'lar bathroom ones are okay. I'm so okay with them in general that if I see one crawl across my mattress while I'm on it--and it would have to be close because I can't see without my glasses--I flick it off.

      Delete
  15. Sorry to ruin the party, spider-lovers. They belong outside; once they come across the threshold, they're fair game. They sneak into my quilt studio and set up shop under the cabinets, above the toe-kick area, busily munching on the other bugs they find there and leaving their little dessicated bits on the floor. Out comes the Cedar-cide and away they go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about the bugs they're munching on? Isn't that good?

      Delete
    2. Why do you think our party is ruined by one spider-hater? Your spider feelings don't affect me. I'm sad for you, though.

      Delete
  16. My house usually hosts the occasional little yellow spider, but once in a while, a sowbug killer spider will bunk with me. I know this is the case when I wake up with welts in pairs from the spider's fangs. For some reason, that species of spider has it out for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sowbugs! That's what we called them. Dave calls them roly-polys. That seems like big game for a spider. I guess we mostly have the regular yellow house spider inside.

      Delete
  17. We had a small spider in our bathroom (indoor! Woohoo!)that caught teeny moths until they were gone. We were sad when she died.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you notice when it happened?

      Delete
    2. Not long after the moths were all eaten.

      Delete
  18. At our last house we had a row of evergreens along the fence line. One summer morning, I noticed the dew was turning them silver. Turns out the bushes were literally infested with spiders, whose webs covered them almost entirely. My dad offered to spray them for me, and used what I later found out was a bottle of freaking malathion. Somehow, he thought that was better? It sure killed the spiders.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ewww, to the above post. Man, malathion.....what fun for the neighborhood.
    Anyway, I read your post above a couple of times, then again...can't figure if your're talking actual theology, or what. Is there a 'god'?
    Phrased like that, should be a fun discussion, eh?

    ReplyDelete