I’ve done this blog for seven straight days (hold your applause until the end, please) and I find that, on this eighth day, I’ve run out of subject matter. I’m looking around my desk desperately for inspiration, but all I see is a mess. Then I remember my ideas notebook, surely I’ll find something in there. And I do.
It’s a big, black, hairy spider on the page where the book falls open. He starts sprinting toward my hand. I run from the room, heart pounding, and fling open the patio door. Then I dash back, grab the notebook and run with it outside, keeping an eye on the spider who is hiding between the pages but with one knucklely leg sticking out like some Alfred Hitchcock movie where you know the guy’s on the other side of the door and he’s about to jump out and start stabbing and stabbing and stabbing with blood washing down the shower drain and, yeah, that spider’s leg gave me the same creepy feeling. I put the notebook outside just in the nick of time. He didn’t come out but he certainly could have and he will eventually, you can count on that, but there goes my inspiration.
Everybody thinks it’s nuts that I don’t kill bugs. I practice a strict catch and release program in this house, and heaven help my kids if I catch them squishing one. Whenever they see an insect, they come screaming, “Mom, there’s a giant spider in my bathroom.” I drop everything because if you don’t act quickly, the spider will hide somewhere and show up in your bed that night. It never fails.
I take a spatula and glass, put the glass over the spider, whose size has been exaggerated, and ease the spatula up under him. Then I carry the whole thing outside and turn it loose. Most bugs shake their little fists at me when this happens, because they’d much rather stay in the warm cozy house than have to fend for themselves in the cold cruel world. I can sometimes hear them calling me a B-otch. You’d think they be grateful.
I don’t kill insects outside, either. Our flower beds are crawling with slugs and snails. Late at night I go out with the flashlight and look for their shiny reflections, then pluck them off with a rubber glove and put them in a Mason jar and take them down the street to the vacant lot. By the end of summer there is a virtual carpet of slugs down there. I saw a cat get swallowed up in slugs like quicksand. Not really, but it would make a good horror movie. M. Night Shyamalan would have to do it since Hitchcock has gone to that great suspense flick in the sky. The slugs would get into some mysterious half buried jar of glowing chemical from Mars and grow super big and start prowling the streets for victims, catching dogs and cats and raccoons in their giant slimy tracks like flypaper. But finally their unquenchable hunger drives them to lay in wait outside a party where a voluptuous drunk blond with a really low cut red mini dress staggers out and catches one of her 4 inch heels in a slug track and starts trying to pull it out and just when she’s about to break free, a giant slug the size of a porpoise slides out of the shadows and knocks her down, muffling her screams as it covers her in slime and starts to chew off her ear with an eerie crunching noise you can hear above the party sounds in the background. A blockbuster! Now you can applaud.