There is an entire family of spiders that live on the porch ceiling directly above my front door. I'm not afraid of spiders and they are useful creatures to have around, but lately they've started messing with me. There are a dozen of these long-legged critters clumped over my head, watching with their little spidery eyes as I try to fit my key in the lock. I think they must communicate telepathically, waiting for the moment when I am most preoccupied then sending a silent command to their brethren to launch themselves at my person. These are the same "daddy longlegs" spiders that I used to play with while on family camping trips (after my own daddy reassured me that they were harmless). Still, there is something unsettling about feeling feathery spider feet land on your forehead, scramble across your cheek and skitter inside the neckline of your shirt. I've taken to entertaining the neighbors again, dancing on my doorstep in a madcap cross between the funky chicken and a wild watusi, flinging spiders every which way. And to think I used to lecture little boys who pulled spider legs off for fun: "How would you like it if someone pulled YOUR leg off and laughed about it?" Ungrateful wretches.
September 24, 2006