The other morning the bedroom light bulb burned out. Normally I would just let Mike fix it whenever he got home, except I was working from home and it was so gloomy and gray that the bedroom was too dark to work in. I tried turning on the snake light, but that didn’t help. I turned on the salt lamp, but it was still too dark. So I climbed up on top of the refrigerator to reach the cabinet where we keep the light bulbs, then I climbed up on our bed and stood on my tiptoes to reach the light fixture and I was really impressed with myself, you know? I was thinking about how I used to be this mousy little twit and now I’m this tough chick who lives in Harlem and rides the subway and changes her own light bulbs. I turned the little fake brass knob thingy to release the glass dome fixture-cover-thing, and right when I got the knob thing off, something fell out of the fixture and brushed past my face. I blinked and sputtered and believing the fallen debris to be dust, resolved to immediately wash the fixture cover. I bent down to set the cover on the bed and that was when I realized that the thing that had fallen from the ceiling and brushed my face was a dead spider.
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t completely lose my shit. The worst part was that I knew the spider was dead, I knew I didn’t need to be freaking out, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t scream, not like a horror movie scream, it was more like a growl. A roar. I roared and jumped around in circles and clawed at my face and laughed, because I knew I was being ridiculous. The dogs started howling and barking, I’m guessing because my roaring and wild flailing was pretty alarming. I knew I was acting like a maniac, but I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that there were hundreds of spiders caught in my hair that would soon be walking all over my face, so I ripped off my clothes and jumped in the shower. I stood under the water, hot as I could stand it, laughing, shaking, sobbing and repeating over and over again, “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok.”
This is why whenever people tell me about how much they want to learn to fly a plane, or go sky diving, or climb Mount Everest, I just smile and tell them to have a good time. As far as I’m concerned, being touched by a dead spider is a survival experience.