My Mother Loved Spiders

My wife doesn’t particularly care for spiders, but out of respect for me, she doesn’t kill them. When we were first married, she would often say “There’s a spider in the bathroom, can you remove it?” And I would go in and pick it up and go into the hall and just sort of set it on a bookshelf or something.

It was quite a while before she saw me doing this, and our resulting surprise was mutual. She couldn’t believe I wasn’t taking them outside, and I honestly hadn’t realized that’s what she was asking. I just figured she didn’t like them in the bathroom for some reason. It had never occurred to me to evict them.

Growing up (in that same house), we never killed spiders. I was taught that they ate insects, and so we respected them. My brother even had a bunch of pet spiders in an aquarium for a while, and later got a tarantula. We had them in our rather wilderness-ish backyard, and they’d occasionally come in the house, and just let them alone. At one time, we had a spider just on the wall of our living room, for months, which we called “our front-room spider.”

Part of the reason my wife doesn’t like spiders is apparently she’s been bitten by them. I have never gotten a spider bite. My theory is that of mutual respect. They know I like them, and in return they like me.

On the oh-so-wonderful occasions I get to crawl under the house in the 14-inch dirt-floored crawlspace, blowtorch in hand, to fix the plumbing, I see hundreds of spider webs and egg sacs. That would be horrifying to most arachnophobes, but it doesn’t bother me. They see me coming, say “it’s okay, he’s cool” and leave me alone.

My mother was an interesting woman. The stereotype is that women are more likely to be squicked out by bugs and such, but she always liked spiders. We once had fleas and needed to bug-bomb the house. She handed me a cardboard box, and told me to go throughout the house, collecting all the spiders, and take them outside so they’d be safe.

After we bug bombed the house, she told me to go ahead and put them back.

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