Along Came a Spider, With Empathy for Miss Muffet
It’s not every day you find a black widow hanging from your favorite chair
My uninvited guests
A few nights ago I was sitting in my favorite chair, which happens to be a rocking recliner. It is one of a matching pair I inherited along with my mother’s house in 2005. When I used to visit Mom, she would sit where I sit now, close to the window. I would take the chair on the other side of the room. We spent hours in those chairs during the years she lived there, talking, playing Jotto, or watching TV.
About nine months ago, something went wrong with that chair. The rocking mechanism seemed to be stuck, making it hard for me to rock forward to get out of the chair. When a younger and stronger friend came to visit, I asked her to help me switch the chairs so that I could start sitting in the good one, which hasn’t been used as much. After all, Mom had been in her chair more often than I had been occupying mine.
One night shortly after that, I opened the chair so I could put my feet up. I thought I saw something spider-like dropping from the footrest onto the floor. I got up to look for it, knowing it was probably a spider, but I couldn’t find it. It occurred to me it might have crawled under or into the mechanical parts of the chair since some spiders prefer dark places. I didn’t feel quite as relaxed about sitting in the chair.
A couple of evenings later, I was walking from my chair toward the kitchen and I found it. Yes, that’s her you see above. She was hanging on a web between some boxes of books. In such situations, I normally get the vacuum cleaner (canister type) and vacuum up the offending black widow, which this spider was. The problem was that I had to get close to the spider’s location to plug the vacuum cleaner in. That scared the spider and she hid in a place harder to reach.
I’ve had a lot of encounters with these spiders — enough to observe their behavior. I know they have a tendency to hide, and then come back when they think the threat is gone. That’s what happened.
A few minutes later I went back, and there she was, back on the web. I had already plugged in the vacuum, so I just got my camera ready to snap her…