Everybody knows one of the main reasons to own a convertible car is to allow lots of fresh air and sunshine into the vehicle. What's not often mentioned is that sometimes other stuff gets in as well.
"So you're taking the day off." Ellen's great for turning questions into declarations. Never a good sign.
"Yup. Just worked four fourteen hour days in a row dealing with quirky people and excitable staff. I get a day off." As all husbands know, you gotta be firm, otherwise they walk all over you.
"Hmpf. Well then. You better make damned sure you pick up a dryer hose some time today. I'm not going to face rush hour alone both ways just so you can scratch your butt and play Doom."
"Yes, dear." (Firm, I tell you, firm.)
And why not? It was a gorgeous day, without the used gym sock humidity we'd been suffering through the previous week. So, after waiting for Home Depot to open up (sleeping late on Olivia time means making it to 7 am), I put the top down on the spider and headed out. At the store, I even managed to find a super-spiffy dryer duct with "FirmAttachtm" collars. It was such a nice day I decided to head to the book store a few blocks down the road just to delay going home for awhile. As I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the street I noted with some sadness a single yellow leaf falling from a tree as I drove underneath it. Fall was definitely arriving.
"You know," I thought to myself, "that didn't look quite right. Looked like it was attached to something." I then briefly glanced down at a tickling sensation on my arm. "Oh, that's why... it was a spider."
A bright yellow-green spider, about the size of a nickel, now gingerly making its way across my arm. Which makes it sound nice and calm, and to anyone without an utterly irrational, blood-curdling toe-dancing girl-screaming fear of bugs, this would merely be yet another charming indication of the fall season's arrival. "Why hello there, little fellow," someone might say, in a suitably kind Burle-Ivesian baritone, "I'm afraid you won't find any bugs in here."
Which is, sadly, not what was going through my head at the time. No sir, instead of a kind grandfatherly voice chuckling at the coincidences of nature, I had Robin Williams on crack in my head screaming "holyshitHolyShitHOLYSHITspiderSpiderSPIDERarmArmARMtouchdon'ttouchtouchdon'ttouchgetItOffGETITOFF!!!!"
So I had a choice. I could hop out of my moving car and dance around screaming like a girl while said car rammed into something, crushing irreplaceable and to-date collision free body panels, or, I could suck it up and drive to the book store and fix it there. It was actually a pretty easy decision. My autonomic nervous system may have been thrumming like a guitar string twisted three turns too tight, but I was hanging on and sucking it up as I stopped in front of the first traffic light between me and my destination.
Which had, unnoticed in the midst of my spider-induced fuge, just now turned red. A nice, safe, long red.
So, sitting there for this side to turn left, then that side to turn left, then this side to go, then that side to go, then oncoming to turn left, then my direction to turn left, I waited. As I waited, of course, my new chartreuse friend crawled out of site underneath my seat belt. I'm proud to say I did not drop the clutch and burn through the intersection, but I did transit the thing very quickly.
God then smiled on my bug-o-phobic butt and the next three traffic lights were all green. I was therefore able to make my way to my destination at best possible (legal!) speed. After all, the last thing I needed was a cop to see me hopping up and down and swatting myself like an electrified marionette ("Subject exited car in rapid and erratic fashion screaming incoherently. Officers in charge quickly subdued subject with tasers and pepper spray.")
So after what was probably a three minute (hour, year, epoch) drive, I came to a rapid but controlled stop in the book store parking lot. It was only then that I turned the screaming chimp loose and hopped around the car swatting erratically at nothing anyone could actually see. In the unlikely event she's reading this, I'd like to now apologize to the woman with the green stroller who I believe I alarmed rather severely, because you see dear there was a frikken spider on me somewhere!!!
But, it turned out, there actually wasn't. Nothing shook out, nothing fell off, most importantly nothing sank its fangs into me. Apparently, while I was concentrating on not freaking out and not driving into the scenery, my multi-legged friend had crawled away into the dark recesses of my car, where it probably wanted to be in the first place. That didn't stop me from the occasional precautionary swat as I drove home, but to date "my little friend" has remained quite hidden.
Which is just as well. I mean, it would've been pretty sad to leave such a nice car in the parking lot and walk home, ya know?