The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Spider Dance

Proving, once and for all, that there are more ways than you can possibly imagine for a middle-aged woman to make an ass of herself.

Mr. K and I came home the other night from some errand or other, and I walked into the kitchen to find in the sink a spider, so large that I swear it had hooves. Seriously—have you ever seen those spiders that have little knobs on the ends of their legs? It was one of those. And it was standing in the sink, glowering at me, looking for all the world as if it had a right to be there and would I please stop staring and allow myself to be eaten like a good human? Naturally, I did what you would expect an adult, mature, eloquent person such as myself to do: I dropped everything in my hands and screamed. Loudly. Mr. K came running, fairly certain from the blood-curdling nature of my scream that I must have lost a limb, and looked into the sink. The spider just stood there on its hooves, pulsating malevolently (okay, so I made up that pulsating part, but it looked as if it might have been thinking about pulsating). At which point Mr. K said, “Oh, it’s just a little wolf spider.” (The italics are mine.) And proceeded to squash it with approximately half a roll of paper towels, and probably no small amount of elbow grease. I don’t deny that I half expected the thing to grab Hubby by the arm, swing him around its head several times, and toss him into the dining room. Don’t ask me how a brilliantly intelligent man such as my Mr. K can possibly describe a spider with a full circumference larger than an Oreo cookie (swear to God) as a little anything, but I was supremely grateful to him for dispatching the beast before it applied for its own area code.

All of which goes to indicate my absolutely primal terror of spiders. The delightful Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns knows what I mean, having been invaded by them recently herself(Jo, I’m right there with you). And they’re like horses: they know we're afraid and, I’m quite certain, seek us out for maximum scaring amusement. Which leads me to The Spider Dance.

Each morning, I get up and go downstairs to feed the cats and clean the litterbox. Litterbox cleanings being what they are, I feel compelled to take the bag immediately outside to the trashcan at the back of the house. ¾ of the year, this is no problem. In the Autumn, it is a bit more of a challenge. It goes something like this: I open the door cautiously, leaning slightly back on one foot in case I need to run quickly from a large spider in the doorway. If it looks clear, I will lean slightly forward, examining the doorway more closely. If it looks okay, I will stick my head out a bit and continue to examine the pathway to the trashcan for the enemy. Once satisfied, I will venture out. And precisely two steps later, without fail, I will feel it—the invisible thread of spiderweb across my face. At this point, I’m certain of two things: 1) that the spider is clearly in the neighborhood somewhere and 2) she is likely to be extraordinarily pissed off that I just trashed her house/leftover storage facility. Moreover, I have more than a passing thought that she may even now be perched on the back of my head, contemplating her vengeance. Clearly, I want her off; however, just as clearly, I don’t want to accidentally touch her because then I’ll have to cut my hand off and I haven’t figured out how to knit one-handed. So I dance. I leap about frantically from foot to foot, brushing ineffectually at the air around the back of my head and generally looking like a complete and total dork. Frantic, half screams are often included. I also flap my clothes in case she is clinging grimly to the hem of my t-shirt, waiting for the earthquake to stop so that she may continue plotting her revenge. Folks, it is just so attractive and appealing—especially with the wild hair and bare feet—that you just wouldn’t believe it. Don’t you wish you lived in my neighborhood?

The fact that I do this every day suggests something about my learning speed that I’d rather not consider at present. However, I HAVE considered how this might look from the spider’s point of view (besides multiplied by all those nasty little eyes). ‘Cause, a spider spins a web to catch food, right? I can just imagine the conversation:

Spider #1, from back of my head: “Hey, Bob—look what I caught! It’s freaking huge!”
Spider #2: “Wow, what the hell is it?”
Spider #1: “I don’t know….but more important, how am I gonna EAT all of it???”

It’s so comforting to think of one’s self as a spider leftover. If only they used Tupperware….I’m pretty sure I’d see a Tupperware bowl before I ran into it.

In other news:

Bianca: back, left front, right front, one full sleeve (78 rows of freaking stockinette, thank you very much) and the beginning of the second. So close. SOO close. I took it to Knit for Life last night, carefully carrying along my needle set so I could change to smaller needles for the stockinette…only to realize that I had not brought along more yarn and I had exactly enough with me to do 3 rows. So the shawl got worked on and I would happily show you progress on that, but some idiot counted funny and threw off the whole thing and it had to be tinked back about three rows. Couldn’t be me….unless I sustained a mild brain injury in the spider attack…maybe got clipped by a wayward hoof. Yeah, that’s it. Must be.

Lastly, Aunt Purl asked people to send in photos of their knitting spots. I do not, alas, know how to send one via e-mail (my computer knowledge is highly specialized—i.e., generally useless) so I am posting it here. Since I just know you're all dying to see my buttprint on the couch.


  • At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Note: I'm using a very small voice..I like wolf spiders, in fact, I like most spiders, except brown recluse fiddle backs, they die, but the others? I take them outside to the shrubbery and let them go...but I DO NOT like running headfirst into their webs, nope, not at all, and I've got my own version of the spider dance.
    Yes, I would very much like to be your neighbor.
    Bianca looking lovely, really looking forward to seeing it funny, sounds like something I'd do...not taking more yarn.
    oh, and hey, nice buttprint.. (although *I* can't see it)

  • At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Jill said…

    Got you beat!

    various morning prep duties at work involve fetching and carrying from the back prep rooms.

    Massive influx of hoof bearing spiders this fall

    Walk head into spider web(it sucks being tall)

    Totally hot spider dance that I'm really glad no one saw

  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Kit Is Knitting said…

    I walk under trees with my hand in front of my face because it's inevitable that I'll walk right into some spider's home and storage 'bin'. Bleagh, ugh, brrbbrlbbrlblrrrb! I do the spider dance, too.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Kim said…


    Just the other day I was lying on the couch (in our basement t.v. room) and glanced up to see an eight-legged fiend descending directly toward my FACE. Envision a spider dance that included levitation of myself and the poor cat that was asleep on my legs and lots of "bleah! bleah! bleah!" That was me.

  • At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    The blue Shawl??? or did you start an Icarus?

  • At 6:03 PM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Oh, you guys rock! I feel SO much better knowing it's just me. And Kim, my heart goes out to you. I think I'd have to sleep with my eyes open for a week after that! Marianne, I'm embarrassed to say it's still the alpaca shawl in the bell pattern. I might actually finish it while they're still in style...(one can hope!)

  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Whoops--that should have said "glad it's NOT just me". See my latest post...brain is SO full....


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