"Spiders: They are Cuddly" was, admittedly, a hastily composed post, just sort of thrown together as an excuse to link to the Hyperbole and a Half blog to which we've recently been introduced, and which has been making us hoot and snort and laugh ALOT.
But, in all seriousness, being way more mature and sophisticated than that Allie girl over at Hyperbole - well, we are -- we feel obligated to post something a little more serious in defense of our unfairly maligned (and squished) eight-legged friends.
Which is where Fluffy the Spider comes in.
We've been watching Fluffy for a week or so. She has built her web in the upper corner of the doorway that leads from my kitchen out to my courtyard. Not the most convenient place in terms of using the door as a -- oh, I don't know, maybe a thoroughfare? -- but certainly a convenient location for seeing what she's up to, seeing how her web has fared the daily ravages of bugs, wind, birds, clumsy passersby. She's nocturnal, tucking herself into the upper corner of the doorframe during the day so that you wouldn't even know she was there if it weren't for the dinner plate sized web that nearly wraps itself around your whole head when you forget to duck as you step out to the courtyard.
Every day the web gets damaged in one way or another so that every evening when she emerges, her first task is to repair, if not entirely rebuild, the web. It has only been entirely obliterated once when Greg plowed right into it face first. He barely got out before she came down and latched onto his face and sucked his eyeballs dry. Watching her work in the evening is truly amazing, way better than TV, and realizing how much work goes into her web on a nightly basis is simply daunting. Every morning the web is in pristine condition.
A couple of days ago a smaller but otherwise identical spider, Mittens, suddenly appeared, with a web off to the right of the kitchen door in a rose bush. His web was there for 24 hours and then just as suddenly as it had appeared, both web and spider were gone. With no sign of a comeback from Mittens, I was pretty sure he was in my hair for a couple of days until last night at bedtime when he showed up in Fluffy's web. Wooing? Mooching? Invading? Is he Fluffy's offspring? Potential mate? Rival? Sibling?
He proceeded to stumble around Fluffy's web a little, causing great apparent agitation, and I started to get excited for some late night spider drama... until he scuttled to the safety of the door frame and started what promised to be his own web in the adjacent upper corner, so that in order to go from kitchen to courtyard we'd have to practically crawl. But his web ended up being merely a random mess of disorganized silks sort of glueing the door into its frame (until I pried it open this morning), bringing me to the conclusion that Mittens is probably, sadly, retarded. He is most likely, as my life experience informs me, Fluffy's retarded little brother who was dropped on his head as a baby.