Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let's Review

There is a Known Spider Threat at the Coach 'N' Four Motel at 628 South Auburn Street in Grass Valley, California. The first spider was waiting to greet me in the bathroom sink. I managed an absent-minded hello while assessing which of the items with me best lent itself to crushing the spider dead given the size and shape restrictions imposed by the sink. I quickly settled on Nalgene, then quickly settled Nalgene on spider. According to the spider identification chart I found online, it may have been a Black House Spider. I thought it had been a Wolf Spider. It probably hadn't been a Wolf Spider, though, since I think they're called Wolf Spiders because they hunt in packs, which is another way of saying that I don't know much about spiders. I don't really think that, but it's true.

The picture for the last spider on the spider identification chart, the Huntsman Spider, wiggles every few seconds. Therefore, I will no longer be consulting the spider identification chart.

When I've found and killed a spider in a bathroom, I feel more confident that the bathroom is spider-free than when I haven't found and killed a spider in a bathroom. What I was certain the bathroom was free of, however, was water in the tank behind the toilet, because there was a wad of toilet paper in the toilet, also waiting to greet me, and I wanted to flush it away but could not. I removed the tank cover, lifted the part you lift, solved that problem, and created a new one where the tank entered an endless cycle of slowly leaking and refilling until I gave up on a peaceful resolution and shut off the water altogether.

Engrossed as you are in reading about the toilet, you're all-along wondering about the second spider, and so am I, but I've got to tell you about the lamp first, to lay the groundwork. The lamp beside the bed was broken. Well, broken? It was and is missing the part that you twist to turn it off. There's this trick to turning off a lamp—you probably know it—where you follow the cord (with your eyes) from the base of the lamp to where it plugs into the wall, you take hold of the part going into the wall (with the hand of your choosing) and, without letting go, you pull back. This is called unplugging the lamp. On the list of things you can do with a lamp that can cause a fire, this probably isn't there.

Turns out someone figured out another way to turn it off by working loose the part right above the missing knob and right below the bulb—the part of the lamp that says Caution and Risk, and no it doesn't say "this portion of the lamp NOT to be dislodged as an alternate method of turning lamp off," but, Jiminy Christmas. Of course, the lamp shade is damaged so maybe someone just banged the lamp against the wall until it turned off, or more likely the whole thing, this whole big mess with the lamp, was the result of a lamp/surface/gravity/new surface Event.

Anyway, I suppose what I did was relodged that part of the lamp into the works position and, figuratively shocked by the sudden light in my eyes to find that the lamp had been left on and plugged in even in its broken state, I began step one of the unplugging method, looking less for the plug than for my faith in humanity, as I hoped the journey from lamp to outlet would be a long and treacherous one. This brings us to the second spider.

The cord draped over the edge of the end table and then disappeared behind the headboard: a classic hard-to-reach location, especially in a motel, where headboards are connected to the wall, not the bed frame. Except this headboard had been removed from the wall and was leaning against the bed. I looked into the dusty crevasse and located the plug hanging halfway from the outlet. The detached headboard. The half-plugged plug. The damaged lamp and lampshade. All signs of a struggle. I caught movement on the edge of the headboard. Another spider.

The spider identification chart, had I consulted it, would have said Same Friggin Kind of Gross Spider, and the description would have been "probably angry about the other spider, and also probably a scout." I went for the Nalgene. The spider was gone. It was behind the headboard. I could see it—oooh there it was there it was there it was—near the plug I wanted it dead. It wasn't on the wall behind the bed it was on the back of the headboard. Basically, it was on the bed. It was crawling on my face as I slept. I couldn't stand it. Nothing in the room could help me kill it. I looked in the crevasse again to see how much I still hated it. It was gone.

The half-plugged plug. The damaged lamp and lampshade. These many were there? I lifted the headboard back onto it's support. Now I could pull the bed away from the wall. I imagined pulling the bed away and disturbing a whole nest of spiders. I watched them scurry and scatter about like the Huntsman Spider no doubt does, with it's wiggling jpeg. Wolf Spiders carry their young on their back, so even when they aren't moving they're still...they are so gross. Black House Spiders bite your cheek and lay eggs in there, and your cheek swells for weeks until it bursts and spiders crawl all over your face, and you know that's true because everyone's read that book. I put on my sandals. I paced. I thought about getting another room. I would never do that but, whatever, I can have thoughts. If I ever have a house and see a spider in that house, I will think about getting another house, that's all.

I saw the spider crawling on the wall next to the bed. Nalgene. Spider parts. Spider parts washing down the drain. Relief. The spider now dead. Sleep now possible. The spider...or was it...a spider? A spider, definitely dead. Was it the spider? A spider. The spider. I went out to the van to get a pair of pliers. I can turn the lamp off with the pliers. I can turn the lamp off. I can turn the lamp off and lie in the dark. Lay in the dark? Lie in the dark. Either way, with the spiders.

I've noticed in this light, there are a lot of hairs on these sheets. I've stayed here before, at the Coach 'N' Four. I liked the last room better.