It's funny how the most insignificant things can lead to overwhelming circumstances sometimes.
Take the other day. I had settled into my overstuffed leather chair, complete with the crossword puzzle, the daily cryptogram, and a Bic ball-point pen, all ready to retreat from the day's woes and nibble cheese crackers. All was, seemingly, right with the world.
I'll never forget it: I was about to fill in "7 down" (the clue was "rotation duration") when I first glimpsed it sneaking past my right shoulder. Realizing that my evening was now a matter of survival via hand-to-leg combat,I clobbered a large, bulbous-looking spider with what had promised to be a source of problem-solving entertainment.
Ah, the irony.
I'm not sure if what I saw had a red hourglass. Maybe it did and I'm still blocking it from my memory. What isn't blocked from my recall was how quickly I launched out of my chair. In the tradition of Bruce Jenner, I was already at the front door before the spider could emit one final gasp. I have any number of friends who, much like me, suffer from arachnophobia.
Within a span of approximately .002 seconds I was in and out of the kitchen with a can of insect spray which was the manufacturer's equivalent of napalm. Parts of furniture not seen by the human eye since 1974 were rapidly being "sanitized for my protection". The mere thought of some little meanie crawling up my leg in search of a convenient place to inject venom was more than I was willing to endure as I continued going Rambo with Raid. After perhaps twenty minutes of checking the entertainment center, the book case, and the sofa, I realized two things. The first of these, of course, was that I couldn't limit my search-and-destroy mission to the living room. Checking every room, including the closets, would prove both anxiety-provoking and time-consuming. It turned out that my eyes were playing tricks on me as I sneaked a peek between the cabinet and the refrigerator. What I suspected was another spider turned out to be a large, blackened crumb from a corn-dusted deli roll following an overexuberent browning session with Rival's finest.
The second thing was that sooner or later I was going to have to call it quits. Spraying the entirety of one's home with insect spray means having to spend a fair amount of time outside of one's home where, as one can imagine, there are an even greater number of spiders. Spiders who know what you've been up to, and who might well be massing for a counterassault. I think it was with this in mind that I sprayed several lines of the caustic solution as I exited my home -lines in the sidewalk, as it were. I figured that if a spider were to cross the first line of defense, it would have the effect of slowing him down. Becoming disoriented by the bug spray, he would continue on and into the second sprayed line.
This is exactly what happened as some other species of spider attempted to gain access. By the time he had crossed under the door, he had had it. The strategy had worked. I would be safe for another day.
When I sat down to do the puzzles, the last thing on my mind was engaging in chemical warfare. What I had assumed would be an evening trying to figure out what the crossword clue was turned out to be a full scale Hollywood-level commando mission.
Turns out the word for the clue was "day".
What a day.