rituals (and consequences)

There are certain things that must be done. Rituals, if you will. Certain things have their places, certain activities have a specific order they’re best done in, and some steps on the way to a destination are non-negotiable.

For instance, I have a bedtime routine that involves checking the bed for spiders.

Part of it stems from the fact that I intensely dislike being personally near spiders. Notice I don’t say “I hate spiders”, because I don’t. I totally respect spiders’ places in the ecosystem and I admire their innate engineering instincts.

I just don’t want the creep little fuckers to touch me. Ever.

So, when I go to bed at night, one of my rituals is to check the bed for spiders. I flip the blankets and top sheet off the bed, I shake the pillows, I shake the blankets and sheet, then I put it all back together again. If my husband has already gotten into bed, I’m ok with assuming he’s already gone through this process for me. If I’m the first one to bed, though…everything gets shaken.

The other night, after having gone through the whole shake-and-make process and kind of laughing at myself the whole time, I pulled out my notebook to scribble down my thoughts about it so that I could remember to blog about it later on. The note went something like this:

“Must shake out pillows and blankets before getting into bed because spiders. Problem could be solved by just making bed in morning but what if the spiders get into the bed while I’m gone to work? Better to leave bed unmade then thoroughly check for spiders whilst making it right before getting into it. Fresh bed is safe bed.”

Then, because I realized just how incredibly bonkers it looked having been committed to paper, I actually wrote the following postscript:


Yes Internet, I know I spelled Hughes wrong. It was late and dark and I’m nuts. Don’t judge.

Satisfied that I had effectively put things into context for anyone who might come across my notebook in the case of my untimely demise, I then put the notebook away, picked up my Kindle…

…and felt a disconcerting tickle on my left arm. Glancing down was like a slow motion horror movie and confirmed what I already instinctively knew:


Making a sound somewhere between a steam whistle and a bagpipe, I flung my arm away from my body as though it wasn’t connected and I could somehow fling it and the spider riding on it across the room if I just put enough effort into it. The Kindle went flying, the dog jumped up and started barking, and somewhere along the way I managed to partially squash the spider.

Yes, sorry spider-lovers…a spider WAS harmed in the making of this story. It probably had a thousand creepy 8-legged babies before I killed it though, and they’ll probably all come to avenge its death some night when I least expect it (OH GOD NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN, JESUS FUCK).

After several seconds of hyperventilating I managed to regain control of my faculties and go back to reading my Kindle, but I’ve been rethinking my spider-checking ritual ever since. I mean, clearly either I wasn’t vigilant enough in my shake-and-make routine, or we’ve got some kind of special breed of ninja spiders of doom living in our apartment.

I bet they came in on the grapes.



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