Monday, May 12, 2008

Saving Charlotte

When I read this post about creepy crawlies giving Sarah the heeby-geebies, it was one of the first times I couldn't relate to my "kindred spirit." See, I have a soft spot for all living creatures even when they're roaming inside my home. The only bug I've never shown mercy for is the cockroach.

When we lived in Augusta, Georgia a few years back, we rented a small cottage in an area called the Hill. It was a lovely neighborhood. Towering trees dripping with Spanish moss and wisteria shaded sprawling homes reminiscent of the Antebellum period. I always wondered if those gargantuan, elegant homes were immune from having cockroaches - or the more upscale-sounding name of palmetto bugs as Augustans liked to call them - sneak inside their walls. Our modest rental certainly wasn't. We had a bug service, but killing all of those suckers off would have taken a nuclear assault. They weren't rampant in our home, but every once in awhile I'd find one clicking its way across the hardwood floor. And their six feet (minus a few; cockroaches could survive after losing a limb or two) did click. That's how big these things were. They also looked at you like they were completely aware of the fact that you were going to try and kill them and they were going to do everything in their insect power to keep you from doing it.

And for the record, I don't think I'd be too receptive to having scorpions as bed mates either.

But I just can't bring myself to smush spiders despite their fear-inducing reputation. I do transport them outside in a paper towel and am praying during the entire journey to my front door that they won't slip out and attack me, but I just can't kill them. Now I'm approaching 30. I've never been known for my seamless logic, by c'mon, I should be more rational than this. I know spiders can't talk, much less spell or empathize. But every time I see one of these eight-legged critters crawling across my floor or dangling from a web, I can't help thinking of Charlotte. So I save them like she saved Wilbur.

Yet, even my 3-year-old thinks Mommy's a little weird. As she was eating breakfast this morning, she noticed a spider cruising the carpet.

"Spider!" she shouted. "Mommy! Spider!"

"I see it," I said.

"Kill it!"

"Why? It's not bothering anyone."

"Daddy kills spiders."

"I know..."

"'s coming at me. Kill it, peaaaassss."

"Don't you remember Charlotte?" I asked. "She was so nice."

"But that's not real. Real spiders aren't nice."

So my preschooler is already more logical than me. Funny thing is, I still couldn't kill the Charlotte lookalike.

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