Today I met my first German spider, or Spinne. After living here for seven weeks I've finally laid eyes on a European arachnid. I hate spiders and thus am hyper aware of their presence, or lack thereof, at all times. I've expertly honed my peripheral vision to discern if a pock mark on the wall is in fact moving or just a push pin. Then, if said mark is mobile, with the help of a vacuum cleaner, or a nearby shoe for real the speedy ones, I eliminate them from my living space. Typing that makes me feel like a horrible person because as a grown-ass woman I realize my aversion to spiders is irrational and childish at this point but it is a fear nonetheless. This tick of mine is perplexing even to myself because I happen to absolutely adore all other components of the natural world. I love being outside and I love all the stuff that is outside. Sharks are obviously scary but I still love the ocean, bees and wasps are menacing but certainly beautiful in their own ways, and snakes are ok with me as long as they're not biting me. My Mom even had a pet king snake when I was younger (RIP Rosebud). But spiders are different. The way they move is creepy, like they're always ready to pounce. I know they have several eyes and can see me but yet I can't see theirs and don't know what they're looking at. They're evasive, always running away into cracks and crevices, basically admitting their guilt (guilty for being too creepy). And there they remain, basically taunting me from their unreachable refuge. And maybe their most disturbing habit is the whole mummifying insects and sucking their insides out thing. Think about that for a minute and tell me that's not particularly diabolical. It's not like I want them all destroyed, I mean I understand their place in the ecosystem and all that, the balance of nature, blah, blah, blah. I just really don't want them in my bed, in my shower, in my tent, or sharing a living space with me. I've often felt that they should just stay outside, in the bushes and the trees with all the other crawly things. Call me old-fashioned but I've always believed they don't belong in our homes, in our societies, near our children. I can see that my traditional views about keeping spiders and humans separate may be divisive but historically I've just been a real scaredy cat and uncomfortable with accepting them into my home. But, with this move to Europe has come many new things; a new language, new home, and new grocery store hours (everything is closed on Sundays and it's maddening). With all these new things comes some adjustment and flexibility (or remaining frustrated every Sunday). So this time, upon discovering this spider in my home, I didn't feel the need to take any immediate action. I snapped this picture and just let it continue frantically scampering along the wall until it reached its cliche hiding spot under a door (again, totally guilty! Why run if you have nothing to hide!?). If it reappears again, I may have to give it a name, German of course. Maybe Klaus or Gerta, or something more gender non-conforming like Rane. Or maybe I'll never see it again and it will travel outside where it can be closer to its other creepy spider friends. But should this tiny bugger assert its presence in my household again I will do my best not to send it to the dusty depths of the vacuum cleaner or simply smudge it onto the bottom of my flip flops. Along with my acceptance of most things German (not the Sunday thing because wtf) I will also try to remember to be equally accepting of German spiders. Unless it's big and hairy, then it's a goner.
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