New York City is Supposed to be Devoid of Nature, and That’s Why I Moved Here

Filed under living in new york is neat, stuff i hate, super furry animals

I spent my entire morning commute yesterday thinking that something was crawling on me. Now, my morning commute is only five stops on the train, but rush hour trains are always held up at the stations by passengers trying to cram themselves in, so five stops can take a half an hour. So picture me feeling itchy all over for a half an hour, adjusting the tags on my shirt and jacket in case that was the problem, furiously scratching the places I felt it most.

At first I thought it might be my imagination, because I do drop acid before going to work every morning, after all. But at one point, I actually felt like something was crawling on my ear. And I felt like the guy across from me on the train was watching it happen. I tried to distract myself with my Kindle, but I kept having to reach up every two minutes to brush existent or non-existent things off of my face. I wanted to get out a mirror and have a look, but I thought it was better to not know for sure, considering what my reaction might be.

I had it in my mind that it might be a spider, and I am totally scared of spiders. Like, scared in the way that if someone put a fake one in my lunch or on my pillow, I would never talk to that person again. Growing up on a farm, I was running downstairs nightly to wake my dad up and make him kill one I had or had maybe spotted on the wall beside my bed. Even now when I go to Ohio to visit, I’m on a constant look-out for spiders all over the house, and last time I was home and made my sister kill one for me that was dropping from the ceiling, she asked me, “How did you manage to survive twenty-some years in the country?” In that same trip, I made my best friend, Tracey, reach across me while we were in the Taco Bell drive-thru to pluck one of those little hairy spiders off of the armrest attached to my door. I really think I’m more equipped to deal with cockroaches somehow.

Anyway, I finally got to work and ran to the bathroom to check out my face. I didn’t see anything, so I officially chalked it up to my wild imagination and did my business. As I was washing my hands, though, this cute little spider came down on his web right in front of my face FROM MY HAIR. It was then that I remembered walking underneath a tree and noticing a spider hanging from it at the very last moment that morning, but never did I consider that it might have jumped on me. I tried to scream, but only air came out, and even though the last thing I want to do in the world is purposely touch a spider, I reached up and smacked it away.

And then I frantically checked the floor for it, but it was nowhere to be seen. And then I spent the rest of the day itching myself and being completely miserable.


  1. Kim says:

    I can’t believe that jerk on the train didn’t help you out, or at least recoil in horror, so you could properly address this situation earlier.

    Terrifying. I would have cried.

    • Except would I have wanted to? I’m trying to picture myself getting a mirror out and picking a spider out of my hair and not freaking out in front of everyone, and I can’t do it.

  2. Ash says:

    I have the same problem but with ALL BUGS. Well, maybe fruit flies aren’t so bad.. But I used to screech in the middle of the night and run and wake up either my dad or my brother to kill any bugs I saw in my room. When I was around 7 or so, I walked into my grandpa’s room and TWO cockroaches flew directly onto my hand as if I had called them to me… I can still imagine my hysteria at that moment. I like to think I’ve grown up, now that I throw massive programming books at them instead of making someone else do my dirty work for me.

    • Jack says:

      I always wondered why you decided to be a programmer, now it all makes sense .. the massive programming books are ideal for bug-killing

    • Stories like this are why tropical lands don’t appeal to me. Someplace like northern Canada, covered in ice and too cold for bugs to survive in, is much more my style.

      One of our mutual friends who I won’t name here in case she’s embarrassed had a massive cockroach in her apartment a few months ago and dropped a stack of magazines on it. But then she was too scared to lift the magazines up, so she had to call Adam Conn over to take care of it. Hilarious.

  3. Jack says:

    So you’re basically the horse in that recent Charlotte’s Web movie*:

    *no I didn’t actually watch the movie, but that’s totally you (especially at the 1:24 mark).

    I did in fact watch the old 1973 cartoon version of Charlotte’s Web as a kid and the only thing I remember is being creeped out by the scene where her kids hatched and fly into the air like a dust cloud. Luckily that was just a cartoon and it doesn’t happen in real life, right? RIGHT??

    • OMG OMG OMG. I had to turn that off after about three seconds because it was freaking me out too much. I never realized how lucky we were that the cartoon version of Charlotte was so abstractly drawn, although I still couldn’t put my hand on the cover the book where the spider was.

      Jeff is convinced that I’m hatching spiders in my neck. If a dust cloud erupts, I hope it’s near your desk.

  4. dd says:

    OMG I’d have to leave work and go freak out somewhere.

    • Honestly! I’m pretty impressed with my handling of the situation. Although everyone kept telling me waaaaaaaaaaaaay creepier spider stories all day long after that, so I feel pretty lucky that my spider was tiny, actually.

      You’ll notice that I didn’t post this until Friday, when I had left for Ohio for the weekend, because I didn’t want the one mean person at work to read this and get any ideas about playing a practical joke on me. I’m hoping everyone has forgotten about it now that I’m back in the office.

  5. spaghedeity says:

    wow, i thought the end of this post was totally depressing. i was expecting some happy resolution, a lesson learned, a fresh take on your—and the spider’s—life, but instead all i got was

    And then I spent the rest of the day itching myself and being completely miserable.

    i feel so defeated. but at least i now know what to prank you with in the mail.

    • If anything, I’m even more convinced that spiders are evil now. And whereas I used to see them in nature and think, “Well, they’re not hurting anything,” I’m now going to go out of my way to seek them out and kill them. While other girls carry mace, I will carry Raid.

  6. Kirsten says:

    Ah I hate that feeling like something is crawling on you. I always get that with ants.

    Okay but I have the worst spider story ever. When I was like a freshman in high school I had to wear my retainer. And every night I’d quickly brush my teeth and shove my retainer in my mouth. Can you tell where this is going? So one night I was in a hurry and did all these things. And then I felt like something weird was sticking out of my retainer. I looked into my mouth and it looked like a hair was sticking out of it. So I pulled my retainer out.. and looked at the top.. and there was a giant daddy long legs spider sitting dead on top of the retainer that had been in my mouth. Barf.

  7. bluzdude says:

    It’s times like this that a full-body de-lousing spray sounds like a pretty good idea.

    • I thought about just going home to take a shower, but the thought of that thing running down my naked body with the warm water nearly gave me a heart attack.

  8. Julie says:

    Thanks. Now I have that creepy crawly feeling. My scalp is tingling and everything. Must. Go. Wash. Hair.

  9. I’m That Girl. The one who, sitting across from you on the train, would’ve said, “Excuse, me, ma’am. Try not to freak out, but you’ve got a spider in your hair. Now if you’ll hold really, REALLY still, I’ll smack it with my shoe and try not to hit you in the face.”

    But if I found a spider in my hair, you’d probably have to hospitalize me.