Posted By on March 24, 2009

“There’s a spider in my room”

.: In my old apartment, my bathroom was connected to my bedroom. I was, for the most part, the only person to use it, and it served my needs quite adequately. During the last few months, though, other inhabitants moved in.

.: I think it was residual mouthwash — the sorbitol, perhaps — that attracted them, but every morning I would wake to find a dozen or so ants in and about my bathroom sink. They didn’t bother me much, and after a few days we fashioned a sort of compromise: I would wake up at 7:30 every morning, and they would wait willingly to be crushed by my finger. The whole ordeal became a sort of ritual for me. No matter how stressful or erratic the day before was, I could always count on greeting the ants every morning and executing them without delay.

.: Most times I would simply press my finger down and skate it around on the surface, its path of destruction intercepting anything that lacked a backbone and moved. Other times I would get creative. Sometimes on the night before, I would plug the basin and fill it with water and a few drops of mouthwash. In the morning I would find a ring of ants sipping carefully from the surface line. The volume of water displaced by my fist would be enough to raise the line and pull them in, powerless to escape the strong surface tension.

.: My favorite memories of the ants, however, involve the other inhabitant of my bathroom: a small black spider, about 2 millimeters across, who took residence in the corner where the bathtub met the floor. His web was small and disappointedly lacking in symmetry, but the carcasses of other insects littering the ground around it indicated that it got the job done. Once I discovered his hideout, I extended the practice of my early morning ritual to include a heavenly-delivered meal for spider Bolton (as he was christened). Ant carcasses, still writhing perhaps out of a sense of duty to warn the hive but more likely due to elastic proteins contorting into the most stable configurations, were dropped from above onto spider Bolton’s plate, and he feasted well for the next few months.

.: Then, weeks before I was to move, spider Bolton disappeared, his web mysteriously swept away and all signs of his existence erased. I don’t know where he went or why, but it is likely that he perished in the move. However, his short life on this planet, unlike many others of his species, was appreciated and remembered fondly by this primate.

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