Tuesday, December 20, 2022


When I left the house for the last smoke of the day, there was a spider on the white wall of the portico. A big spider, very visible. And, because it was cold, I puffed at it to see if it was still alive. It twitched. When I returned an hour later it was still there. It was probably freezing its fuzzy buns off, and will likely not survive. I haven't gone out with a pipe yet, so I don't know if it's still there.

One naturally sympathizes with small cold animals. But unlike a chilled sparrow, for instance, or a random prairie dog -- rare in urban San Francisco -- one cannot scoop up a shivering spider to warm him or her up against one's chest safely nestled in the folds of one's coat. They are too fragile, and when warm again likely to panic, or opportunistically burrow further into the warm places. Worst case scenario: armpit. Dammit, my armpit itches, but I cannot scratch, because Marianna is there. I might hurt her, she might hurt me. And now I don't know how to get her to scoot into the nice warm cotton-lined matchbox on the radiator, because from her perspective I am just an ambulant part of the environment.

So of course I left Marianna, as I had named her, where she was.
If she hasn't survived the night I shall mourn her.
I could have done something.
The other thing with spiders -- all bugs, really -- is that one cannot read the expressions on their faces and modify one's behaviour accordingly. "Oh, she's looking fearful and rather panicked, I should step back", for instance. Or conversely, that the piece of cheese one is holding out tempts her, but she has doubts about coming closer, best leave it nearby and retreat. Nor do they smile as we know it, or furrow their brows in apprehension.

I am worried for Marianna.

Going outside soon.

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