Smile, You’re On Arachnid Camera!


Have you ever caught yourself looking so ridiculous that you say to yourself, “I’m glad I’m not the subject of a hidden camera show.”

That is my thought each morning as I leave the house, walk to the car, and feel the silky threads of spider webs across my face.  And this morning was no different, as I tried to balance my briefcase and tote bag while frantically wiping the sticky filaments away  —  only to feel them invisibly drag across my ears and into my hair.

When I remember to, I’ll leave the house empty handed – so I can walk to the car swinging my arms in front of me like a malfunctioning robot to knock down any webs that might be at face level.  Then I’ll walk back to the house, grab the brief case and tote bag, and race back to the car before the little buggers have a chance to reload.  (I suppose a broom handle could accomplish the same thing, but that would look odd — wouldn’t it?)

More often than not, I forget about the webs overnight.  My eight-legged friends don’t forget, though.  In fact, while I’m sleeping, they’re as busy as Rumpelstiltskin.  When I do my wiping routine, I even think that they’re laughing at me.  If my two eyes can see my antics as funny, can you imagine how hysterical I am to eight eyes?

Another one of my no-cameras-please moments happens when I’m weeding and my hand accidentally brushes up against poison ivy.  I immediately descend into all-out Silkwood shower scene mode.  If you’re not familiar with the story, Meryl Streep portrays the real-life Karen Silkwood, who was a whistleblower on a nuclear facility.  Here is a link to the movie trailer.  The shower scene is at 1:44.  I’ll wait for you to come back . . .

Yup, that would be me.

When I come into any kind of contact with the shiny leaves, I literally hear sirens and alarms in my head. I first plunge my hands into chlorinated pool water. Then it’s a mad dash to the garage to rinse the contaminated area with bleach (I have no idea if this works, but I figure bleach kills everything).  I race back to the pool water, and then into the house to scrub my skin with anti-bacterial soap.  (Not an oil-based soap because that would only spread the ivy oil.)

I’ve never had the poison ivy rash – but I’ve seen it on friends and family, and I’m terrified of the allergic reaction.  Poison ivy is even legendary in Joe’s family.  Here’s the story.  When his grandmother was a little girl growing up on a farm in Brooklyn, her mother gave her and each of her sisters a poison ivy sandwich – that’s one leaf between two slices of bread.  His grandmother and her sisters were then immune to the oil and could actually stand in a field of poison ivy and not have a reaction.

I certainly can’t recommend this because a) it sounds wacky, b) it’s quite dangerous and the jury is still out on the success of such a practice, and c) Joe’s grandmother is no longer with us so I can’t confirm the story.   Personally, I’d rather live by the age old adage, “Leaves of three, leave them be.”

So far, so good – but those spiders sure are getting a lot of laughs at my expense.  I’m just thankful they don’t have any hidden cameras.

31 thoughts on “Smile, You’re On Arachnid Camera!

  1. Oh gosh, you made me laugh!! I detest spiders so webs make me freaky (can a spider be far behind???).

    You know, you might not even be allergic to poison ivy. Not everyone is. I’m not suggesting that you don’t wash, but it’s almost impossible to get every bit of the oil off because it can get on your clothing and pets as well. A good soap to have on hand though for those situations is fels naptha. Hubby does what you do — into the pool, and pass him the bar of soap. (Bleach will do nothing except dry out your hands….)

    Love your post!

    • Believe me, I am in no hurry to learn if I’m allergic or not. I read a statistic that 4 out of 5 people are allergic — so the odds are not in my favor. Thanks for the tip on the soap. It’s on my shopping list! 🙂

  2. The spide story reminds me of either walking down our garden in the orning or going into my shed on the allotment!
    And poison ivy – fortunately I’ve never experienced it, I leave the pool dipping-bleaching to others thanks!

  3. Thank you for making me see that movie trailer, I can’t place it right on the timeline though because Cher looked like in her late 70’s (of age) which means 30ish in plastic surgery years but then Meryl looked very young and the movie quality suggests it was taken 30 years ago… Ok maybe Cher shouldn’t be a term of comparison.
    Anyway the malfunctioning robot move is something worths a try and yes: the broom is far more awkward than shaking hysterically (maybe with a shrill cry)… 🙂

    • Since you brought it up — Cher looks the closest to her real self in that film, which was made long before she was nipped, tucked, and lifted. In fact, she was the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Silkwood, which came out in 1983. I highly recommend the malfunctioning robot move — but you may want to skip the shrill cry. That’s never attractive. 🙂

  4. I can’t imagine eating a poison ivy sandwich! I get poison ivy every year, yep – I’ve had it already this year. Thankfully, my spiders give me a break and usually don’t put their webs where I run into them every day. I bet your neighbors get up early just to watch you walk out to the car! 😉

    • If you look it up on line, there is a school of thought that eating tender young poison ivy leaves can prevent an allergic reaction — but actual results seem to be mixed. In the meantime, cover up and happy scratching. 🙂

  5. I guess I kind of wish you DID have a hidden camera! I don’t think I’ve ever encountered spider webs like you’re describing. Now I’m curious! And your Silkwood reference was very visual for me…I do remember that very well. I think I’d respond to the exposure in just the same way. Poison Ivy is nasty stuff. I have a hard time believing the sandwich story, but it makes a fascinating story! 🙂 Debra

    • Debra, you have not lived until you have walked face first into a web. And when it happens, you will hope that there aren’t any hidden cameras around. 🙂

  6. Our front door is like that with spiders. They string their webs between the front shrubs and inevitably I somehow forget each time that the webs are there and walk in headfirst. Is it a spiders idea of a practical joke?

    • I guess you should consider yourself lucky. I’ve seen some very bad cases. By the way, very interesting post on your site about the death of garden blogging. Once I get my thoughts in order, I’ll comment. Nicely done!

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