It’s a nursery rhyme practically all of us learn as a child: The itsy-bitsy spider. Climbed up the water spout. Down came the rain. And washed the spider out. Out came the sun. And dried up all the rain. And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again
I experienced a version of this nursery rhyme in college. During finals week, I was sitting by myself “studying” for my Magical Mushrooms and Mysterious Fungi class (yes, that was actually a course offered at my University). And I concluded the best place to learn about this “vegetable” was in the kitchen, of course. Due to the serious nature of this class, the mushroom studying was paired with wine drinking – a Pinoir to be specific – because it enhanced the aromas of the mushrooms (I also learned this fact in class, Wines to be specific).
Just as I finally settled into a studying rhythm, the sounds of chirping crickets distracted me. Since the window was open, I didn’t think anything of these noises. Five minutes and another quarter of the bottle of wine bottle later, the crickets started to sound as if they were coming from our living room. I congratulated myself on being intoxicated enough to imagine a cricket soundtrack for my studying. I mean, I was reading about fungi in the woods where crickets ran rampant. But, how could they be in our apartment?
I stood up to investigate, sauntering towards the living room as if I was the sidekick for History Channel’s Explorer extraordinaire Josh Bernstein. As I reached the door, I spotted a cage at the other side of the room and panicked. It had not been there earlier that day. The wine must have given me fake confidence because in reality anything with more than four legs creeped me out. I screamed for reinforcements: “Jane!”
My brave roommate Jane, who lived on the first floor, came to my rescue. “Jane, I think we have an animal who has moved into our living room. I see a cage, but I might be imagining this whole thing.” Jane looked suspiciously guilty. “Actually, I have been meaning to tell you,” she hesitated. I stared back. “Um,” she continued, “So John needed a place to store his crickets,” Jane referenced her boyfriend.
“Why exactly is John keeping a cage of crickets in our living room? Can’t they jump out of it?” I asked her. Looking even more guilty, Jane divulged that there was actually a spider in the cage – a very large and so I’m told quite hairy pet tarantula, which was about the size of my face. The crickets were next to the cage in a box and intended to be the tarantula’s dinner. Jane mumbled some excuse about John’s roommates not wanting the spider in their apartment anymore, but I just tuned her out and I tried to stay calm.
I reacted as rationally as possible, but all I wanted to do was scream. “How could she do this without asking? And during finals week?” The wine tempered my reaction. But, I relocated my studying for the rest of the night and for that matter, the rest of the semester. I refused to go near the living room, in case John’s spider ever broke out of its age and decided to climb up the water spout or anywhere near me.