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Thursday, August 04, 2005


It's a busy time at work right now. Like many financial analysts, the first few days after the end of a month are extremely hectic, trying to figure out what last minute entries have hit the books. In an effort to curb stress, I've made a habit of going outside for a smoke about once every hour and a half or so.

(I know, "Smoking's bad for you! It'll kill you!" It's not a permanent thing-- just long enough to get me through this closing period and then I'm on the wagon again.)

So, my smoking location of choice is a little picnic area designated for people in need of Vitamin N, right outside one of the big-ass buildings on the campus. It's kind of ramshackled, but it suits everyone's purposes, I guess. It's basically shoved into this corner surrounded by a "trailer" used by the building maintenance people to store cleaning supplies and stuff.

A couple of days ago, I noticed this spider down in the corner of the smoking area. The body of the spider isn't any bigger than a Tic-Tac, but it's legs have to be about 4 inches long. Think of a fierce-as-hell-looking daddy-long-legs, but with a web. I'd say total length of this thing has to be about 5 inches or so, and it's this really creepy silvery-black color that would make anyone cringe.

Full disclosure-- I hate spiders. I'm not afraid of them or anything (my real fear is of bees-- a story for another time), but they still creep me out. If this guy was placed just right, I would have killed the thing, but of course it wasn't and I wouldn't be able to get at it without getting cobwebs all over myself.

So, I started fucking with it. Last week, I tried to flick an ash from my cigarette directly at the spider, but it landed in the heart of it's web. The spider, at lightning speed, dashed across the web, pounced upon the ash that I had deposited into its lair, tasted it (or tried to bite it) and then threw it a good foot and scurried back into the corner of its web.

WOW, I thought. That was really cool!!! So, for the remainder of the cigarette and for every cigarette for about three days after that, I kept doing the same thing. Once, he picked up the ash without tasting it and attempted to wrap it up in webbing... kind of funny to watch him do this, because as he started to wrap web around it, the ash fell apart, and he was left holding this ball of web and ash from his ass. Dejected, he snapped the web off, dropped it, and crawled back into the corner.

Anyway, this spider still creeps me out a bit, but I've stopped messing with it. And as creepy as I thought he once was, I think he's kind of cool looking now. I saw him catch a bug yesterday and kind of psyched for him. I watched him bite the head of a fly for about five seconds, watched the fly go limp, and Freddy started mummifying the thing. I've seen little mummified bugs in a web before, but I've never seen a spider actually consuming a bug (outside late night Discovery shows when I was in college).

I've even named him-- Freddy. [I wish I had a picture of Freddy... maybe I'll bring my camera tomorrow and post it up here.] It's kind of nice to come by every day and see if Freddy's still there and what he's doing... usually perched in his little corner of his web, waiting for a fly to bite the head off of.

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