The Rain and the Spider

July 30th, 2008

I actually fulfilled a good intention I have been meaning to get around to this morning.

I got up before the sun and went for a strenuous walk of non-trivial duration. Earlier this year for a week or so I managed to get myself up out of bed early enough to go for a long, fast-paced walk for about two weeks in a row. Then the weather (I think) dis-cooperated and broke my habit.

I don’t know if my body will go along with my plans again tomorrow morning, or the morning after to create a new habit, but if it does I don’t think the weather will be forming the barrier to habitization it did back when there was snow on the ground like the last time I tried.

In fact, on this, the first day of my new undertaking, the weather tried mightily to confound my effort and failed.

I was about six blocks from home when I remembered that Ruth had said that today was, according to the TV weatherman, supposed to be “the wet one” this week. I remembered her proclamation because I felt a few drizzly drops and realized I had been seeing (thought not fully registering) flashes of lightning several times as I’d made my way uptown.

I was at about the half way point of a decent route and decided to loop back around instead of extending my path up the next block. As I turned left, I thought I detected an increase in the precipitation, but I wasn’t sure. I figured there was nothing to do but keep going anyway and I could decide at a later point to finish the loop I was on or extend it in the other direction when I was closer to home.

As I approached the turn to take me back home from the loop I was on I decided to extend one block and if conditions recommended, simply turn around and retrace that block and make the turn I’d just passed. Before I reached the middle of the block conatining the designated decision point, I realized the slight drizzle had progressed to very light rain. However I had also reasoned that when I got home I’d be getting right in the shower anyway, so I needn’t worry about getting wet.

I must say that in all my almost forty years on planet earth, I do not recall ever having intentionally walked in any kind of rain other than a sprinkle for a distance longer than say, running from the front door to the car. I do not recally ever having done so before today, that is.

As I passed the point at which I had planned to either abort or extend my mission (I had decided to extend) the rainfall increased in density steadily. I remember noting to myself as I walked along the increasing intensity of the downfall.

· Yeah, I guess it’s actually raining now… for real
· This has now transitioned from ‘just raining’ to a ‘pretty decent’ rain.
· OK, now it’s really coming down!

Thoughts along these lines continued constantly trending upwards until this:

· It is POURING down now.

Walking with my head down staring at the sidewalk in front of me I still had to keep squeezing my eyes shut and trying to wipe away the water from them with my fingers like windshield wipers againts my tightly clenched eyelids. It was getting a bit chilly, too, in my totally saturated t-shirt and jeans. The temperature was probably about 72° F and a bit windy. Not being a hypocondriac in the least (in fact I tend in the other direction to figure that if I can still move a limb and no arteries are severed, a doctor is not required) and prone to ignore such conditions when striving doggedly towards a goal, I was nonetheless reminded of hearing the story told by a historical reenactor portraying Martha Washington how our nation’s first president met his untimely end. George had been riding all day, it seems, in a terrible rainstorm and had just gotten home about suppertime. He stomped in shedding his sodden coat and hat and sat down, against the entreaties of Martha that he at least change into dry clothes, and ate supper. George was a stickler for prompt mealtimes. He was also dead within the month from the sickness his decision to eat on time (and in cold, wet clothes) he earned him.

Though my eyes were beginning to feel quite irritated by the influx of rainwater and the chill beginning to seep into me, I finally arrived at my front door. Standing in our entryway I was now cold and clammy from the touch of my wet clothes. I peeled off my t-shirt and let it drop to the tiled floor with a loud splapt. Fortunately the laces of my boots were not overly recalcitrant and I was soon in the bathroom running warm water for a shower.

As I waited for the water to heat up I looked at myself in the mirror and saw that my eyes were indeed irritated. The entire white of each eye was almost pink with bloodshot. It would have been an appropriate look for a horror movie.

As I got in the shower once it was hot, I was thinking about my red eyes and my mind did not dwell the least bit, or even have the least glimmer in the background of an incident from the night before last. Gideon had been in the bathroom taking care of business when he shouted for Ruth.

“Mom! I’m on the potty and there’s a big spider in here!”

Ruth came to see what the hubbub was about and sure enough there was a US quarter coin sized spider hanging a few inches from the ceiling by a thread of web.

“Don’t worry, Gideon,” she teased “He won’t bite you if you don’t bite him.”

Well, the next day Ruth mentioned idly wondering where the spider had gone because it wasn’t up on the ceiling where it had been. In fact she hadn’t seen it.

I had just got done shampooing my hair and had reached out to grab a bottle of body wash. It was a red Wal-Greens brand bottle with our last name neatly hand lettered in Rub-a-Dub permanent marker on it since it was the one Isaiah had taken to camp with him last week.

These two seemingly unrelated things came together in sharp juxtaposition as I simultaneoulsy grabbed and dropped the bottle to the floor of the shower upon seeing that stupid spider three inches from my hand. So I guess the spider is half-smart. He figured it wise to make his primary location on the other side of the shower curtain where he didn’t have to see and be seen by us, but he didn’t realize that not only is that a relatively bug free region, but every morning (at least) he’d be exposed to an even greater (due to proportional size differences) deluge than the one I had just escaped. As a thought provoking aside, isn’t it funny how the apparent size of a spider is directly proportional to it’s proximity to one’s person? That is, the closer they are the bigger they seem– far more than can be accounted for by the normal foreshortening effect of perspective.

And in conclusion, I’m not dead yet and feel fine so hopefully I will die of old age (at an old age) instead of from a fatal chill as did the father of our nation.

And since I’ve stayed up far later than I meant to, having begun this account far past my bedtime, I’m not sure whether I’ll be concerned about the weather in the morning or not.