I know summer has come to Utah because I live in a basement.
Stick with me here.
The only window in the basement is the one right next to my desk, so I feel satisfied that I'm getting a little bit of real light and at least a faint idea of how long a day might happen to be. My poor children, therefore, have no window in their room, but must have lights on while they are in there playing. The bathroom, however, is dark unless we happen to need to do something in there. So, it is the darkest, coolest room in the house no matter the time of year.
Dark, cool places often attract the more jibbly-inducing of God's creatures.
At the start of summer, I forget this and frequently enter the bathroom without the prerequisite armor and war hammer.
Enter here the explanatory flash-back:
This is me at five.
Aww! I know! Aren't I precious!
At this age and for many years following, I was the family proclaimed "Animal Queen". I had vast stores of knowledge of the animal kingdom and loved sharing it with everyone. I could tell you intricate details about the habits, habitats and other habs of critters large and small. If you asked me what my favorite animal was, I would earnestly and sincerely say, "All of them!"
As such, I became the self-designated creature protector of the house. If a roly-poly happened to get lost in the living room carpet, I would hastily swoop in and rescue it so that it would escape the certain death that were my parents and older siblings. The same went for caterpillars, beetles, ants, spiders (yes, spiders) and so on. Cockroaches were the one exception to that rule. For some reason I have always found them disgusting and creepy. I would carry each precious creature out to the yard in my bare hand.. yes, my bare hand. Unless I wasn't sure of the species of spider, then I used a piece of paper.
I recall a time sometime after we moved to Albuquerque and before I gained a sense of my own mortality. A small lizard found its way into the house and my sister and mother somewhat hysterically called for my help. A merry chase ensued and several exhausting minutes later, I was setting the poor thing loose in the back yard.
There are many other tales... the bird I rescued from one of our cats, the time my sister, who was perched on the kitchen table, phoned me in a panic because a psuedo-scorpion was on the kitchen floor... you get the idea.
The reason I mention all this is because, somewhere along the line, I lost this fearlessness with the many-legged creatures of this world. When, how or why, I really can't begin to explain or even comprehend.
Back to the bathroom: I blithely entered the bathroom to take a shower the other day. I tested the water, turned on the shower head and stepped in. When I turned around, what did I see? A frantic little spider was desperately trying to climb the slick sides of the tub. It wasn't running AT me, like some of the urban legends proclaim some spiders do, but it was trying its darnedest to escape.
And what did the grown woman that is me do?
It was just a little scream, but a scream nonetheless.
I pounded on the bathroom wall, knowing that my dear, brave husband would rescue me.
A few moments later, he did not disappoint and after scolding me for not checking the shower before stepping in, he squished the poor little guy and put him in the toilet.
I suppose if I had been thinking at the time, I could have explained away my lack of fortitude and overabundance of cowardice:
I was dripping wet already and so grabbing a wad of toilet paper to squish the spider would have resulted in a gooey mess.
I was taken utterly by surprise and didn't have my game face on.
I had my mind on other things... my book club reading assignment, the novel I'm beta-reading, my children trying to find sneaky ways of injuring each other while making it look accidental, my husband's broken finger, the novel I've been trying to write since I was eighteen.
I was in my birthday suit.
I didn't have my armor and war hammer handy, as the aforementioned birthday suit suggests.
Am I still the "Animal Queen" as I once was as a child?
Even a Queen must have her Champion.
Here's to Sir Ben, slayer of the peeping-spiders.