I noticed the black speck on the ceiling above our master bedroom shower at the end of the night while I was getting ready for bed.

A spider.

I make a mental note to look for her before I step into the shower in the morning.

Sure enough, she’s in there, hanging out on a strand of silk strung from the shower head.

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I debate grabbing a tissue and squishing her or knocking her down so that she’ll fall into the water pooling at the bottom of the shower and drown and/or get sucked down the drain.

But, I can’t.

I have a soft-spot for bugs, even spiders. I was that kid who admonished the boys burning/stomping on ants and pulling the legs off a daddy long legs. I thought it was cruel and senseless.

Insects and spiders don’t hurt anyone. They just go about their little bug lives…building tunnels, laying eggs, feasting on decomposing matter. They have value.

When I worked at the Erie Zoo after college, I sometimes did outreach programs, I often took at least one insect — the Madascan hissing cockroaches were a favorite, as were the Giant African Milipedes.

Once I got past the creepy feeling of a half dozen (or five dozen) tiny feet crawling over my hand or arm, I learned to love handling insects. They never bit (few even have regular mouths), they never protested when I reached in to get them (aside from a little hissing from the roaches, which is really just air they are squeezing out of holes in their abdomen) and they didn’t usually try to run away.

Today, I’m the one rushing to save any insects I find in the office, giving them a ride to the other side of my windowsill and into the lush land surrounding Glenhill Farmhouse before any of my bug-hating office mates flush them.

charlotte1

So I ponder what to do with my little black shower buddy.  I should take her outside, but it’s cold and I’m naked.  She reminds me of Charlotte, from Charlotte’s Web.

She’s out of the way of the harsh spray and I can turn on the water and shower without killing her and/or encouraging her to crawl on me, which would result in an immediate death penalty.

I decide to let her stay and leave her future up to fate.

I watch her as I shower. She desperately trying to crawl up the thread and get back on the ceiling, but her eight tiny legs slip on the wet shower surround. She tries climbing down, but that’s where the water is pounding. She’s stuck, so she finally stops and just hangs on between the shower head and shower handle, four of her legs nervously stroking the silk strand. Or maybe she was building a safety net, who knows?

When I turn off the water 10 minutes later, she’s still there. Still hanging on for dear life. I leave her be.

That evening, she’s still there.

“Haven’t learned your lesson, eh?” I say. “Well, today is your lucky day, Charlotte. You’ve won and all expenses paid trip to the great outdoors.”

I grab a piece of toilet paper. Gently squeezing my little friend between my thumb and forefinger, I deposit her on the back steps that lead to the pool.

I figure she’ll be happy there. She seems to like living near the water.