Oakes' View:

After the fires and then the wind that blew black gritty ash down over all of us, I decided I could put it off no longer and I took my long, bristled thingy-on-a-broom- handle, turned on my garden hose (with an auto shut-off nozzle) and began washing down my windows, walls and the ceiling of our veranda.

About an hour into this I felt something tickling me and I looked down into the open neck of my shirt and was struck almost dumb with horror as I spied an enormous, brown/black spider right above my bra.

Screaming didn’t help — although I tried it.

Neither did slapping wildly at my shirt while bent over at the waist.

He was still there, only now he was running wildly from side to side.

“Get hold of yourself, woman!” I shouted to myself inside my head. Outside I was only whimpering, “Do something effective!”

So I reached behind and untied my apron strings, flung off the apron and I was grabbing the front hem of the shirt to pull it off over my head when the calmer me shrieked, “Nooooo!! That’ll put it in my hair!”

OK. So I grabbed the shirt’s back hem and pulled it forward over my head, thereby keeping the front of the shirt off my hair. I threw the shirt on the ground, next to my apron. I reached around in back and unhooked my bra and threw that down and then proceeded to stomp all three items crazily, all while slapping at myself all over from the waist up. After a minute or so of this I ran out of breath and the frenzy started to abate.

Looking up, I saw Royal leaning on his golf club down on the lower lawn watching me with this expression of utter amazement coupled with vast amusement.

“Why didn’t you help me?” I demanded

“Help you what?” he called back.

“There was a huge spider in my shirt!”

“Oh is that what you were doing,” he replied, beatifically.

“Well what the @#%% did you think I was doing, leaping around like that?”

“The tarantella?”

I swear, it’s a miracle there are ANY men left alive. They say these things and just expect we’ll let them live anyway.

Later, as I was examining the clothing piece by piece, microscopically, before burning it, I showed Royal a small brown spot on the front. “Look, I think I got him!”

Royal glanced at it and drawled, “I think it’s more likely you scared him so badly he pooped himself.”

So now I’ve been spider-pooped on as well.

Get in touch LAUREN OAKES is a resident of La Cañada Flintridge and mother of three. She writes occasional columns on a variety of subjects. E-mail her at laurenoakes@charter.net.

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