I have never, ever been a fan of spiders. In fact, when I see one, I usually find the nearest heavy object in which to smash them to smithereens. My capacity to actually care about the life of a spider surprised me recently.
My job can be quite solitary. There are people who come in and out, but for all intents and purposes, I work alone most of the time. One morning in May, I noticed what I thought was a Daddy long-legs spider hanging from a web behind the door to my office. Of course, my first reaction was to kill him, but something made me stop and reconsider its life. He (she? it?) wasn’t threatening me and he was actually kind of cute. The next thought I had was to gently put him outside, but even that seemed cruel and heartless. So, Abe (as I named him) stayed. He hung around, literally, for a few days and became part of my space. He was always out in view in the morning, but by the afternoon, he found places to hide, I presumed. One day, Abe wasn’t in his usual spot, but had found a new place not far away, but in a much more open area. I did start to worry that someone else might see him and stomp him, but every morning, he was out and every afternoon, he was hiding again. I looked forward to seeing him. I realize that this sounds crazy. I also started noticing more spiders, so I guess he was procreating. There were at least 4 other spiders taking up residence in the office and I decided to let them all live, even though I was momentarily freaked out every time I saw one in a new place.
Yesterday, I came in to the office late and a co-worker who only comes in occasionally was there. She joyfully declared that she had killed “at least 4 spiders” and I guess she expected praise, but I was mortified and quite saddened. After she left, I looked in all their usual places, but there were no spiders to be found. I mourned Abe and his family and tried to console myself with the fact that they had lived inside the office for almost 2 months.
This morning, out of habit, I looked for Abe and he was there, in his usual place. I can only surmise that he knew he was in danger and ran for his life as fast as his 8 legs could travel.
I hope to see many more little Abes very soon. Does this mean every spider who enters my personal space will be welcomed? Probably not, but this experience has taught me about the infinite capacity to care for even the smallest, most feared among us.