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Binding with an eight-legged friend

Carrie Click

She and I have been sharing space at my desk at home for quite some time.

I noticed her probably a month ago. There, next to my computer monitor, was my row of reference books: The Random House College Dictionary, a telephone directory I never use, a “Pocket Guide to Correct Grammar,” Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” a Random House “Word Menu,” and the phone book I do use.

I thought she’d made kind of a joke when she spun a pretty elaborate web, right over the top binding of my dictionary, connecting the phone book next to it (the one I never use). She seemed to already know I hadn’t cracked those babies open in some time.



It was a good spot for her. Next to the window, with the heat coming off my computer monitor to keep her warm (do spiders need to stay warm?), she was set up for some good web action – and not the World Wide Web either. All sorts of winged insects happened by that spot – flies, gnats, no-see-ums – and I was only too happy to have her make a snack out of them.

I left her alone and those books I rarely use anyway, and she and I set up a little friendship. It was a pretty low-key friendship for sure, but a friendship nonetheless. She started catching all sorts of bugs in her dictionary-phone book web, and I let her be.



Lately, I haven’t seen her marching up and down the top of the dictionary, mending a section of web here, wrapping up a gnat there, and today, as I worked at my desk, I thought maybe she’d gone. It’s been cold at night. Maybe she went somewhere warmer, away from the windows, or maybe she died. I was hoping for the first option. I had gotten to like her, and even check up on her when I’d get to my desk.

I’m not some kind of spider-fan, but I guess it’s those three billion times I read “Charlotte’s Web” when I was little that endear me to the harmless types of spiders (harmless to humans anyway, but not to flies, gnats and the rest!). Five or six years ago, I got bit by a black widow, and that experience wasn’t a pleasant one. I’ll sacrifice a black widow when I see one if it’s headed for anyone I remotely like or care about.

But little spideys are a different thing. They seem industrious, kind of amazing (when was the last time you spun a web?) and as long as they’re harmless, I’m not going to mess with them.

But tonight, I got stuck on a word (if you must know, it was a simple word, really – it was “syntax.”) I knew basically what it meant, but I was getting ready to use it in a story where I really wanted a grasp of all its ramifications, so I wanted to look it up. Quite by instinct, I reached over and almost grabbed my red dictionary, the very same one that spidey had set up shop.

I stopped and looked around. Was she there somewhere? I hadn’t seen her. I blew softly into the web that she’d constructed, that seemed almost cobwebby now. Nothing moved. I reached for the dictionary, pulled it free of the rest of the web and flipped it open onto the desk.

Suddenly, out she came. Hidden deep in the binding, she was full of vim and vigor and must have been completely horrified by my rudeness. She scurried out and rushed off. I don’t know if she went down the desk leg or lodged herself back inside the dictionary but I can’t find her anywhere. But I’ll tell you that my I’ve peered down my shirt more than once. I’m feeling a little itchy.

Needless to say, the dictionary is back in its place, next to my computer monitor and that phone book I never use. I’m still not entirely sure what “syntax” means. The spider’s web is all ripped up now, and I’m feeling oh, I don’t know, guilty, sad, and hopeful she’s still around.

It’s these little snippets that teach me more about living than practically anything else can. A confrontation with a tiny little spider suddenly makes all the other stuff – bills, miscommunication, the state of our crazy world – seem a lot less worrisome, and a lot more like something I can handle. After all, if a little spider can get knocked completely out of her headquarters in a flash, I think I can handle whatever’s coming to me today.

Still, I’d really like to see her strutting up and down the top of that dictionary again. I hope she comes back.

Carrie Click is a Post Independent staff writer. She spins out columns for Tuesday’s GSPI.She and I have been sharing space at my desk at home for quite some time.

I noticed her probably a month ago. There, next to my computer monitor, was my row of reference books: The Random House College Dictionary, a telephone directory I never use, a “Pocket Guide to Correct Grammar,” Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” a Random House “Word Menu,” and the phone book I do use.

I thought she’d made kind of a joke when she spun a pretty elaborate web, right over the top binding of my dictionary, connecting the phone book next to it (the one I never use). She seemed to already know I hadn’t cracked those babies open in some time.

It was a good spot for her. Next to the window, with the heat coming off my computer monitor to keep her warm (do spiders need to stay warm?), she was set up for some good web action – and not the World Wide Web either. All sorts of winged insects happened by that spot – flies, gnats, no-see-ums – and I was only too happy to have her make a snack out of them.

I left her alone and those books I rarely use anyway, and she and I set up a little friendship. It was a pretty low-key friendship for sure, but a friendship nonetheless. She started catching all sorts of bugs in her dictionary-phone book web, and I let her be.

Lately, I haven’t seen her marching up and down the top of the dictionary, mending a section of web here, wrapping up a gnat there, and today, as I worked at my desk, I thought maybe she’d gone. It’s been cold at night. Maybe she went somewhere warmer, away from the windows, or maybe she died. I was hoping for the first option. I had gotten to like her, and even check up on her when I’d get to my desk.

I’m not some kind of spider-fan, but I guess it’s those three billion times I read “Charlotte’s Web” when I was little that endear me to the harmless types of spiders (harmless to humans anyway, but not to flies, gnats and the rest!). Five or six years ago, I got bit by a black widow, and that experience wasn’t a pleasant one. I’ll sacrifice a black widow when I see one if it’s headed for anyone I remotely like or care about.

But little spideys are a different thing. They seem industrious, kind of amazing (when was the last time you spun a web?) and as long as they’re harmless, I’m not going to mess with them.

But tonight, I got stuck on a word (if you must know, it was a simple word, really – it was “syntax.”) I knew basically what it meant, but I was getting ready to use it in a story where I really wanted a grasp of all its ramifications, so I wanted to look it up. Quite by instinct, I reached over and almost grabbed my red dictionary, the very same one that spidey had set up shop.

I stopped and looked around. Was she there somewhere? I hadn’t seen her. I blew softly into the web that she’d constructed, that seemed almost cobwebby now. Nothing moved. I reached for the dictionary, pulled it free of the rest of the web and flipped it open onto the desk.

Suddenly, out she came. Hidden deep in the binding, she was full of vim and vigor and must have been completely horrified by my rudeness. She scurried out and rushed off. I don’t know if she went down the desk leg or lodged herself back inside the dictionary but I can’t find her anywhere. But I’ll tell you that my I’ve peered down my shirt more than once. I’m feeling a little itchy.

Needless to say, the dictionary is back in its place, next to my computer monitor and that phone book I never use. I’m still not entirely sure what “syntax” means. The spider’s web is all ripped up now, and I’m feeling oh, I don’t know, guilty, sad, and hopeful she’s still around.

It’s these little snippets that teach me more about living than practically anything else can. A confrontation with a tiny little spider suddenly makes all the other stuff – bills, miscommunication, the state of our crazy world – seem a lot less worrisome, and a lot more like something I can handle. After all, if a little spider can get knocked completely out of her headquarters in a flash, I think I can handle whatever’s coming to me today.

Still, I’d really like to see her strutting up and down the top of that dictionary again. I hope she comes back.

Carrie Click is a Post Independent staff writer. She spins out columns for Tuesday’s GSPI.She and I have been sharing space at my desk at home for quite some time.

I noticed her probably a month ago. There, next to my computer monitor, was my row of reference books: The Random House College Dictionary, a telephone directory I never use, a “Pocket Guide to Correct Grammar,” Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” a Random House “Word Menu,” and the phone book I do use.

I thought she’d made kind of a joke when she spun a pretty elaborate web, right over the top binding of my dictionary, connecting the phone book next to it (the one I never use). She seemed to already know I hadn’t cracked those babies open in some time.

It was a good spot for her. Next to the window, with the heat coming off my computer monitor to keep her warm (do spiders need to stay warm?), she was set up for some good web action – and not the World Wide Web either. All sorts of winged insects happened by that spot – flies, gnats, no-see-ums – and I was only too happy to have her make a snack out of them.

I left her alone and those books I rarely use anyway, and she and I set up a little friendship. It was a pretty low-key friendship for sure, but a friendship nonetheless. She started catching all sorts of bugs in her dictionary-phone book web, and I let her be.

Lately, I haven’t seen her marching up and down the top of the dictionary, mending a section of web here, wrapping up a gnat there, and today, as I worked at my desk, I thought maybe she’d gone. It’s been cold at night. Maybe she went somewhere warmer, away from the windows, or maybe she died. I was hoping for the first option. I had gotten to like her, and even check up on her when I’d get to my desk.

I’m not some kind of spider-fan, but I guess it’s those three billion times I read “Charlotte’s Web” when I was little that endear me to the harmless types of spiders (harmless to humans anyway, but not to flies, gnats and the rest!). Five or six years ago, I got bit by a black widow, and that experience wasn’t a pleasant one. I’ll sacrifice a black widow when I see one if it’s headed for anyone I remotely like or care about.

But little spideys are a different thing. They seem industrious, kind of amazing (when was the last time you spun a web?) and as long as they’re harmless, I’m not going to mess with them.

But tonight, I got stuck on a word (if you must know, it was a simple word, really – it was “syntax.”) I knew basically what it meant, but I was getting ready to use it in a story where I really wanted a grasp of all its ramifications, so I wanted to look it up. Quite by instinct, I reached over and almost grabbed my red dictionary, the very same one that spidey had set up shop.

I stopped and looked around. Was she there somewhere? I hadn’t seen her. I blew softly into the web that she’d constructed, that seemed almost cobwebby now. Nothing moved. I reached for the dictionary, pulled it free of the rest of the web and flipped it open onto the desk.

Suddenly, out she came. Hidden deep in the binding, she was full of vim and vigor and must have been completely horrified by my rudeness. She scurried out and rushed off. I don’t know if she went down the desk leg or lodged herself back inside the dictionary but I can’t find her anywhere. But I’ll tell you that my I’ve peered down my shirt more than once. I’m feeling a little itchy.

Needless to say, the dictionary is back in its place, next to my computer monitor and that phone book I never use. I’m still not entirely sure what “syntax” means. The spider’s web is all ripped up now, and I’m feeling oh, I don’t know, guilty, sad, and hopeful she’s still around.

It’s these little snippets that teach me more about living than practically anything else can. A confrontation with a tiny little spider suddenly makes all the other stuff – bills, miscommunication, the state of our crazy world – seem a lot less worrisome, and a lot more like something I can handle. After all, if a little spider can get knocked completely out of her headquarters in a flash, I think I can handle whatever’s coming to me today.

Still, I’d really like to see her strutting up and down the top of that dictionary again. I hope she comes back.

Carrie Click is a Post Independent staff writer. She spins out columns for Tuesday’s GSPI.


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