I, the girl who has fridge magnets which read “A mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework” and “You can touch the dust, but please don’t write in it” am embarking on a thorough spring-clean. (Well, summer, really. But it’s nearly spring in the northern hemisphere.) And it’s all because of a spider. Specifically, a huntsman. A largish huntsman. On the back of my bedroom door.
(Huntsman, n. All-too-common Australian spider. Technically harmless but potentially terrifying. Available in sizes ranging from tiny to titanic. Possessed of the ability to squeeze into spaces you wouldn’t think could accommodate a silverfish. Capable of continuing to stagger about after being half-drowned in fly spray. And the thing in the world of which I am most paralysingly phobic.)
Fortunately, it ran away from me when I shrieked and allowed me to escape to spend a nervous night in the spare room. Unfortunately, it has since disappeared, and I don’t trust it to have gone back outside. Hence the clean-out. Monday evening I doused the door- and window-frames in surface spray, which turned out to be truly noxious and rendered the room untenable. This necessitated the removal for airing of anything which might have absorbed the stink (very quickly, while armed with a sturdy broom and telling myself, They’re nocturnal. They’re nocturnal. They’re nocturnal).
Then I took the opportunity to vacuum. And then I thought, This carpet really needs shampooing. The skirting boards could do with a wash. I should probably empty the chest of drawers so I can drag it forward and dust and surface-spray the back (then give the place another 48-hour airing). And the crooked cupboard in the corner - the one I found on moving in and appropriated to become the Leaning Tower of Stuff - needs to go. The more so as the damn thing is probably hiding behind it.
Ah, paranoia. Under the right circumstances, such a powerful motivating force. I know I’ll never be able to rest easy in that room until I’ve proved to myself that it’s spider-free, so I might as well scrub the place to within an inch of its life while I’m at it. I suspect the spare room will resemble a junk shop by the time I’m ready to put everything back where it belongs, but at least I’ll be able to sleep without worrying about unwanted bedfellows.
And, wannabe novelist that I am, I’ve been taking great care to note all my reactions to the unfolding crisis in case they’ll come in handy in a plot somewhere!