Lifelong arachnophobe that I am, my left hand reached down in an unauthorized move and deftly scooped the creature from the churning waters, then unceremoniously dumped her on the floor while the rest of my body fainted. I had been running water for a shower, waiting for it to warm up, scowling at all the dead hairs from yesterday in the bottom of my tub, when I felt one brush my bare left shoulder. “Oh great, one more hair away from complete baldness.” Only it wasn’t a hair, but a hair-like leg of a Pacific Northwest house spider with uncommonly long, thin, well, hair-like legs and a body smaller than a lentil.
It was falling from the shower curtain, spiraling downwards toward a swirling spider deathpit. Instantly, my brainstem and insular cortex were at war. “Let the turbulent gush shred it!!” shrieked the brainstem. “It’s struggling so hard not to drown!!” shrieked the cortex. I had made peace with these frail, wispy roommates many years ago, but the agreement is no physical contact. Ignoring the alarms issuing from below, the empathy center overruled. . . . . afterwards I felt supremely evolved.