at the level of your eyes…

Every morning, when I leave the house, I find myself mentally echoing the words from The Phantom of the Opera… “keep your hand at the level of your eyes!”. Wait, you mean other normal people don’t start their day this way? If you are one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t know what I mean, then remember that the Phantom was known for garroting people, and hanging them during the middle of operatic productions. You needed that advice, in order to survive.

Well, if you knew how many times I’ve walked into a spider strand, you’ll understand how similar the situation is to the aforementioned one. Right? Because getting a spiderweb in the face is a matter of life or death? Well, it was to some of my summer staff girls, a few years ago.

I’m always finding those spider strands, with my face, strung between a car and a motorcycle. It’s a nasty feeling, getting one of them right across your nose or mouth. But usually, they come unaccompanied. The spider must be somewhere else, yelling at me for messing up their handiwork.

And then, it happened. My arachnophobic, bug-o-phobic friends and former summer staffers will appreciate this. For all the times I rescued you from anything that crawled in front of you (I didn’t enjoy it, you know!), or laughed over it… Remember, I thought of you.

I left the house, first thing in the morning, with my hands almost full. Once I was under the tree, approaching my car, I walked right into a partially built web. And right before my eyes, I saw one or two things crawling around. I admit it. I squealed like a little girl. Twice. I just stood there, unable to think what to do, without dropping my things, and made that same noise that I’d heard from all my summer staff girls (and some of the guys).

Fortunately, my mom was a few feet away, and she came over to free me. There was something mesmerizing about seeing that reddish spider, that close to your face, so I just couldn’t manage to move. I let out two wails, and froze.

After that, I left for work, feeling like I’d failed somehow. No, really, I managed to laugh, later. It reminded me of that time we went to Seabrook, and a larger spider built an entire web… while we were at dinner… across our doorway. At head level. The part I can’t remember is if I walked into it, or someone else. I wouldn’t rememeber it so vividly, if it hadn’t been me. I think I almost walked into it, felt webby strands on my forehead, and freaked. That time, I had my hands free. I did have the presence of mind to get a broom and sweep the eager builder out of the door, but I’m pretty sure I was checking my head for creepy-crawlies for some time, afterwards.

But if you ever drive by my house, first thing in the morning, and you see me holding up my hand in front of my face, as I walk, know that I’m not waving at you. I’m not shading my eyes from the sun. I’m protecting myself from spiderwebs, and their menacing inhabitants. As all reasonably sane people should do.

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