Sunday, December 26, 2010

little miss muffett does a bit of reading

Trust your instincts.

One of the first things my father taught me.  And it is a rule that has served with well in life. 

On tests.  When ordering in a restaurant.  Everything but romance.

I should have listened a little closer to that life lesson this week.

We have been having some unseasonably cool weather here in the tropics.  The night temperatures have dropped into the lower 60s.

For those of you who are teakettle deep in snow or rain, I know that does not sound like much.  I can scent the crocodile tears from here.  (Wait.  That may be from the laguna.)

But, when you are accustomed to days where temperatures stay in the 70s all through the night, that dive means something.  During the festival events in the evening, it often looked as if the Inuit had sent a large delegation to town -- parkas and all.  Even I wore a long sleeved shirt over an undershirt.

When the sun is out, I have been taking advantage of its heat.  Most of the places where I like to read are in the shade.  But I spotted an old plastic chair in the garden that would be easy to move into the sun for a tad of reading. 

I should point out this is one of the advantages of a Kindle over an iPad.  I can actually read my Kindle in the sun.

When I started moving the chair, I noticed that grackles had been using it as a bombing target.  That was not a bother.  I have sat on worse.

But I also noticed a lot of sticky spots.  Almost like conifer sap.  I then realized it came from the mango tree.  And, even though a bit hardened by the sun, it was still too sticky to sit on.  (If you click on the photograph you can see them.  The dark spots.)

I started to get the garden hose.  But I quickly rejected the idea. 

After all, I would have to walk all the way across the garden to turn on the pump for the well water, wash down the chair, and then walk all the way back to turn off the pump.  What would I have then?  A wet chair.  Easier simply to wash my shorts -- if they got spotty.

So, I sat smugly in my laziness.  Reading about some political catastrophe or other in the news.

And then I felt it.  Movement.  On my arms.  On my legs.  My first reaction was the pesky little ants that we have everywhere here had paid an unexpected call.

But if you look at the blown-up version of the photograph, you will see another clue that I initially missed.  The underside of the chair is traversed with spider silk.

What I thought were ants turned out to be a new hatch of baby spiders.

They were all over me.  Apparently, moving the chair into the sun was their signal to start looking for a home of their own.

Here was my dilemma.  I like spiders.  They do an incredible amount of good in the garden.  Especially against my sworn enemy -- the mosquitoes.  But their very number was a bit spooky.

Getting them off of me was not going to be easy without a bit of arachnid genocide.  Waiting for them to leave was not going to work, either.  Some appeared to be happy to take up residence on me.

So, I gently blew.  Then brushed.  Shook out my shirt and shorts.  But to no avail.  I eventually retreated to the shower for a ritual baptism of the spiders.

If I had stuck with my first instinct to wash off the chair, I would have avoided this little episode. 

But I would also have missed a good story.


jackie said...

Eeew! That would have made me crazy.

Islagringo said...

LOL! The sacrifices we make for our readers and a good story!

Anonymous said...

So, does this vignette now signal a stylistic move in your blog to Steven King? What's next? Waking up to a knot of snakes on your bed, a scorpion in your cereal? A mad slobbering dog pounding on the windshield of your car?

Or is this the beginning of your St Francis of Assisi phase when you learn to speak to the birds and all things that crawl upon the earth?


Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

UGH. I have seen a spider nest come to life and it is too much...I cannot imagine having them running around on you. Oh, I'm feeling sick.

Steve Cotton said...

Jackie -- It was far more interesting than spooky.

Islagringo -- A good story is always one where I do not come out too well in the end.

ANM -- I was thinking more along the lines of Edgar Allan Poe meets Mother Teresa. But the Stephen King - St. Francis model will do just as well.

Cynthia -- But, you know from your own experience, there are always more slitherry tales to be related down here. I am beginning to understand why Mexicans are so enamored of such tales.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

That was fun. You're a wordsmith.
You and Felipe can make picking a banana an award winning experience.