I need to tell you something before we get to the traumatic event of last night.
I wear makeup when we go out on Saturdays. That’s the only time I will slather my face in paints. I have never worn a lot of makeup. My goal was always to look like a slightly improved version of myself. I had no interest in cat-eye liner and smokey eyes. Even with the minimal amount I used to wear, the thought of putting it on my face became more and more repulsive, especially foundation. For the last six or seven years, I didn’t wear any makeup at all. Ever. Then, sometime around the end of December, I decided to give it a shot again. I purchased a whole set of makeup for about $80, thinking “I used to wear mostly drugstore makeup, so this brand name stuff, even if cheaper, should work at least as well.” I don’t know how familiar you are with makeup, but I’m going to assume someone with even less knowledge of it than me will someday stumble in here and be all “$80 for makeup!? Why that’s just plumb crazy!” Paying $80 for a “full face of makeup,” (foundation, setting powder, shadows, blushes, highlighters, brushes, etc.) and expecting it to be decent, despite just one drugstore foundation alone pricing around $12 is akin to thinking, “I used to wear knock-off Keds from the local dollar store so these newspaper shoes should be just as good.”
It was truly an awful experience, once again, especially the foundation. I went from being able to scratch my nose without a second thought to suddenly being unable to touch my face without potentially swiping off my fake skin. I hate foundation. I hate it. Hate. Hate! HATE! It makes me feel like my face is suffocating, and I cannot tolerate not being able to touch my skin without getting pasty gunk on my fingers. I know I haven’t spoken about my issue here, but I’m telling you now that I am intensely bothered by things on my hands: stickiness and greasiness more than anything else. Dirt? That’s fine. Lotion? That’s fine too. Orange peel juice? I’m dying. The oil from a wedge of cheese? Panic.
So after a day of wearing the uncomfortable mask of makeup, which slowly splits on my moisturized skin like a sheet of curdled milk, I am raring to get it off. Because I’ve very likely touched my face and then touched my hair or arms or clothes, and because I’ve also come into contact with items touched by people who don’t wash their hands after using public restrooms, as well as people who walk around eating buttered popcorn (why is this available everywhere here?!) and then touching baskets, door handles, and everything else, I feel contaminated with grossness, and I have to shower.
Once I get ready to shower, everything I’ve touched is considered “dirty,” and I have to clean those things before I’ll handle them freely again. That means things like my phone, Fitbit, and glasses. I put my items on the bathroom counter, which I will also clean when I’m done, disrobe, and wash the filthy feeling away.
That’s where I was last night…
I had just turned the freezing water off, because our water heater only heats a bucket’s worth of water before it begins cackling and dousing whoever dares to shower in fresh Montana ice water. I stepped out of the shower, performed all the necessary actions (drying off, applying lotion, spritzing or rolling on perfume, etc.), and then prepared to get dressed so I could then clean the shower and my contaminated items. Remember, one of those contaminated items is my glasses, which I obviously can’t see properly without, or I wouldn’t have to wear them, eh?
I had just grabbed my pants, which happened to be my Tiffany Miller yoga pants that had been hiding midway down our “soft pants” drawer, unworn for a few weeks. As I went to put my right leg into the proper slot, I noticed a giant fuzzball. Without my glasses it was hard to see anything clearly, but it looked a lot like the reddish brown fuzzballs that are all over the truck since we put one of our old blankets in the back seat for the dogs. I assumed I had somehow brought the fuzzball with me, which really doesn’t make sense because I do not cross-contaminate my publicly worn popcorn grease clothing with my fresh at-home clothing, but that’s what was in my head. I did what anyone would do, and I slightly shook my pants to get the fuzzball off. Not caring if it was off or not because it’s a fuzzball for Pete’s sake, I slipped my leg in and saw it drop a bit. Ever so slightly annoyed that it was still there, I shook the pants again, this time with my leg more firmly inside. It dropped fast. I assumed it was going to fall off. It then registered through my blurry eyes that this fuzzball was not fluttering down like a fuzzball is supposed to do and was very likely something I didn’t want near my bare skin.
Of course, this is when I semi-panicked.
I could see this fuzzball. Without my glasses. It was a large fuzzball. It was a living fuzzball. It was a large living fuzzball that was big enough to see without my glasses. And it was not leaving my pants, which had my leg tangled up in the limb hole. I brush-shook-twisted the pants at the same time as I was trying to extract my leg from the fuzzball zone. Then…it…was…on…me.
The fuzzball had somehow gone from near the base of my pant leg to my thigh.
I am not afraid of spiders. I tweeted during our homeless time that I had baby spiders on me nearly every day. We had a fishing spider hatch eggs directly above our bed in Connecticut. I noticed the glistening ball of babies next to their not inconsequentially sized mother because hundreds of tiny eyes were reflecting the light. We had a black widow behind the bathroom door here a few years ago. I captured a brown recluse that had run by my bare foot. I encountered a baby tarantula on the kitchen table once. There are cat-faced spiders all over the property, which I’ve mentioned before. We are constantly visited by extremely fast hunting spiders here as well as in Iowa City.
Here’s a picture of one who tried to hide from the camera.
I will not kill jumping spiders; I will allow them to remain inside, untouched. In fact, I once nearly stepped on one who was hopping down the middle of the hallway, and when I saw him, I coaxed him to the side, so I wouldn’t accidentally smoosh him. We have encountered a lot of creepy spiders, and while I don’t love them, I don’t freak out and climb bathroom tiles to escape them either.
This was a HUGE spider directly on my body. It made that one pictured above look like Hagrid next to Grawp. I felt it run down the entirety of my leg. I don’t know if it was looking for a better path or what, but it didn’t run perfectly straight. It rushed over a two-inch wide path from my thigh to my foot and then hid under the counter. I know I made some aaaaahhhhh noise and at least once I gagged a little. Naked-ish, I mean, I put underwear on before pants, you know?, without my glasses, I’m squatting down in our bathroom, looking at this blob that for all I’d know without having just experienced what I had, is a dark chocolate covered almond that had rolled under the sink. I can’t see its legs, they’re too fine for me to make out, but I can see the gigantic body pressed up against the contrasting color of the wood.
I can’t kill big things. I don’t like the squish or the crunch. I just can’t do it. Naturally, I cry out to Brian, who is in the next room. “I NEED YOU RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW!”
“Wha?” he replies in a voice that means he’s busy and is only half hearing that I’ve been traumatized.
“I NEED YOU SO FAST! HELP ME!”
He comes in. I’ve since thrown on a shirt I thoroughly shook out like I’m a Kitchen Aid mixer whose only job is to whip lurking spiders into the walls. I toss a wad of toilet paper at him and gibberish out a panicked version of “There is a humongous spider under the cabinet. Kill it. QUICKLY! Get it. Just get it!” He kneels down faaaaar too slowly for anyone who witnessed the size of this spider, and says, “I don’t see anything.”
In the time I took to destroy the chance of any potential lurking fuzzballs in my shirt, the spider had moved. There aren’t any holes this thing could fit through on the underside of our cabinet that I can see. There is a tiny ledge bit where the front is longer than the base of the cabinet where it could be smashed up against, lying in wait, but who is going to reach up along that corner and see if they find Shelob? I’m blabbing about how “It’s in the house!” and “It was all over me!” and “How can we live here now?!” But he can’t see it so he leaves, returning to his previous activity like I had asked him to please come pick this lovely rose petal off the floor, leaving me in the tiny room with the spider who is growing in my mind like a fish in an old man’s tall tale, with all my cleaning still left to do.
I have never been so bothered by a spider in my entire life. Actually, there was a morning I was getting ready for school while I lived with my grandparents. I had just finished my makeup and hair and glanced down in the little trash bin to see a post-it style piece of paper with a giant spider printed on it. I don’t know where my grandmother had gotten these papers but she had them. I asked her to come in and wondered why she just threw an unused post-it in the garbage, thinking perhaps she was trying to startle me, which she was known to do. I had bent down to get pretty close, not yet wearing my glasses for the day, and confirmed that it was truly just the post-it paper. She came in, I pointed to the trash and mentioned the paper, which she looked at, and then killed the spider that was not a drawing at all. I had my face just about a foot from this wolf spider, and still I didn’t feel the absolute terror this bathroom fuzzball has instilled in me.
It’s still here. Somewhere. There is a seagrass laundry basket directly outside the bathroom door, which would be the perfect hiding hole for the monstrosity. There’s the entire cabinet it could have escaped into as well! What if it makes an egg sac under there?! I even checked the corners under my desk this morning, ten hours after the event, because I was afraid of encountering King Fuzzy again. Look! I just had to check again. Now I know how people feel in their haunted houses. The frightening thing is here. I know it is. I can’t see it, but it’s here, and it could pop out at any time. It could touch me again. It could be the next tickle I feel, the next blanket tug in the middle of the night, the next thump of footfalls.
Did you hear that? It sounded like sinister laughing coming from under the bookcase.
The Addams Family Theme Song