[Originally written May 10, 2006]
If you've been reading this religiously (and I know you have...), you'd know that a couple weeks ago, I had a bit of a showdown with a spider. Even after committing "arachnicide", I still felt pretty damn bad about it, and got some hate-mail (ok ONE hate-mail) about killing creatures that have a job to do, that actually help, yada yada yada....everything that made me feel even more guilty.
At any rate, I had mentioned in the post that I HAD tried to let the 8-legged-demons live and prosper and enjoy a healthy little arachnid life, and that, unfortunately, the experience in the shower that fateful morning had changed my plan...all must die! Well, after the hate-mail, I decided to go back to my original concept of live-and-let-live, and put a ceasefire on the killing spree I had planned.
Yesterday, I was balancing my checkbook (one of those feel-good operations that I adore doing when I need to clear my head...), and as I was pulling some past-due bills out, I noticed a sizable moth, sitting quietly on the National Grid envelope. "Live or die? Live or die?" I think. "The spiders could take care of this winged creature...or, I could save it the agony of the 2-fanged clutches and put him out of his misery with one swipe...."
"No....this guy isn't doing any harm...he's just trying to live his moth-life...sitting motionless until something startles his dust-covered-tissue-paper wings. Then he'll move on to what I assume is stage 2 of a moth's short life, and fly around haphazardly, slamming into walls, chasing lightbulbs, circling over and over until he once again lands safely on another utility's invoice...let him live. He's got his own beauty anyways. Those dark, but iridescent wings, sprinkled with a protective dusty coating....long legs that seem to have 1970's-leather-jacket fringe hanging from them....cute little button nose..."
I go back to enjoying my laborious task at hand. He lives.
This morning, I get in the shower, again, quite similarly to the situation with the spider just a few weeks ago. Innocent me, padding up to the bathroom door, just tryin' to get clean.
As the warm water starts to hit my face, I notice a big, dark spot to the upper right. "Oh fuck. Another super-spider," I shudder, "I've had enough demons to face this week."
But no, it's my little friend the moth (I should refer to him as "Terrance" at this point, as that is what I feel he would have liked to have been called.) Terrance sat, again motionless, at the northeast corner of the shower.
"Hey, Ter...how's it going? You here to bring me a message? Or are you just a pervert in moth's clothing?"
Either way, I continue my shower, and feel....comfortable. As I turned around to give a final rinse, I notice Terrance's wings started fluttering a bit. Was he getting residual spray from the shower head that probably needs a good CLR soak? Or is he trying to give me a message? (Yeah, I'm getting all existential in the shower these days....)
In a New York minute, he's now at my feet, his wet wings clinging to the tub and he's struggling to upright himself. "NO TERRANCE...NOOOOO" I'm shouting in my head. "I wanted you to live for a reason....not sure WHAT that reason was...but come on, I'm noble for sparing you...you're not gonna give up on me now!!!"
With the precision of a brain surgeon, I try and try to get him to his feet....but his tissue wings are getting wetter and weaker by the moment. "Maybe my fingers are too sturdy for this job," I think, and quickly grab the rubber-coated end of my razor.
"Come on, Terrance, work with me, we can do this."
I cautiously but diligently try to flip him to his front legs, without damaging his wings. But like a tragic movie, I start to see the dust that blankets his appendages slowly drain through the water. At this point, I've turned from a skilled brain surgeon into a manic ER doctor, pounding on the chest of a new, young patient who's crashing on the table. I'm desperate, I'm sweating, I'm almost in tears.
"Not now, buddy....not on my table! The spider didn't get you...I'll be damned if I let my shower be your final adventure."
His legs are still kicking, yet starting to slow in both frequency and strength.
I finally get him to his front-side, and gingerly lay him on an empty plastic box that's reserved for Olay Daily Facial cloths. He lay lifeless, with one tiny wing missing a chunk.
If I could have given CPR to this little fella, I would have. I stared at Terrance for a good 3-4 minutes.
"Maybe once he dries up a bit, he'll take flight again, and all will be good with the world."
As far as I know, at this very moment, Terrance's lifeless body still lies on the Olay box. Gross, you may be thinking, there's a dead insect in the place that is reserved for cleanliness!
But - and possibly this says a whole lot about me and my spirit - he may not be dead after all...he went through a pretty traumatic experience, and gave it all he had. I fully believe he wanted to live, which is why he got a little help. With a little help from me, he was spared the spider's wrath, and got a good washing in the process.
So, the journey from letting the spiders take over my home, to waging an all out war on them, to saving a moth, TWICE, has been a cathartic one.
But I don't think this is the end.
I'm sure there are more battles to be waged, more saving to be done...and honestly, I'm kind of looking forward to it. "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger", some obviously beaten-down soul once said.
But maybe what kills you, IS your strength. I didn't give up on Terrance, because he didn't give up on me.
The water may have tried to kill Terrance....but in the end, he came out clean.