Friday, October 23, 2009

What Makes a Pest?

Our previous domicile, due to a vast confluence of circumstances, was beset by vermin. Domestic partner, a science geek through and through, had an elaborate ecosystem theory of relationships, but all I knew was that we had mice and we had roaches; infinitely preferable to rats and waterbugs, but not nearly as nice as nothing at all. When our crazy next door neighbors moved out, there was a lull in the onslaught, but the continued presence of chicken bones in the hallway ensured a constant stream of new visitors.

I was a malicious and feared warlord. I treated the violators of our borders with a Ghengis Khan-like ferocity, and did enjoy their deaths. I am reminded of a SNL sketch for a roach motel that not only kills the roach but tortures it along the way. Chucking mice attached to glue traps out the window to, I fervently hoped, upset my super, was the only pleasure I derived on some days.

On our first day in the new house, I stumbled upon something I had, quite possibly, never seen before: a slug. I hear tell that slugs are pests that, aside from being icky, eat things homeowners would prefer were not eaten. But he was so cute, slimily meandering through our yard. I named him Harold.

Our house in general has, what I would venture to guess, is the single most sympathetic environmental conditions for the proliferation of spiders as can be found along the eastern seaboard. They are everywhere. Or the evidence of them anyway. Any unattended corner will soon find itself host to a web; see also shrubs, window frames. These are generally of the tiny spider/daddy long legs variety and I feel certain none of those we house is a threat to my health. I don't happen to like bugs (yes, I know, a spider isn't an insect), but I know that spiders are the best of the bunch. After all, they eat the other insects. So I leave them pretty much alone.

Yes, if they string up a big web somewhere I think is inappropriate: the kitchen, over our bed, in my shoes, that web will have to be destroyed, but I'm almost content to let them have the corner crevices on every one of our stairs. I hope that this forbearance is remembered during mosquito season and that my spider friends protect me from bites.

So when I see a pair of spiders presumably mating in our mailbox, or when one chooses the moment I walk through the garage door to descend, I try not to totally flip out. I mean, I flip out a little, but my composure if markedly more sincere than, say, when I see a hornet outside. Which, by the way, spider friends, I would be much obliged if you could see to.

I don't want to read too much into this, especially because I think being a nasty, sarcastic wanker is an essential part of my charm, but is it possible this suburban house thing is mellowing me? Ok, now I have to go find something to be royally over-the-top-ly pissed off about.

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