…is usually not considered dangerous, especially the North American species, but if threatened can deliver a somewhat painful, but not deadly, bite to defend itself. However, they can cause a violent reaction during the initial shock of seeing said spider. They are not smallish and can grow up to 2 inches, so spotting something of that size can turn any human being into an expert at what is known as, “The Spider Dance,” which involves flailing your arms in the air, jumping around like an idiot, and screaming at the top of your lungs. I’m an expert.
While living in New Hampshire, spotting a wolf spider was a common occurrence mostly contained to the basement area. I do not like spiders. At all. If anything has more legs than I do, then it’s usually cause for great alarm unless it walks on four legs and answers to the name of Jacob, Jasper, or Moose. However, I learned that the wolf spider is actually quite a handy little critter to have around because it will devour other venomous spiders. I liked that! So, usually when I found one, I’d tell him that he’d just have to go back outside and not mess up the floor I’d just mopped. I’m sure he looked at me with all 8 eyes and thought, “But, I don’t wanna go outside,” while trying to use all 8 legs to stop me from scooting him out of the door. I think he even grabbed the door frame once and tried to pull himself back in. I could be wrong.
All of this is a moot point, however, when you have a visitor from out of town (insert evil laughter here).
I must admit that I do have a mean streak. It’s small and lurks just under the surface, but it’s there. There’s no mistaking it. My mother, after 42 years, still sends up a prayer of thanks that I never had any siblings.
I had a friend visiting me from out of town, which was usually the case when I lived in New England, especially during the autumn. Usually around early September, the “holiday” reservations came flooding in and I instantly became a bed and breakfast. I was taking my friend leaf peeping and since I had found a spider in the basement that morning before our departure, I figured that my guest should get her money’s worth and enjoy the full New England experience.
My friend was taking a shower, so I went down to the basement to get some clothes from the dryer. Lo and behold, one of my eight-legged friends appeared. I grabbed a jar from the counter and scooped him or her up, placing a piece of paper over the top. I was always scared they would jump out and attack me. It never happened, but that’s not the point. I like to be prepared.
I went back upstairs and victoriously announced that I had caught a spider.
Friend (yelling from the shower): What did you say?
Me: I said I caught a spider.
Friend: What kind of spider?
Me (with an evil grin): I dunno.
Now, I should mention that my friend wore glasses and was completely blind without them. She didn’t even expect what would happen next. I kindly decided to show her the spider. While she was still in the shower. I went into the bathroom and stuck the jar through the shower curtain.
Friend: What are you doing?
Me: I’m showing you the little friend I caught.
It took a moment, but the next thing I heard was a blood curdling scream and suddenly the shower curtain went flying. My house guest then went streaking through the living room. Nekkid (translation for non-rednecks: Naked). Luckily, during all of the commotion, I didn’t drop the jar. If I had, I’m sure I would have wound up at the local hospital and not as the result from a spider bite. I would have been pummeled.
Friend (panting): What on earth were you thinking?
Me (trying to contain my laughter): I was showing you the spider.
Friend: I thought it was just a small one.
Me: What took you so long to respond?
Friend (squinting): I couldn’t see it that far away, so I put my face closer to the jar.
Me: Welcome to New Hampshire.
She didn’t visit me the following year. I think the spider was offended.