My wife is a very patient person. Exhibit A: She has been married to me for more than two decades.
Generally, if you present my wife with a challenge, she will tackle it in a cool and calm approach. That said, put her in a car and have a spider appear on her head, and cool and calm quickly leave town.
I base this on a recent incident in our car. I am thankful we were not in a convertible, because she would have probably just shot on out of the vehicle.
My wife, son and I were driving down the highway the other day. As we were chugging along, my son casually said from the backseat, “Mom, there’s a spider on your head.”
Her response was, “What!?!?” And then she put her hand to her head. Spider confirmed.
At this point, I was in the left lane of a fairly busy four-lane highway. Not exactly the easiest place to pull over. Adding to the difficulty factor was the fact that I had begun laughing hysterically.
Now, you have to understand that my wife does not hate spiders. She is quite an admirer of them. She is totally cool with the fact that we ask our pest control guy to leave the webs outside around the house. If there is a spider inside, we kindly escort it out so that it can go do spider things, which includes eating other bugs. But on her hair in the car? Nope. Definitely a bridge too far.
But she didn’t want to kill it, as the spider was just being a spider. So she swatted at her head and removed the spider from her hair. Next problem: Then it was sitting on her seat. Possibly.
My wife climbed up on her seat and did her best to hover above where said spider may be. She made it fairly clear that I should (a) stop laughing and (b) pull over.
Eventually, I made it to the right lane, and then safely off the road. Before I was even in park, my wife was out of the car with Usain Bolt-like speed.
So there we were on the side of the road, my wife on one side of the car, doing an intense self-spider review, and my son and I on the other side laughing more and my son offering a high-five for some reason.
My wife said, understandably, “STOP LAUGHING AND HELP ME FIND THE SPIDER!!!”
I gained my composure and came around to help my wife search for the spider. And it was no longer there. We searched everywhere, but alas, nothing. Our son’s contribution to the event was to say, “Mom, I got a video of you.” Big help, dude. And rest assured, no, you will not see the video. Because as much as my son and I have enjoyed watching the video of her scrambling up on the seat, she has made it clear that should said video reach any social media platform, there will be consequences the likes of which we could not fathom, and she said it in a tone that made us realize that she was SUPER serious about that. My concession to her: “But I can write a column about it, yes?” Her response was an eyeroll, which is not technically a no.
Eventually, my wife agreed to get back in the car. She looked down at her feet and noticed what we think was the source of the spider: our son’s hammock, which had been strung up in some woods for a good week and had just been taken down. She quickly bundled the hammock and pitched it in the back seat and told our son to keep it and any other spiders back there with him.
I know it sounds like we were being insensitive in her time of need. But I did get the car off the road as soon as safely doable. And I knew that she was not in any actual danger, even if the knee-jerk reaction to a spider on one’s head is instant panic. At the end of the day, she was fine and, probably, the spider is fine. One day, we’ll look back on this incident, watch the video a few dozen times, and laugh. A lot.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.