My husband opened the passenger door of his car for me, pledging to whisk me away to our city’s historic downtown district on a romantic date. Since I am nearly always the driver on family outings, I jumped at the chance to be chauffeured and slipped into the seat.
As I reached back to buckle my seatbelt, I glanced up at the corner of the passenger-side window and was shocked to see a perfect spider web suspended over my head.
I stammered out a question to Mike, asking if he realized he had a spider — a scary, blood-sucking, phobia-inducing arachnid — living in his car.
“Yep,” he replied, nonchalantly starting the engine, as if I had just mentioned that it was hot outside. “She’s been there a couple of weeks.”
Since Mike routinely leaves his windows cracked for ventilation, Charlotte apparently thought his passenger-side window would be a great place to build her house. Mike noticed the construction, but figured they could live harmoniously, so long as she kept to her side of the car.
By this point you may have guessed that my husband is not a car guy. On a pleasant Saturday afternoon I am more likely to find him futzing on the Internet or rewiring our kitchen than I am to find him detailing and waxing his car.
This is not to say his car is a mess — it’s not. But I could understand how Charlotte had been allowed to set up housekeeping.
“You’ve had a spider living in your car for a couple of weeks?” I asked. “This doesn’t worry you? I mean, what does she eat?”
Mike didn’t have an answer for that one.
“I suppose she could save your life,” I went on, “but what if she has babies?”
At the mention of hundreds of tiny eight-legged offspring, Mike’s eyes narrowed. “I never thought about the babies. You don’t think she’s had babies do you?” he asked, casting worried glances around the car.
Since our date, I’ve been trying to keep tabs on Charlotte, but Mike claims he hasn’t seen her. He swears he committed no arachnicide; she’s probably died of natural causes by now, her lifeless exoskeleton lying feet-up somewhere underneath the passenger seat.
But I like to imagine that she (or her cousin) is still living there in the car, weaving encouraging messages to him for when he’s had a rough day at work.