Yesterday: As Amy and I pull into the driveway after running a few errands, we see our next door neighbor, Mark, headed to the house across the street…with a net. Curious. He apparently sees us seeing him, and stops.
Mark: You guys wanna see a tarantula? Jim found one in his garage!
Amy: You’re kidding, right?
Mark: Not at all–they’re actually quite common around here. Come and see…
At this point, my wife politely excuses herself, but I can’t resist. I help put away the groceries, then hurry across the street to Jim’s garage. By this time, they seem to have “apprehended” the arachnid in question. I say “apprehended,” because the critter is in Mark’s net, but it’s not closed, and nothing really is stopping it from crawling right out, if it wanted to.
Neal: Oh my gosh. You weren’t kidding.
Mark: Yep, this one’s just a baby, though.
Neal: Baby? He’s the size of my fist!
Mark: You should have seen the one I got two weeks ago in our back yard. Come to think of it, he’s probably still there. Aren’t they beautiful?
Jim: You know they can jump between six to eight feet?
Neal: That’s reasurring–Hey Mark, could you, maybe, hold that net just a bit further away? Like say, eight feet more?
Jim: Check this out [holding cell phone out]: it’s a picture I took of the last one we found in the garage–now that’s a big one!
Our surreal dialogue continues this way for several more minutes, as my neighbors inform me that our street seems to be infested with tarantulas. All the while the “baby” tarantula and I are eyballing each other very carefully. Only he has about a million more eyballs than I do…
Neal: Look guys, I’ve lived here for four years, and I’ve never seen one. Are you sure it’s really that bad?
Mark: They’re around alright. You know…when you’re mowing the grass, and you feel something soft brush up against your leg–for just a split second–and you look down to see, but nothin’s there. That was a tarantula.
Neal: I’m never mowing the grass again.
Jim: Oh, they’ll love that! The higher the grass, the more places they got to hide. But then you won’t see ’em…till they jump.
At this point another neighbor pulls into his driveway and gets out of his car. He is fairly new to the neighborhood, and I have not met him yet. Mark and Jim eagerly make their pitch for him to see their “catch,” while I’m thinking this is NOT a good way to reassure homeowners that they have made a wise purchase, locationally speaking.
New Neighbor: Tarantula? Yeah, I’ve seen three or four of them since we moved in…
Mark: [to me] You sure Amy doesn’t want to see it?
Neal: You show her that thing, and there’ll be a “for sale” sign in our yard tomorrow morning.
Mark: OK, if you say so. Say, I was gonna set this little one free in the alley right behind your house. You don’t mind, do you?