My garage lurks behind the house at the end of a long driveway. Square, blue, surrounded by viciously thorned raspberry bushes, it’s been a looming presence in more way than one since I combined households with my husband. He’s a divorced father, and I moved into the house he shared with his previous wife and his son.
At first, I was enthusiastic about having a garage. It’s depressing and demoralizing to start the day by navigating treacherous porch steps and slogging through icy sleet in the pre-dawn hours, juggling fifteen pounds of grading, a purse, a laptop and coffee. Then to be faced with twenty minutes of hacking away at ice so thick an obese seal could gambol merrily upon it? I too often started my day with an impromptu acrobatic routine, a triceps workout and a spicy mix of muttered expletives.
My enthusiasm about having a garage waned quickly. My husband told me doubtfully that the garage was pretty full, but I loftily assumed that with my ferocious organizational skills, I’d have it whipped into shape in a wink. I’ve organized international academic conferences! I’ve dealt with psychotic teenagers threatening to stab me! It’s a garage. How hard could this be?
I was confident. I was smug.
I was an idiot.
When I opened the garage door, the first thing I saw were acres of spider webs, which I presumed were home to countless spiders, just aching for the chance to leap at me and bite viciously with their clicky little mandibles. After the shrieking stopped, my husband helpfully informed me that the spiders were most likely brown recluses.
Darling, thank you. I truly needed to know that poisonous spiders would soon be ripping at my flesh, causing necrosis and destruction and fear and OH MY GOD THEY HAVE SO MANY LEGS! One spider I can handle. Albeit with great reluctance and much screaming and flailing about with a can of Aqua Net in one hand and a broom in the other, followed by a nicely therapeutic magnum or two of pinot. A spider suburb, on the other hand? Er. . . not so much with the courage. Do they sell flamethrowers at Target?Continued on the next page