Bugs. Well kiddos I’m here to report that bugs are different in the French countryside. At least in my opinion. First off, because my house was not occupied for about 3 years it was filled with cobwebs. Silly me. Guess I never really gave due consideration to the fact that where there are cobwebs, there are cobweb spinners. Namely spiders.
Yes, I have plenty of the garden variety Daddy long legs. small ones, big ones. Even some weird, ungodly dead ones that are pure white. Like strange skeletons. EWWWW.
But I can live with the daddy long legs. Or at least do battle with them and require them to find accommodation elsewhere. Especially since I recently obtained my favorite French appliance thus far … my heavy duty aspirateur. (vacuum for you pathetic novices… which I was until I bought it … lol).
But neither I, my heart nor my stomach is yet prepared for or accustomed to the OTHER spiders dwelling with me. The big brown or black ones that weave cobwebs so dense it looks like linen and lurk in the corners, lazily biding their time. These are not spiders you can step on. Or suck into a vacuum. Maybe, just MAYBE you might dare to beat one with a broom, a very long-handled broom. Screaming and crying whilst whomping your broom madly and then leaping back, certain that it is a strange hopping variety known only in France.
When discussing the situation with Jean-Yves and waiting for his laughter to die down, it dawned on me that I need something more with which to take on said spider community. And so I asked him to help me find some poison. He protested loudly and said not only would poison be dangerous to have around because of the dogs, spiders were part of the countryside and were basically harmless. “Harmless?” I retorted. “So they don’t bite?”
“Welllllll”, he hedged, “not if you leave them alone”.
Well I will be damned if I can sleep knowing that I share roofspace with some of those creatures. I think he finally understood cohabitation just isn’t an option, after seeing my facial expression.
The next time we were in the bricolage store, he pointed out a display with a variety of spray insecticides. I purchased a large cannister with a smile.
A few days ago, as I was happily aspirating (!) one of the rooms, I spied a spider of the big, non-daddy-long legs variety in the corner of the ceiling. I grabbed my can of DIE SPIDER DIE and raced back. When I pressed the nozzle, what came out was not the stream of poisonous liquid I expected but more of a sickly sweet fog. Holding the can 3-4 feet from its intended victim didn’t seem practical and appeared to have little effect. I sprayed and sprayed, and sprayed some more. The room seemed to fill with scent and yet the spider didn’t wiggle even one of its eight digits.
I waited. and waited. I got a little closer, gave it one more spray and finally the bastard dropped to the floor. I sprayed it again on the floor for good measure. I haven't gotten the guts yet to sweep it up, but I will soon.
Out in the garden, J-Y has advised me to take a stick and tap it around when I'm strimming the yard. Just to give a kind warning to the snakes. Then I am supposed to wait a few minutes for them to slither off. Thank God I packed my over the calf Justin Ropers. I know you are laughing while I am quivering over here. Gulp.
Another interesting insect was discovered in the atelier attached to my house. There, buried in dust, was an insect nearly 3 inches long. I couldn’t tell if it was alive or not, although no movement was happening. It was black, with a hard shell … kind of like one of those scarab beetles you expect to see in the tropics … pinned to a board and up for sale in some novelty shop.
Shuddering, I asked J-Y to come take a look.
“Ahhhh!” he exclaimed, “Beautiful!”.
“Beautiful?!” I responded dubiously, “You’ve got to be kidding! Do you think there are more around here? Do they bite or sting?"
“Yes, it is beautiful. It is protected in France!”
“Protected?! You mean I can’t kill it?”
A withering look, a shocked look, a disappointed and dismayed look … basically the look you’d give a suspected murderer.
“Kill it?! NO! It is beautiful! When it flies it is … “
“When it FLIES??!!” It is my turn to purvey some dirty looks.
“Yes, it flies outside and it is beautiful. You are in the countryside, Kim. It is normal.”
I zipped my lip before I got myself in trouble. But I’m telling you, one of those fuckers flies close to me and I’m either getting my broom or my can of DIE BUG DIE … protected or not.
Survival of the fittest, I say.