Passive-Aggressive Spider Circling

I wish I had new stories to tell.

It’s just, all the interesting parts of my life are dwindling behind me, and what did I do today? I got up, showered and worked, watched the street from my window. Couldn’t decide what to eat. I wanted chips, maybe salad, but also something hot. I waited too long, till my hunger turned to nausea, and I got bubble tea. It was sweet.

All my stories have whiskers on. I’ve been sat here a while, trying to pick one to tell, but they’re all so damn old. Half of them aren’t even stories, just jokes without punchlines—this one time, I squashed a spider to my wall. My housekeeper cleaned around it, so I circled it twice. She still left it there, so I sort of got used to it. It stayed through the year, till Mother came by. You’d think it’d have stained by then, but Mother used Jif and it came off in one swipe, and my circles did, too. And, goodbye.

(True story, see?)

There’s the one with the cyclops, but I’ve told that to death. There’s the time I pea-shot a wad of wet paper at the ceiling. It left a mark on the paint, which is probably still there—I don’t think I’ve told that one, but who cares? Maybe if I’d done it in the Sistine Chapel, but no. It was my parents’ upstairs hallway, between their room and mine, behind the chandelier.

There was that time in the car when I’d just got new specs, and the first buds of spring were out. I’d never seen them before. I finally understood what “sap green” meant, in my box of oil paints. That’s not interesting, is it?

Someone just walked by and lit a cigarette. It lit up his face for a moment, the flame from the lighter. That’s what passes for action, these days, a glimpse of some guy’s addiction. Y’know, I’ve never tried it, smoking. I used to do this thing where I’d sit in my father’s chair and wear his jacket, hold his pipe between my teeth and drink his whisky, except not. I’d pour myself a glass and hold it to my lips, but it tasted of turps and old shoes. I’d sniff it, mostly, and sniff his tobacco, but I never lit his pipe. I have no idea what that feels like, a hit of nicotine. I’m not all that curious. I wasn’t curious then. I just wanted to be cool. Like my father. Jesus fuck. I’ve told that before, haven’t I?

Oh, here’s something new: Mother found a gadget on the Internet that reduces your stress levels by stimulating your vagus nerve, only she calls it your Vegas nerve, like that’s what lights up when you hit a jackpot. Anyway, she wants to send me one. She should send me to Vegas. That’d be new.

It’s coming on ten. They’ll be closing the Dollarama soon, though they leave the sign on all night. They should at least dim it down through the wee hours. I can see it through my eyelids when I’m trying to sleep. I dream I’m outside, staring up at that sign, and—oh, they’ve just turned down the inside light; that’s it for today—and my dream sort of stalls, ’cause the sign’s really there. I can’t leave it behind, can’t go anywhere else. I’ve had so many dreams like that, trapped-on-the-street dreams. I’ll petition the city to plant a forest out front, a pine screen down the median to keep the signage at bay.

Oh, what did I do to deserve this? It’s all right there. Why can’t I touch it?


PS – Mother just e-mailed and blamed the “Vegas nerve” on autocorrect. Yeah, okay. Seems legit.

5 thoughts on “Passive-Aggressive Spider Circling

  1. That’s a difficult one to answer really.

    Does anybody actually think their life is interesting?

    I do think it’s one of the modern world’s great lies – that everyday is supposed to be filled with excitement and wonder, like those bloody travel adverts that show those highly annoying people, visiting interesting places and doing interesting things – it’s all bollocks.

    Yes, it’s nice to have adventures, but 99.9% of life is pretty much dull, repetitive drudgery (sorry I’ve been listening to a lot of Portishead recently – I should probably stop).

    I think that’s why as a species we’re so obsessed about what other people are doing, an everybody’s more interesting than me, grass is always greener kind of thing.

    I do feel for you being by yourself all the time, it must suck sometimes, but then so does being surrounded by other people and there demands sometimes… It would be great to find a happy medium. I’m sorry you can’t get out more.

    As it was I thought the spider story was funny – perhaps you should have drawn a few arrows and written ‘please clean me’ below it.

    What the hell is a Vagus anyway? (Vegas sounds better).


    1. I suppose not, eh? I’ve just been feeling especially dull lately, as I’ve taken on too much work, and that’s pretty much all I do. It’s killed my social life for the last month or so. Absolutely nothing has happened to me that didn’t involve work. (I suppose I’m describing a lot of people’s lives, though.)

      The vagus nerve is one of the cranial nerves. Stimulating it supposedly has all sorts of effects on one’s heart and one’s mood—I’m not entirely up on the details, but Mother’s decided I should be. Or at least, I should try this device she’s found. I mean, why not, right? If it’s snake oil, I’m not out much money, and at least I can tell her I tried. Now, if she were pushing weird herbs on me, that’d be another matter entirely.

      My new housekeeper is brilliant, and cleans everything, but the one I had before her seemed to have an unwritten set of rules on what she’d clean and what she wouldn’t. Like, if I spilt something on the floor and left it there, she’d mop that up, but any type of bug infestation, she’d leave that be. She wouldn’t do my dishes, but she’d put my clean plates away (often before they were done drying, which annoyed the bejesus out of me). She also kept changing my sheets when I’d JUST changed them, and throwing my clean sheets in the wash. Really, I don’t know why I kept her so long. The spider should’ve been an indication she needed replacing.

      Fortunately, my new place doesn’t attract bugs. I think I’ve had two fruit flies and a small spider since I moved in, and everything else has stayed clear.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you probably have – too much work and all that. But we all do that don’t we – moan when we have too much work and worry when we don’t have enough. I would guess even the cavemen where the same when they were hunter-gatherers. At least we don’t have to worry about being picked off by a rampaging Sabre-toothed tiger whilst working 😀

        Weird herbs wouldn’t be go? 😀 maybe not if your mother brought them. It sounds like one of the daft things mine would come up with – you might as well give this device a go and then sell it on ebay!

        I think the spider was definitely a sign that you needed to get shot of her – why would anyone put wet plates back in the cupboard???? And the sheets? pah – you did the right thing.

        If you’d LIKE some bugs and Spiders I can send you some FOC – my house if full of them. Big sods too – I swear blind the cats are bringing them in on purpose!


        1. Noooooooo, please keep your bugs and spiders. I had my absolute fill of them at my old place, which had actual holes in the walls, which let in all manner of beasties (including a couple of enterprising sparrows, which just squeezed on through). There was no way of keeping them out. I ALWAYS had silverfish, no matter what I did, and I got a new spider every couple of days. I’d almost have preferred a sabretooth tiger. Ha, ha.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. 😀 Well if you change your mind, I have plenty (the down side of living in the country). I’m not sure about the tiger though, I don’t mind cleaning up the odd dead mouse from the kitchen floor but a half eaten woolly mammoth might be a bit much!


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