An encounter with an eight-legged terrorist leaves Laura Lexx wondering what it means to be a proper grown-up.
Illustration by Claire Jones
Last week I starred in my own personal car park horror story. I wasn’t hacked apart or kidnapped. This was a psychological attack; a coming-of-age incident that saw my identity interrogated by a one-ounce menace.
I was in my car, about to drive home after a gig, when something caught my eye in the corner of the ceiling. Out of the darkness came a wolf spider.
Now, I’m not afraid of spiders and I was not afraid of this spider. What I was nervous about was this spider falling into my hair halfway down the A2. I was uneasy about causing a mass pile-up while trying to disentangle eight legs from a terrible haircut.
“She’s just jealous,” it would think as it died inhumanely.
“Look at her stumpy little legs. And how far forward is the driving seat?!”
If the spider had emerged with a polite tip of the hat, settled itself in the passenger seat and strapped in, I wouldn’t have been so cross. If you want a lift, I’ll give you a lift, mate – but you need to get off the ceiling and not touch the CD player.
I decided to remove the spider.
When I’m at home I’m a dab hand: I like the glass and paper method and they go out a window with a tissue to use as a parachute. I didn’t have a glass in the car (memo to self: buy a limousine so I’m better equipped). The only tools I had were a copy of The Big Issue and a bag that until recently contained a substantial amount of fudge.
I got out and the spider dashed across the ceiling above my seat.
“I knew you were going to do that!” I shrieked.
What a dick. I bet that even if it had got in like a proper passenger we’d have only got a few minutes down the road before it started whining about the Best of Bowie.
I wanted to use the magazine to swat the spider into the fudge bag but it felt morally wrong to evict someone with a Big Issue. So I chased it round the car ceiling for about 15 minutes and then started to panic.
Am I going to have to sleep in this car park until I can remove it in the daylight?
Am I going to drive home with the Spider of Damocles?
I wish I could’ve got into the car and not worried about it, but I am not that good. I am nowhere near that good. Then, like some crazed, desperate harridan, I spotted my prey.
“Hey! Oh hey! I’m not mad or anything, but are you any good with spiders? There’s a spider in my car. Could you get it out?”
At first the poor couple I was screaming at seemed nervous for their personal safety, but a scan of my pitiful upper (and lower) body strength seemed to settle their minds. They headed over.
It was now that I started wondering what this all meant for my life. What interim period am I floating in? How am I old enough to have bought the car, insured and taxed it, driven it to Canterbury, gigged in front of 100 people…only to then get held hostage by a spider? A spider I’m not even sure I’m that scared of.
This would never have happened to my Mum or Grandma. I’m sure they were always proper grown ups. Not this inbetweener I find myself at the moment. (A lady inbetweener, not one of those boy ones from the telly; I’m not nervously trying to sleep with the spider. I just want to get rid of it so I can sing China Girl on the way home without judgement.)
I’m at an age where I still get spots, but my hair is greying regardless. My breasts point in the right direction but my chin seems to be testing cautiously to see if we’re ready for a beard yet. I’d quite like to go to bed at 10pm, but I don’t have the children or the backache to warrant it.
No one warns you about being a nothing age. We’re told we’re either young or old: we need either hair mascara or wrinkle cream. They don’t seem to both be in the Boots’ 3-for-2 deal.
“You can have a mortgage and a credit card, madam, but you will still require this stranger named Ed to remove the eight-legged terrorist from your vehicle if it’s past dusk.”
Part of me wanted to keep old spidey as a reminder of my deficiencies.
Thanks for showing me I need to grow up despite kind of already being a grown up. Kind of.
Laura (aged 28 years, two months and six days).
ps I’m not sure if that ought to be Yours Faithfully – I’ll check with Mum.”
I let Ed remove the spider, which he did with his bare hands. I thanked him graciously and apologised to his girlfriend for ruining their peaceful evening with my neuroses. I drove home to the house I rent with my own grown up money and watched the TV I’ve remembered to get a license for with absolutely no idea if I should be paying attention to the adverts for Olay or Early Learning Centre.
I am a comedian, writer, baker and glorious feminist. I am nothing if not enthusiastic about everything. @lauralexx