The social experiment took a turn.
I’ve done them for years: Personal social experiments. Nothing earth-shattering. Nothing with grand results. They have always just been: “I wonder what the result would be if I…?” kind of things. Sometimes I just do things in unexpected ways. Sometimes I postulate questions that are a little… off?, you might say. I find the behavior and interactions of living things to be fascinating. So, one day, there was a spider.
Many years ago I worked for a local footwear company. I enjoyed the work. It allowed me to use my unique skill sets in productive ways. My boss was (and still is) a friend of mine since college. The job was like Gilligan’s Island, it started as a three-week stint and turned into almost 6 and a half years. I’m not complaining (at all), I’m just stating how it went. Why is this important? Well, let me explain…
As the job was more-or-less a part-time position (due to the fact that as soon as I got my work completed on each day, I would go home) I had the flexibility to arrive and leave at my discretion. Because of the type of work I did, I liked very much to arrive in the early morning and leave as soon as I could. Not that I rushed anything, it’s just that it could get hot in the summertime. Plus, the sooner I got home, the more time I could spend with my family.
Again, you may be thinking, “What is the point?” I know. See, the other day, while listening to some Dry Bar Comedy (I love it. I never have to worry about what comes through. the comedians have to be funny with well-constructed punch lines instead of relying on shock-value vulgarity) and Corey Rodrigues had a bit about messy cars (it’s super hilarious—because it’s TRUE). That’s what hit me the hardest. I was reminded of a social experiment I did on myself: How much gross can I tolerate?
I like to be tidy. I do. However, if you saw my studio, you might believe differently. Regardless, I like my personal space to be organized and easily managed. My car’s interior is good too. It needs to be clean. It doesn’t have to be spotless, just clean. I do not want people to get into it and be all like, “Um…” because they see a mess or a smell a bad smell. No. That will not be my car. And yet, there was that one summer…
On my way to the footwear factory, there is a gas station that I would frequent. I would get an Mtn Dew and a candy bar, or snack bag of chips, and head to work. It was easy, I enjoyed the friendly greetings from the employees… It was a great way to start my day. Still, it would create garbage. And, for reasons that I cannot recall, there was one day when I just tossed my tall empty Mtn Dew can onto the floor of the passenger side floor. Which was fine because almost nobody rode in my car with me. It was a 1996 Chevy Corsica. I loved that car. It was a good car. However, it was older. It also looked like garbage (it was a bad year for paint. any Corsica looked like it had a bad sunburn and peeling, or leprosy). Still, it handled everything I asked it to do just fine.
So, there I was, tossing empty cans into the pocket that was the foot space of the passenger side. Eventually, I made the choice to go ahead and add my Burger King breakfast sandwich bags over there as well. The whole ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ idea. I would wait until the trash would level off with the top of the seat and then empty it all out. I would trash the trash and crush and recycle the cans. Then, repeat. Now, once again, what does this have to do with anything? The spider. All this has to do with the spider.
There was one morning when I stepped into my car and noticed a glimmer on a gossamer thread that was about six inches above the trash and span the distance from the passenger car seat to somewhere under the console. I wouldn’t have spotted it had it not been for that perfect angle that caught the light of the morning sun. What to do? Break it and let that spider know it was unwelcome. So, I did. I’ve been through a few spider instances before.
It was back the next morning. I broke the line again.
Next morning: Another thread. Broken once more.
Again, that spider was back. Okay, now I had to let it go and see where this went. My own social experiment.
The web always began the same. Low profile. From the seat to somewhere under the console. Then it would expand. Always horizontal. Always low profile. A few times, I would actually see the little spider working. While I was now okay with this, the spider was not. Once it noticed me, away it would dash. Then work its little butt off until I returned. Now, I was still adding to my trash heap, so I had to be careful to drop around the lines of silk. Sometimes I would hit a line, or two, and spidey would make repairs at a time when I was not around.
As I write this, I am disgusted with the garbage that I piled up. Still, it was what it was. And, occasionally, I would have to give one of my children a ride somewhere. This would not only disrupt the spider net, but they would have to put their feet in the trash. Fortunately, the lines of arachnid communication were only broken a few times. My youngest would just fold her legs underneath her and buckle in for safety. She did not like disrupting the mighty web-slinger.
It didn’t take long before the web became quite impressive and I would have to open the passenger door to collect and recycle. This made lots of damage—you could hear the threads rip and tear themselves apart (it’s a cool sound). After the first time, I thought it might be helpful to remove most of the remains. After all, the spider had rebuilt more than once. Why not one more time?
The next morning, it was back. We started again—the spider and I. Spider silk was below the horizon and in line with the passenger seat. Mr. Eensy Weensy was back to work. And, so was I. I drank my drink and the can went ‘plink’.
Sadly, there came a point of non-destruction to the web but no spider. I don’t know when or why he stopped working, but he did. A little despondent over the whole thing, I decided that if Mr. Eensy Weesny stopped, I too should also call it quits with the garbage pile. Besides, I had become disgusted by my own unkempt Corsica condition. It was time.