Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I meant i wanted to make out with Daniel Radcliffe and put hexes on people.

I know i've said that i wish Harry Potter was real. I know i've talked about the profound effect it had on my childhood, my teenhood, and my young adulthood. I know some part of me still believes that if i lean on the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross Station, i'll fall through to platform 9 3/4 just in time to board the scarlet train to Hogwarts.

Fortunately, the universe has decided to grant my request and bring elements of Harry Potter's world into my own. Unfortunately, it's only bringing the parts that suck.

Fifteen years ago, when my parents were building a new house, we went to visit the construction site. And you know those yellow and black garden spiders? The ones that usually grow to about the size of a half-dollar?
These fuckers.

They're already on the large size for American spiders, but as it turns out, most spiders don't really have a maximum size. They just grow until they die. And most of the time, a bird (one of God's angels in disguise) or a right-thinking human (led by the Holy Spirit) will smash the spider into jelly as soon as it's large enough to be visible. Because they are the descendants of Satan, and allowing them to survive is the Original Sin.

But some spiders manage to escape the just wrath of the Lord, and they grow to truly terrifying sizes. The yellow garden spider on the side of our half-finished house was not the size of a half-dollar. It was not the size of my hand. It was not the size of a basketball player's hand. It was the size of a dinner plate.

In Maryland. In a residential area. There was a spider the size of a dinner plate. Alive. Not in a museum or lab. Naturally and out in the open. That is not only sinful, it is un-American.

Another family might have made some calls to National Geographic or the Guinness Book of World Records and made themselves some cash. But with my mother hyperventilating in the passenger seat of the van, my dad had no choice but to find a brick and smash the shit out of that motherfucker.

That was in 1994. In 2003, we moved to a new house about eight miles from the first one. This one was not surrounded by soybean fields and despair. This one was surrounded by 3.25 acres of trees and bushes and poison oak and stones and a creek and neighbors. And yellow garden spiders. We never saw any plate-sized ones, but these averaged 4 or 5 inches long, and they would build huge webs on the sides of the house and garage, so there would be anywhere between 4 and 10 of them clustered together on a given day, creating a barrier of nightmares around our home.

That's not all. When we first moved in and were storing things in the basement, we found a six foot snake skin. Which means that at some point, our house in Maryland was also home to a six-foot snake. A year or so later, my mom noticed that the birds outside were making an unusual racket. When she looked at the birdhouse outside of our kitchen window, she saw two huge black snakes twining themselves around the birdhouse, slithering in and out. We're guessing they were eating the eggs. And possibly the birds.

And last night, my dad sent me a picture of a baby snake. In his toilet. Because apparently, his bathroom is the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.

When i said i wanted to live in Harry Potter's world, i did not mean that i wanted to hang out with Aragog and Nagini.

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