Let me preface this inaugural post by saying that for some of you this might be a confusing starting point. Maybe you’ve seen the 1991 film ‘What About Bob?’, which in my opinion is a firm classic and eminently quotable piece of work by Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. I allude to this comedic masterpiece because there is a life lesson laid bare for all to see tucked in there. And it lies in Dreyfuss’s Dr.Marvin’s self help book ‘Baby Steps’.
It may seem odd that I have decided to start off talking about this, but I assure you the reason is twofold.
First, Baby Steps is exactly what I’m doing here. I’m putting one foot in front of the other until before I know it I’ve gotten somewhere. Taking a leap of faith with fingers crossed and hoping for the best or at least an audience. Making a first blog post is an achievement for me and just like Murray’s Bob Wiley, I can now categorically shout to the world, “I’m Baby Stepping Dr.Marvin!!!” I might not be sailing like Bob managed to yet, but I’ll probably carry a goldfish in a bag sometime this week.
I mentioned that the Bob in the title is for two reasons. The second reason is this: my husband and I went on a little trip last week. We went on a little overnighter to the south of England not far from Brighton on an invite from our great friends The Swanns.
Upon arrival we discovered what The Swanns had already the day before, the house rental was definitely quirky. Quirky in the sense that as a lifetime arachnophobe my spidey sense was instantly elevated to DEFCON 1. The homeowners looked like normal folk in their photos proudly hung around the place, but there was a definite dark side. These were people who not only weren’t bothered by armies of spiders in their home, I think they encouraged it. There were webs just about everywhere, and the spiders were bold! Not content with coming alive at night, they were indicating that this was their digs by scrambling around their webs merrily spinning away in broad daylight. Shy and retiring they were not. Brazen in their chosen time of day to get to work. Unconcerned with being squashed or swatted into oblivion. The message was crystal clear- this was their safe space and we were just visiting.
Undeterred, I pretended they weren’t looming above me, hanging below my chair, or lurking under the table we were sitting at. The poor Swann family had to spend a lot of time doing some cleaning already (and the homeowners were made aware of this), so we made the best of it.
Over whisky after a satisfying pub lunch and walkabout in the town, we exchanged spider stories. The ones that you always remember scaring the bejesus out of you. Mrs.Swann had enough encounters with some interlopers in her own house that they all got a default reference name of ‘Bob’. She recounted one particular Bob that ran out one evening, spotted in the periphery of her vision on the floor while watching TV. When they went to catch and release, the sheer size of it was astounding. It even pulsed on the spot. In fact, that may have been the original Bob, I’m not entirely sure.
My husband and I were usually aware of a spider on the loose because one of our Tonkinese cats Pelayo could be seen/heard scrabbling and pouncing on the wooden floor and then finally crunching one in his mouth. Ewww.
Eventually that night I was headed up the stairs as we were on the very top floor of the house. Upon reaching the top stairwell, before the last turn up the flight, I froze. There in the corner join of the wall was possibly the biggest Bob I’ve ever seen. I think he even eyeballed me back. I screamed for help because there was no chance I was letting it out of my sight only for me to know it was out there on our floor that night. Everyone came running. Then there was running back for a large enough vessel to catch this behemoth.
Bob eventually went out into the good night via the front door. We didn’t see him again but I’m pretty sure he’s back in that house. After that, all the other little spiders seemed like no big deal. I felt positively breezy around them. And in actual fact I didn’t squash a single one the entire time.
So that’s the point of this post. What about Bob? I took some Baby Steps to start this blog, and because of a gigantic Bob I’m a little less freaked out by spiders. By sharing this story I’m also a little less freaked out about putting my blog posts out there.
Thank you Bob, and thanks Dr.Marvin.