The guy who delivered my pizza last night loves spiders. I turned on the porch light as I stepped outside to take the boxes. The large spider that hangs out over the light was center stage and we were soon talking about how cool he was. I learned that Pizza Guy likes to take pictures of spiders, which he sometimes enlarges as prints for his walls. He had his camera in the car, so I invited him to take a picture of my porch spider, and I also got to see a few other spider shots he had stored on the memory card.
I don’t personally care that much about spiders, but I’m no arachnophobe, either. When I stopped to look at this eight-legged critter, I wanted to know more about him. Specifically, I wanted to know what kind of spider it was. That’s just the way I am, so I was intrigued when Pizza Guy said he believed it was related to a tarantula.
“Really?” I asked more impressed than incredulous. But his response was: “That’s what I believe.”
I take that to mean he really had no idea what kind of spider it was. He simply appreciated it for its intrinsic, perhaps aesthetic, value. How refreshing.
I am so used to hanging out with people who are the epitome of “inquiring minds want to know.” This is made finger-tip easy by the iphone and other phone-to-Web applications. It’s hard to get through a conversation without someone fact-checking a comment, or pulling up a graphic to illustrate their point, or finding out just exactly who did originally say that, and when.
It really wouldn’t be all that difficult to figure out what kind of spider it is hanging out above my porch light. But, who cares, really? I believe he eats mosquitoes, which makes me happy to have him around.
by Jessica Becker, Director of Public Programs, Wisconsin Humanities Council