As I stood in the shower this morning, I lathered and rinsed, filled with the promise of a positive outcome. When I looked down at the drain and saw it, my brow furrowed as I came to the conclusion it was now or never. It was up to me to be bold and brave and share my harrowing experience about something that has truly horrified me over the past few years…the increasing appearance of creepy, furry hair spiders lurking in my house.
Emotionally it’s never a pleasant experience discovering a hair spider, let alone exterminating them. When they stare at me, reality creeps in and even if I say to myself that it’ll be ok and everyone has hair spiders, I still want to run away in fear and denial. Those of us who deal with hair spiders know exactly where the little buggers start…our very own heads of our aging bodies. And the longer and thicker the hair, the bigger and scarier they get. Although, as I remember it, my huge 80’s hair didn’t seem to produce hair spiders at such an alarming rate. Maybe the industrial-strength hair spray secured them in place so they couldn’t jump ship and land on the floor. And don’t forget to be savvy about the color of hair spiders. It can change color – red, brown, grey – depending on what concoction your hair expert uses on your roots from her special bottle. Anyway, I would think those with no or very short hair and those blessed with strong follicles might not suffer from infestations of hair spiders, but without scientific research on this hypothesis that remains an assumption.
What I do know for sure is upon reaching my late 30’s the appearance of hair spiders in my home increased at an alarming rate. At first I noticed an occasional hairy culprit swirling around the shower drain or nesting in the lint tray in the dryer. I honestly paid no attention to it, thinking it was the normal amount of hair spiders all with a head of hair must tolerate in life. But, eventually washing my locks became a frightening affair, with at least one hair spider, sometimes more, lurking around the drain, staring menacingly up at me, taunting me to dispose of it. Of course my vanity would kick in and I would quickly remove it from the drain, thinking I’d handled the issue once and for. But, if I forgot to nab it for disposal, my husband would politely pull it from the drain with his big toe, distaste plastered on his face, and deposit it in the corner of the shower to live until I dealt with the brown mass against the stark white of the shower. On laundry days, after drying towels and bathroom rugs, there was always one or two inside the drum, fluffed, warm, ready to pounce. I’ll admit each time I saw one I’d let out a little scream, thinking a tarantula had somehow made its way into my washing facilities. Even now I still let a squeak escape upon discovering one but I’ve learned to just quickly grab and dispose of them as soon as possible to lessen the risk of any further personal injury.
Their increased presence in the shower drain and dryer was bad enough, but then they started nesting under the furniture, swirling around on the bottom of my rubber-soled shoes, and wrapping around the fan blade in my hair dryer. Hair brushes became breeding grounds, a free-for-all to get tangled up with each other. One day I looked at my brush, the knotted, snarled Sodom-and-Gomorrah-like hair spider orgy lounge mess it had become, and sadly surrendered to myself that the time had come to figure out how to rid myself of these vermin, or at the very least, decrease their multiplying.
Taking serious measures, I went to my doctor, asking if there was anything I could do about the growing population of hair spiders in my life. He looked in my ears, I said nothing, he peered down my throat, I said ahhhhhh, he tapped my knee, I kicked him. Finally he massaged my throat under my chin and excitedly screeched “Eureka! You’re aging! And your thyroid is enlarged!” Neither revelation made me feel better about the situation. I’ll admit I gave him a nasty look and thought about kicking him again. Immediately blood was drawn, tests were run, prescriptions were written. I was instructed, “Take the pill in the morning an hour before you eat so your body can fully absorb it.” Now those of you who know me know that sometimes waiting an hour after I get up to eat can equate to a monumental task. But, in the spirit of my hair spider eradication quest, I trudged along, knowing my sacrifices would pay off. And, I hoped, even if there continued to be occasional hair spiders lounging around my house, at least I would be able to control them if they were smaller in size and numbers.
So, I waited. Months, I waited. And still the hair spiders showed up in all the known places and even more locations, all puffy and big, mocking me. I swear I could even hear them laughing out loud at me. “I’ve been duped!” I screamed as I shook the prescription bottle.
Being the bang-my-head-against-the-wall person I am, I gave my doctor another shot at assisting me in the extermination process of the hair spiders. More blood drawn, more pills, more reminders that I’m getting old. More dirty looks. Hormones! Thyroid! Nutrition! Exercise! It was all tossed out there, as if I truly had control of the hair spiders. Oh, sure, I believed I had control…at first. I believed I could get a handle on those nasty, furry creatures. I took the pills and waited to eat an hour and when I did finally did get to scarf down breakfast, I tried to make it healthy. I exercised, sweated, and told myself over and over, “I’m going to beat these monstrous little creatures at their own game! I! Will! Not! Let! Them! Wiiiin!”
More months passed and lo and behold, those damn hair spiders kept appearing. I decided to pull in an expert, which admittedly I should have done much earlier in the process. “What can I do?” I begged my hair stylist. Expensive shampoos, conditioners, and mysterious “professional grade” elixirs were purchased. “This will help!” she offered with excited encouragement. And it actually did, a little bit.
Over time my thyroid got into line. Yes, I waited that hour to eat every morning after taking my little green pill, although at times I asked my husband just to put me down because I felt far too weak from hunger to go on. I ate a little better, exercised every day…ok, occasionally, and religiously used the potions assigned to me by my hair expert. Slowly the hair spiders that still lurked lost a bit of their size and reproductive gusto.
I didn’t let my guard down, however. And I never will. The minute I do, massive throngs of hair spiders will surely rear their ugliness, ready to launch themselves into my life and remind me of the pain they inflict. Mark my words, I will remain diligent. They still show up in the shower and dryer, the bottoms of my shoes, under the bed, and wrapped seductively around my brushes and the vacuum cleaner brush. And even though our house seems at times to be infested with them, the problem has maintained a sense of consistency and large droves of the ever-dreaded hair spiders have been held to a manageable amount.
I hope sharing my hair spider crisis let others know it’s a common problem among many, especially aging women. They can come in hordes if your body is out of synch and there’s certainly no spray to kill them; not even industrial-strength hair spray helps. There is one little blessing, however. They don’t bite. But believe me, when I see them, each and every time, it does sting a little.