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2004-08-26 9:20 p.m.

interlude: greyarea battles the giant but surprisingly well-tempered spider, Aiko

Before we get to the rest of the Nagasaki stuff, there's something I want to tell you about.

Today I took a shower, and about five minutes into it the biggest freaking spider I've ever seen crawled out from behind the floor mat I don't use and headed for the ceiling. It was the size of a large tarantula, but it was a hairy, web-spinning spider.

Normally I don't really mind having spiders around, but this one was a little too hysterically monstrous to have roaming freely throughout the house, what with me sleeping on the floor and always stumbling around without the lights on in the middle of the night and all. This spider was not someone you want to meet in a darkened alley (or even a lightened one), is what I'm trying to say. However, as I do have quite a soft spot for horrific freaks of nature like this, I couldn't bring myself to kill it, though that would have been by far the easiest course of action. Instead I got my biggest pot and its lid and proceeded to chase the spider around the house, trying to capture it. The thing was fast. It was frightening how quickly it could skitter along the wall.

But the spider was too damn fast, and I just couldn't catch it. Frustrated and still naked, I finally added another weapon to my arsenal: a long cooking chopstick. With this I proceeded to try and knock the spider off the wall and into the pot, hoping I could manage to get the lid on before it hopped out and sunk its huge, incessantly wiggling fangs into my tender, lily-white flesh.

Miraculously this plan ended up working, and I had myself a spider in a pot. I decided it was a she and named her Aiko. I took the Aiko Pot outside, removed the lid and quickly backed away. She made her escape, trailing a strand of web behind her (is that the spider equivalent of crapping your pants in terror?) and I said "Toodaloo!"

In retrospect, though she looked absolutely scream-like-a-little-girl terrifying, she never did anything that could be considered aggressive towards me. She only ever tried to run away from me and never made a move to attack. She must have been pretty scared. As much as spiders can feel scared, I guess.

I did manage to get a picture of Aiko on my cell phone, but I don't have webhosting so you don't get to see it. I have no idea how something that big got in here without me noticing... She looked too big to have come up through the drain.

They do grow 'em big in the inaka. This place is quite a paradise for spiders of all sizes and colors. I've seen some absolutely beautiful webs around. In fact, a few weeks ago I was able to watch a spider weave a web virtually from the beginning. It was a massive web, and absolutely breathtaking when finished. Watching its creation was one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed. I christened that spider "Junko." When I came back the next day to check on her, she was gone and all that remained of her web was a single frame strand, stretching from a tree to a nearby bush. I was quite dismayed, and it felt like a bad omen, somehow.

In other, completely unrelated news, highlights from the pairs synchronized swimming competition are on TV right now. That has got to be just about the most bizarre sport ever conceived.

rock over london, rock over chicago,