For the past half hour, I've watched a clubionid "sac" spider (the tiny white spider we've all seen in our homes and flats) crawl up and down a Toulouse Lautrec print above my desk. I'm happy to have the company of another being; the snakes are lying on their heating pads in their tanks across the room, and the cats and Belle are elsewhere. That's fine with me. If he or she lights somewhere, I'll place it on the sanserveria plant.
The spider and I are close. The arachnid world seems dominated by matriarchy, from what I remember, and there is sexual dimorphism at work in different species. More often than not, the female is larger than the male, and am therefore inclined to refer to this large spider as "she." One hopes there will be no objections. The temptation to name her is becoming hard to resist.
Having held her, I've decided to name my new friend "Albi," after Toulouse Lautrec's hometown in France. If I've spelled it wrong, my apologies, but I'm not of a mind to look these things up right now.
My ancestry is Scottish, and when I was younger I did some research into my clan, which is Clan Stuart (or "Stewart"). Darren W. Lyle, or D'Lisle, of the Clan Stuart centered in Renfrenshire, Scotland, in the lowlands; there is even a Castle Lyle there. While this is a matter of no consequence here, that research did lead me to Scottish folklore. I learned that it is very bad luck for a Scot to kill a spider. There is a legend involving Robert the Bruce, meant to teach us about tenacity and the value of not giving up. I'm sure it's on the Internet and easy to find. If not, then do something else.
I'm a superstitious atheist who gets nervous if he has $13 in his pocket, or if the stereo or television volume is at 13. If salt is spilt, I have to fling it over my left shoulder. In my mind, some salt is spilled every time salt is used, so I have to fling a little over my shoulder every time I use salt in any capacity. There is a little bit of madness there, but not worth losing any sleep over.
But I don't kill spiders because they don't swarm or get in the way, like roaches. I like them, and they are welcome to set up shop in my flat. Albi is perched on my paper files, near my desk. Specifically an order for bloodwork, meant to check my lithium and testosterone blood levels. She seems content to stay there. I'm content to let her.
Every so often I entertain the idea of packing my computer away in a box and isolating myself, with only the spiders and pets to keep me company while Linda is at work. And Dvorak's cello concerto, which Albi and I are listening to on the stereo. And my books.
I'm not considering this because I dislike people. My pathology is more complicated than that, dear friends. I'm merely "avoidant" and bipolar, not schizoid. I'm fond of people and the living. The problem is that interaction requires the use of my mind, and my mind is not always good to me.
It has become clear to me that my mind is working against me when I try to maintain friendships. I've been very successful at quieting the voice in my head that tells me that I don't deserve the company of others, that I'm human waste with a Social Security number, and that I'm distracting people from better friends. This is my fault, as it is my brain and mind at work. But there is only so much imaginitive, cold and constant self-loathing and paranoia I can take. Every so often I slash my leg with a blade just to distract my mind, which sometimes feels like a car on black ice, spinning out of control.
I've sworn not to suicide, to all the right people, so I have to fight. I'm not weak, and if you think I am you don't know what I'm up against. I need to stop caring what people think of me, but that is not likely. Today I have things to do, and the rest of this concerto to listen to with Albi. Perhaps she can feel it. After that, a bit of Dostoevsky always makes me feel less alone. Perhaps I'll re-read "White Nights" later today. Melancholy. I look forward to my amelioration.
Albi has made herself small, on the frond of the plant; I placed her in a nice little spot a moment ago.