I was all ready for a good night’s sleep, tucked into the hotel king-sized bed, the bed we’d been upgraded to after checking into our previous room and reluctantly complaining that it smelled of smoke.We were offered the only other room they had—the giant one with the king-sized bed.We normally prefer to have the smallest room available (preferably with a view of a parking lot or neglected rooftop) but we try to be accommodating.
But there was a problem with the king-sized bed.
For one thing, I never sleep well in a king bed.I’m used to a queen-size bed.I fit comfortably in the space and can intermittently spoon with Ryan and still have one foot overhanging the side outside the covers—a perfect temperature regulator for my body.On a king bed, I feel as if I’m wandering alone in the wilderness of white sheets and down comforters.Ryan seems miles away and finding my foot’s way out of the tightly tucked-in covers is more strenuous than a trip down the birth canal.I could have handled it, though, if that was all that causing a problem, but there were bigger problems in store.
We were not alone in the bed.
Somewhere in the ample sheeting was a hungry spider with a foot and calf fetish.
I can’t say that I blame him.All of our recent time at the neighborhood pool has left us finely roasted—medium well, I’d say.Still pink in the middle.
The spider began a taste-tour that led him from the big toe of my right foot up one calf, crossing the small canyon of my knees and down the other calf.For dessert, he feasted on the inside arch of my left foot—soft and fleshy.
He made the long journey across the geographic region of Middle Bed to Ryan’s feet, but only got in a few ankle nibbles before one of three scenarios stopped him:
1. He passed out from overeating. 2. He tired quickly as he navigated through Ryan’s leg hair. 3. He was suddenly thrown out of the bed when Ryan jumped up in the middle of the night, threw the covers off, hopped out of bed and declared that he was being eaten by something.
Now, Ryan did fling the covers off and jump out of the bed at one point in the night.I remember that vaguely, but I didn’t think a thing of it.As I’ve mentioned before, this kind of thing happens at fairly regular intervals.It’s like that story about the little boy who cried wolf, but instead it’s the grown man who cries bee/spider/snake/duck/bunny/family dog/scorpion/psycho so often that I don’t even fully awake anymore to tell him that he’s completely delusional and to please turn out the lights.
In fact, as I think about it, it’s EXACTLY like that story about the little boy who cries wolf!When the wolf actually came, nobody believed him!And when the spider in our bed ate two of my limbs, I couldn’t even be bothered with the truth because the truth looked EXACTLY the same as Ryan’s middle-of-the-night, fling-the-covers-off LIES!
By the time Ryan was back in bed, I was already tossing and turning from the burning and itching that had overtaken my legs.The burning and itching jostled me into a state of semi-consciousness—the place where you realize that while you are sleepy, you aren’t fully asleep.
It happens to be the same place where you mistake all of your irrational thoughts for rational ones.
The legs were sending a signal to my brain, an urgent request for itching. My brain denied the request. Even when I'm half-asleep, I know that scratching something that itches that badly is a dangerous idea. And then my semi-conscious brain began trying to figure out why my legs and feet were itching in the first place.
I ran through a series of possibilities before I settled on the one and only likelihood—fleas.I had fleas.I was devastated to realize it, of course, but the truth is rarely convenient.Al Gore taught me that.
I was humiliated.Embarrassed.Devastated.Just when I thought I’d finally been freed from the shackles of toenail fungus, I was going to have to admit to my friends and family that I now had fleas.
How did I get fleas?
Well, it’s simple.At least if you’re half-conscious, it is.Clearly, I caught the fleas from Lucy.And clearly, she caught the fleas during the collective 2.3 minutes she spends outdoors each day going to the bathroom.
Lucy often naps in the foot region of our bed at home and that’s clearly where her flea-infested body transplanted a new colony of fleas that settled first into my sheets and then into my legs.
Voila.That’s how I caught fleas. Clearly.
The tossing and turning at this point had as much to do with my overwhelming embarrassment as it did with the itching.My train of thought went something like this:
I wonder who else I’ve passed the fleas to?Oh no, I’ve given the fleas to Ryan!I wonder if I should wake Ryan up to tell him that he has fleas?I should probably let him sleep; he doesn’t have to know yet.I wonder how having fleas will affect him at his job? He'll have to notify the faculty! He'll have to warn his students! Oh no, I’m sleeping in a hotel.I’ve infested the hotel with fleas!How am I going to explain to the hotel that they should fumigate this room after we leave?My children!My children are going to have fleas!It’s all my fault!I was going to do great things with my life, but now I have fleas!I was going to write a book, but now I have fleas!I’m going to have to call a vet when I get home.I wonder if the vet will give flea medicine for Lucy and the rest of us too?I don’t want to call my regular doctor and make an appointment to treat my fleas!I am so humiliated.I am horrified.I can’t believe I have fleas.Fleas!It’s so much worse than toenail fungus.I have fleas and I’m spreading fleas.My legacy is going to be fleas!I wish I could go to sleep, but I can't because I can't stop thinking about fleas!Fleas cause insomnia.The fleas are probably going crazy in my sheets at home.I bet the entire house will be infested with fleas before we get back!Oh, the itchiness!Oh, the humanity!Aaaaaaaaaaa!
See how exhausting it is to be me?
Anyway, you know it's been a rough night when the good news is that you've been bitten multiple times by a spider.