With work dwindling and an ever-sketchier internet connection, I’ve had to resort to new ways of keeping myself entertained. None of these, obviously, involve cleaning my flat – or learning to bake or crochet.
My initial attempts to be at my laptop by 10 a.m. every morning have largely fallen by the wayside – mainly because there’s no need for me to be at my laptop by 10 a.m. every morning. Being up at 10 just leaves me with around 10 hours to fill until I can start drinking wine with a relatively clear conscience. Showering and getting dressed can kill half an hour but, some days, that’s also a bit effortful and napping is still, and always will be, a viable alternative.
So, a couple of days ago, I was at my desk, ostensibly working on something but really marvelling out the window at the German kids in my building careening around the courtyard on their various wheeled German devices. Suddenly, I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye. Since the only moving thing inside my flat at the moment should be me, this attracted my full attention. A spider. Urgh.
However, while I’m not the greatest fan of spiders, I decided that this one could stay a while and keep me company.
Me: I shall name you Uwe.
Me: No, Uwe, the walls and corners are your territory. The ceilings and floors are off limits. I do not want to find you crawling up my leg or dropping onto my hair from a height.
Uwe: … (proceeds to abseil down the wall and onto the floor)
Me: Uwe! Jesus! What did I just say?
Uwe: … (probably grinning in a spidery kind of way)
Deciding Uwe must be a bit hard of hearing, I proceeded to carry on with whatever I was doing with my legs tucked under me, always keeping a careful eye on Uwe’s whereabouts under the desk. Up my little filing cabinet, back down again, up the side of the printer, back down again. A brave but unwise attempt to teeter towards my office chair. Me banging on the floor with a shoe to try to persuade him back in the opposite direction. Off he went – up the side of the printer again and this time into the paper feed.
Me: Uwe! NEIN! I need to use that later and I do not need you getting mashed in the inner workings of my printer right now!
As pets go, house spiders are really not the best company.
Anyway, he eventually toddled off behind the curtains and that was the last I saw of him for a while. Later, I needed to use the loo so I went upstairs to the bathroom. Huh, what was that small dark shape on the ceiling of my shower? Uwe? Is that you?
Upon closer (but not too close) inspection, I decided it wasn’t Uwe – this spider was a bit smaller with shorter legs.
Me: Hey! Uwe Junior! How’s it hanging?
Uwe Jr.: …
Me: I see you are a spider of few words, just like your father.
Uwe Jr.: …
Me: Right, I’ll leave you be. You’re fine up there for the moment but I want you out of that shower by the morning… erm, OK, mid- to late-afternoon. Got it??
Uwe Jr.: …
I went back downstairs where Uwe Senior kept me entertained for the rest of the night by playing peekaboo from behind my bookshelves.
The next day (I’d like to say it was morning but that would be a downright lie), it was shower time. Uwe Jr. had clearly broken his end of the deal. There he was, nestled up in the corner above my shower.
Me: Last chance, Uwe Jr. I’m turning on the shower.
Uwe Jr.: …
Maybe he was asleep. If he stayed where he was, I could be in and out before he woke up. I got undressed and turned on the water.
Uwe Jr.: ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
He proceeded to wobble unsteadily across the ceiling to directly over where my head would be.
Me: NEIN, Uwe Jr.! That’s exactly where I DON’T want you to be! Get back in your corner!
Uwe Jr., however, didn’t pay me any heed and continued his precarious acrobatic show. I decided that, in the face of this show of blatant disrespect, my best course of action would be to launch a bottle of conditioner in his general direction. Just close enough to startle him back into his corner or, at least, to somewhere I could reach him and get him out of there. My first throw missed by a mile. Verdammt. Still, it’s kind of awkward to shot-put a bottle of conditioner while hanging naked and dripping, half-in and half-out of a shower. I forgave myself for the terrible girlie throw and tried again.
Again, nothing for Uwe Jr. to be remotely concerned about. However, the bottle was now descending at speed towards my face. I yanked my head out of there, hitting my temple off the metal frame with a resounding thud. It would actually have hurt less if the bottle had hit me in the face rather than my face hitting the shower.
Me: Ow, ow, owwww! God damn it, Uwe Jr.! I’ve had it! I’m coming in!
Uwe Jr. appeared unperturbed, so I stepped cautiously into the shower and proceeded to wash myself with one eye constantly on the ceiling. Let me tell you, washing your lower legs and feet with your face pointing upwards is better than any yoga class. Just as I was ready to get out, Uwe Jr. made his way to the top of the glass door, waving at me from up there with one spindly leg. Again, the last place I wanted him to be. I swear he was doing this on purpose. I slowly slid the door open but not before I registered a little dark shape falling towards the floor. God damn it, where was he now?
Me: Uwe Jr., I know you’re down there – show yourself.
Uwe Jr.: …
So, I waited, dripping, until he revealed himself. Ah ha! There you are, you little bugger! I gingerly stepped over him and onto the mat. Uwe Jr. made a beeline towards my wet feet but some quick-witted naked tap dancing on my part scared him under the curtain.
It’s hard to say who the winner here is. We both got some exercise but probably both ended up mildly concussed. Where the Uwes are now beats me – I haven’t seen either of them since. Perhaps Uwe Jr. shared his horror story of a naked jiggling woman and they’ve decided to keep a low profile for now.
Me: Is that what you’re doing, Uwes??