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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

South Carolina Wildlife, etc.

My driveway has beautiful trees arching over it.  Unfortunately, in summer (which is about 9 months long here), those lovely trees are infested with spiders.  I used to park my motorcycle right under them at the bottom of the driveway.  At first, there were just spider webs on it occasionally, no big deal.  Then I’d sometimes have to brush off a spider.  I don’t like spiders.  Still, this wasn’t the end of the world.  Then it got to the point where I’d brush off webs every day.  One day after I’d been at work for about 10 minutes, I bent my head over my notebook, and a spider fell from my hair onto my desk. 
I yelped, grabbed Kleenex, and mushed it.  And got made fun of all day, because I kept twitching and batting invisible spiders off of me.  You know the feeling – you can just tell it’s tickling on your arm or neck.  Ugh. 

After that day, I started parking my bike farther forward, so it wasn’t as much under the trees.  This has seemed to work fairly well, except that it makes getting the car in and out of the driveway a little more difficult.  I’ve occasionally brushed webs off of the bike, but haven’t had any spider incidents lately.  It’s now part of my morning routine, however, to walk up to the bike, and while it’s warming up, look it over for webs.  Yesterday morning, I was running a little late (and I’m never really awake before 11).  I checked over the bike, got on, and pulled out of the driveway.  I was making the last turn before leaving the neighborhood, and straightening up, when I noticed there was a baby alien on my windshield.  Let me state, for those who don’t know it, that motorcycle windshields typically end below eye level, so you’re looking over it at the road, not through it.  That’s still no excuse for missing the baby alien, though, since it was about half the size of the windshield.  It was a grayish green color, and reminded me of a cricket, but for several differences.  It had a distinct head part, looked vaguely slimy, and was larger than my hand. 

I would never live it down if I crashed because of a bug, so I quickly stopped, put the bike in neutral, and ran away.  I’m not sure without a specimen anyone would believe I’d found a baby alien.   I got about ten steps away when my brain caught up.  I couldn’t really abandon the bike because of a bug, either, without being teased for life, and I didn’t have an alternate way to get to work.  I took a deep breath, turned around, and walked back to the bike.  I turned it off, removed the key, and retreated again.  I looked all around to see if some strong manly guy would be willing to help a girl in distress, but it was just me.  I took another deep breath, and decided I’d have to get it off the windshield myself.  Can you imagine driving and having it fly off the windshield into your face?  I know a fellow biker who had a bat collide fatally with his windshield, and despite being splattered, he was able to pull over safely and clean up.  I’m pretty sure I’d have a tough time with that.  I inventoried my options and supplies, and it was looking pretty slim.  I could bat it with my sunglasses, but then I’d have to put them back on my face.  I could use my boot to swipe it off, but then I’d only have one shoe on to escape if it came after me.  I could try kicking down from the windshield to keep both my boots on, but the thought of kicking my bike over or cracking the windshield made me nervous. 

After deliberation, I decided to remove my boot and bat it down.  I edged closer in one boot and one sock, aimed, swung, and jumped back.  And I’d missed.  I had to steel myself a second time.  This time I aimed more closely, swung, and it was gone.  I didn’t see where it flew (crawled, jumped, or teleported) to, so I threw my boot back on, didn’t bother zipping it, hopped on the bike, and sped off.  When I drove past the spot at lunch, there was no sign of the baby alien.  I’ll be sure to check my windshield every day, though.


  1. I want a picture of the next alien you come across. :) Then maybe I could ID it for you and all would be right with the world. And I might get a new pet.

  2. I personally would like to remain convinced that it was a baby alien, and it won't be able to survive or reproduce in our environment. That way I can sleep soundly knowing never again in my life will I have to see one of those things. If I'm wrong, and I have the misfortune to find another one, I'll try and take a photo for you before I panic.