Not on the Agenda

by Cheap Wine Curious

spiderswebRoutine is critical to sustaining a peaceful common life. Routine has been routinely a stranger to me. My days, weeks and hours were once heavily calendared with commotion. “Peg, what is on the agenda for today?” I would exclaim as I rushed past her desk into my office, feeling the oncoming doom of the first meeting of the day, aka another needless circle jerk of confounding perpetuity. “You have a budget meeting and – it’s in conference room 3NB. Oh wait, it’s been changed to conference room 5SC.”Another day, another conference room appointed on the basis of maddening geopolitical determinism.

Before I could drop my coat, dribble coffee and calm my solar plexis, I hear Peg exclaim,”meeting cancelled, you’re free until 10am.” Great, I can put down the map, and tackle my aggregate of emails missed while commuting, check the stock price and commence my prayers for an annual bonus. In a corporation, you can never bestow enough homage to the dark lords of the bonus pool. They can decide to grant you a check of such largess you now have the means to acquire an Audi convertible before summer, or an all inclusive tropical family vacation. Alternatively the dark lords can withhold all reward and damn you to a staycation of updating your resume. With pauper’s pleasure, I have now moved on to a simpler life free of conference rooms named after bogus affectations of emotional intelligence. See you in conference room “C U next thursday sucka!”

I digress….back to my bucolic horror story.

On the agenda for today was a thorough assessment of gopher damage in our “rustic’ garden. My, how life gives you twists and turns. Fall was here in full crisp beauty. The vineyard beyond the weathered fenced was a blur of golden browns and yellows. Acres of dark etched vines preparing for their winter rest. The morning sun was beaming above the ridge separating Sonoma from Napa. As I took in this sights, smells, sounds I neglected to think. I naively transferred my foot from a cozy shearling slipper into a well worn, muddy, garden clog without checking for inhabitants.

Hmm, something was in there, like a very soft jelly bean. It’s touching my right big toe and jiggling. Must be a leaf or a blossom. My left foot slipped uneventfully into the other clog and off I went to survey gopher carnage to our unsightly 3/4 acre patch of “ornamental” bermuda grasses, forlorn rose bushes and neglected half barrel planters.

You may be thinking, “How impetuous to put your foot into an open shoe left outside overnight.” The idea surfaced not long after the sensation of that soft orb against my toe triggered it. What if….

I took off the shoe and lightly upended it shaking downward. What bounced out onto the gravel was a black widow SPIDER! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. Oh my God. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

If the neighbors were spying through the fence at that moment, they would be entertained by my vigorous and impromptu Native American  War Dance with accompanying cries. Before the gardeners 3 doors down could dial 911, I was phlegmatic. My composure may have been due to the onset of shock, but my self diagnosis was soon thwarted by the sight of  that poor little arachnid in fetal position, legs contracted inward, frozen from the assault of my right big toe.

Had I killed it or had it crawled up into my garden clog to die? Faster than you can say “Kübler-Ross” the bugger started to unfold on the gravel and move about. Our mutual death was not our fate today. The bulbous black shiny abdomen with the tell-tale red hour glass was seductive. What to do next? How could I exterminate this beautiful specimen? How could I set it free only to have it procreate more lurking killers? I had an idea.

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
― Oscar Wilde