Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Spiders Surrounded Him At Night

The first year I taught, I got stalked by a psychotic ex-Marine who kept making references to his abilities with firearms. Although he had been removed from my class, I still feared him and on days when I would be home alone, an untenable reality, I would go to the library on campus to wait on the long hours until my then-husband returned from work. I felt safe in libraries -- there were books and people and I could hide from the world without the ever-pounding drumbeat of fear in my my mind. Of the two libraries on campus, I'd often find myself in the science one because of its small size and large collection of psychology textbooks full of case studies. As a child, I had been obsessed with the margins of behavior and read all that I could about those who were disturbed. Tales of twins that spoke in secret languages, the coping mechanisms of the afflicted and alone, these were the pleasure reading of my days.

Of course, my story has an irony that would never work in fiction -- about a year after these long library days, I realized that my stalker worked in the very library I used as a refuge from my lonely apartment. And it reminded me of a story I had heard as a child about a man who had ventured into a little room out in the wilds of Australia, surrounded by funnel-web spiders, regarded by some people as the most venomous spiders in the world. The man slept on a cot, but was not bit. The spiders surrounded him at night and because he was deeply alcoholic, he thought they were the final symptom of his disease, the delirium tremors. He knew he was in danger, but thought it an illusion of an overtaxed mind. And so he felt safe and this delusion kept him so, at least from the present danger at hand, just as I had been kept safe from ever running into the man who sought to harm me. I suppose he never figured his prey would come to him.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"To a patient, no surgery is ever routine." Julia Cameron

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: St. Elswhere Gnarls Barkley

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!


Charles Gramlich said...

Libraries do feel safe. Perhaps it's something about the Order you find there.

Cheri said...

The library is my refuge from the world when life becomes too much. Thank God that JCO has written so many books... the woman keeps me occupied and entertained. The non-fiction section has a lot of treasures in it as well and I think that I'm going to be pilfering through it very soon...

the walking man said...

What's a library? Should have just shot the fucker in the face.



had to hit post 4 times to come up with a word verification that was less than 6 far so good on my new years resolution.

Alexander Pope said...

"Finney prey"=fish

Short bus and Special said...

We ice fish through the hole on Anchor Bays, michs.

Miladysa said...

"I suppose he never figured his prey would come to him."

That line sent a chill through me :)

Paul said...


Anonymous said...

Hey walking man, there are better ways of resolving issues than that. All that anger, not good, man.

the walking man said...

Hey Wayne you deal your cards the way you see fit and let me deal mine the way I see fit OK?