The cement hallways reverberated with enthusiastic greetings and huffing and puffing induced by the cold winter air. Parents and siblings assumed the role of indentured servitude, hauling overstuffed luggage and laundry hampers up a couple flights of stairs. The watchful eyes of resident advisers monitored the busy foot traffic.
“Welcome back for Spring Semester!”
Winter break was over.
Brian, Jeff and I settled in over conversation on the joys of our concluded Christmas vacations, bragging of travels and gifts received. It was hard to believe my first semester at Northwestern College had come and gone, and now a whole new four months of academic pursuits stretched before us.
I put on my jacket, which had been placed beside Jeff’s brimming laundry baskets on his bed. The dormitory buildings stayed moderately warm, but Minnesota’s cruel January climate reminded us of our mortality. Brian adjusted settings and dabbled on his electronic drum set. Jeff folded clothes and organized his desk. I tackled the already-mounting pile of dishes.
Standing at the kitchenette sink, I caught a small, lighter dot moving across the shoulder of my jacket, contrasted against the thick black threads. I brushed it off. A moment later, two more tiny figures crept across the opposite shoulder. I took a closer look. Disbelief.
“Guys, why are there mini-spiders on my shoulder? I’m not a fan of pranks right now.”
I had never been fond of spiders, although not completely scared of them (my little brother, Lee, however…). I mentally reminded myself to stay calm as I ground the little arachnids into the speckled brown carpet. Perhaps I was a bit frazzled.
Jeff turned to his bed, upon which sat two laundry baskets he had previously declared rescued from his unfinished basement back home in Iowa. An army of spider babies emerged across his once-clean clothes, onto blankets, down bunk bed posts and newly-strung webs.
This was D-Day. And we would not go quietly into that good night.
I pulled back my shaggy collegiate hair with a bandanna. Jeff yelled as he turned up Blink 182 on the stereo. Brian buried face in palms. I silently spewed expletives to myself. We sprang to action, gathering weapons for the war: broom, vacuum, furious obscenities (judge as you will–let’s see how composed you remain when faced with the Armaggedon of your college life).
Within moments, the dorm room was turned upside down. Furniture pulled into the center, fiercely thorough vacuuming of carpets and corners, close attention to any moving dots scattered about the scene.
As fellow students meandered the hallway, questions were raised as to why dresser drawers and mattresses were stacked outside our door. We laughed maniacally. A couple friends recruited hand-held vacuums.
Jeff returned from hosing off one of the laundry baskets, which he determined was the source of our sworn enemies. Some clever spider mother spun a nest under the lip of the basket in the cool, dark Iowan basement. We wrapped up and began pushing bunk beds back into place.
Then, the unthinkable.
Jeff screamed in frustration. Brian sighed heavily. To our horror, another platoon of baby spiders attacked from an unhidden nest in the second laundry basket. We regrouped with vacuums and the artillery of curses. Jeff once again tore out of the room, this time to hose out the second basket’s lip from such evil offspring.
Never had I expected such apocalyptic, fury-inducing, chaos-creating, havoc-wreaking relentlessly-invading, unwelcome roommates in my dorm room. Especially not at the facile onset of the spring semester.
All said and done, Brian and Jeff and I sat amazed at the ridiculousness of the situation.
At least we got some spring cleaning done.
What unwelcome guests have invaded your space? Have any terrible spider stories?