Monday, June 07, 2010

More on the Classification of Spiders: A Holistic Approach

It's time to revisit the classification system for spiders. The original proposal overlooks the need for situational ratings. These are vital if we wish to discuss encounters with spiders in their totality. Classifying spiders according to visual cues provides us with an understanding only of the spider, not the overall threat inherent in the circumstances under which the confrontation occurs.

For example. This morning. I had an experience. I had just gotten up and I didn't have my glasses on. La la la, I brush my teeth, everything is very nice, it's a beautiful day, etc. etc. Then I see something out of the corner of my eye that looks like a gnat on the wall. But it's a gnat, so whatever, la la la, my teeth are so happy and clean, hooray. Brush brush brush scrub scrub scrub.

Then I put on my glasses and catch this cheeky category two halfway through a descent from the ceiling, frozen in midair like he thinks the stupid thing that can't see won't notice him if he doesn't move his legs. And he has a lot of leg he could move. He is a mother of a daddy longlegs. Under ordinary circumstances this would be a startling but easily rectifiable problem. When, on the other hand, your function is limited by not being entirely awake and suffering from visual impairment, a whole new set of possible complications arises, namely these: (1) I could have walked into it, (2) it could have landed on my face, and (3) if properly aligned I could have swallowed it.

So, it was a category two, but extenuating circumstances made it seem much more like a category three. However, referring to it as a category three wouldn't be accurate and it's important to be accurate. You can't radio headquarters and tell them you've got a category three (over!) when you've technically got a category two, because the troopers they send will be on the lookout for the wrong spider and could be taken by surprise. I believe this demonstrates a clear need for the aforementioned situational rating.

It seems to me that the best solution is a number/letter pairing, where the number is the category corresponding to visual assessment, and the letter indicates the danger level according to real-life conditions. Off the top of my head I'm going to list a few possible circumstances you may wish to denote when categorizing run-ins with spiders:

A. Spider chooses to infiltrate when the enemy is incapacitated in some way, whether tired, sick, drunk, or not wearing glasses
B. Spider launches offensive when you don't have time to deal with him, and then disappears while you're gone, leaving you with the almost certain prospect of being ambushed later
C. Spider turns up in a totally inappropriate place, such as a shoe, a cupboard, a bed, or your lap
D. Spider appears with undue suddenness, ex. dropping from the ceiling
E. Spider jumps (although these are usually small, I'm assigning them a higher rating because they're wretchedly difficult to kill)
F. Spider lays eggs (applies to any and all such occurrences within a one-mile radius of your person, and includes even the mere suspicion of such an occurrence)
Z. Spider makes sneak attack during sleep (this is the ultimate nightmare scenario, qualifying it for the highest possible ranking)

Fortunately this morning only brought a 2A: relatively minor. To live in this apartment, however, is to live under the constant threat of a 1F-3F, which is not pretty: these hideous creatures for some unknown reason multiply wildly by the electrical wires outside my window. After today's incident I refortified the place by spraying deterrent around the windows, but the daddy longlegs tend to come in under the door from downstairs, so tomorrow it's out with the vacuum cleaner and goodbye to situations rated A through E. F obviously will be ongoing, and Z . . . there's no stopping Z.


Christi said...

okay... seriously freaked out about the spiders now. ::checks all plausible corners::

Pandora said...

Oh thank goodness. I've been dying for a situational guide to dealing with my spiders. Just the other day I had a 2D and was at a loss of how to properly describe the problem.

Do you have any thoughts on how to proceed with my annual war on the scutigera coleoptrata species? Apparently they "beat" their prey into submission with one or more of their fifteen pairs of legs. I've never stuck around long enough to find out if that's true..

Simon said...

A 2D! My condolences.

I'm not surprised to find that the scutigera coleopatrata are morally depraved in addition to being horrifying. It's hardly fair to beat your prey with your legs when you have so many. The approach I usually take is "whack with shoe until dead" but usually I spend two or three minutes standing on a chair whimpering first. I should think about classifications for creatures other than spiders. House centipedes would be high on the scale in terms of the horror factor.