A Tale of Ten Legs

I'd driven down to NC to visit my parents today, and as my return to VA neared, I opened the passenger door of my car to load in a few items. As it were, I'd left the windows cracked a bit so the interior wouldn't accumulate an inferno-like heat, and as I jostled a hat I'd left on the seat, I noticed a sizable gray spider. I leapt into action with unusual swiftness, and, using the hat, I was fairly confident I'd swept it onto the ground.

However...about 15 minutes later, driving down the road, I felt the sensation of something scampering about in my abundant chest hair. My mind almost immediately leapt to the spider, though I thought the odds of it being that – versus possibly some other, presumably more benign insect – were low. Nonetheless, with my left hand, I yanked my shirttail out of my shorts, raised myself slightly off the seat, and somehow reached, from the bottom, pretty much all the way up the inside of my shirt and used a sweeping motion against my body, whereupon...a gray spider fell onto the bottom of the seat.

That then presented another concern, in that, attired in shorts, I very much feared that it might run right up my leg and into them. And while I might've been able to dislodge it from the interior of my shirt while driving and still clothed, that likely wouldn't have been the case were it to launch an intrusion from my thighs. So, I swiftly lifted my butt quite a bit off the seat and furiously brushed the seat cushion with my left hand, and while I believed I'd swept the spider onto the floor, I wasn't sure.

For the remaining 45 minutes of the drive, I resisted the urge to pull over to (a) inspect underneath the seat, since I was concerned the spider might be lurking there and hop onto my legs, and (b) begin Googling to try to figure out what kind of spider it was and what threat it might pose.

I have to say, I was proud of myself for maintaining sufficient composure to steer responsibly while driving 60 m.p.h. on U.S. 17 and trying to address the scary spider situation.

Once I got back into town and was driving much more slowly, I saw what appeared to possibly be a smashed spider on the floor. When I actually got home and parked, I determined that apparently, I did stomp the spider after brushing it out of the seat bottom.

I then photographed it so I could see it better.

After unloading my stuff at home, one of the first things I did was Google to determine what sort of spider it was. It seems it was likely a Tan Jumping Spider (which...can be gray), and is apparently considered friendly and poses basically no harm to people (even if it bites you when threatened). Then, maybe I felt a tiny bit bad about stomping it on the floor, but really, having the spider and me in the car was one occupant too many.

(P.S. I have no particular experience with spider identification, but the fact that the spider had somehow gotten onto me suggested it'd jumped, and I thought there was such a thing as a jumping spider. So, with a visual ID guide to provide a couple of good possibilities to pursue further, plus the photo of the spider, I felt fairly confident in the conclusion I'd reached.)

Note: I originally shared this as a personal Facebook post.