Spider sense

Whenever I try out a new mouse—or help new Mac users set up their systems—the very first thing I do is program the mouse buttons so that they correspond to useful keyboard shortcuts. My current mouse (a left-handed Evoluent VerticalMouse 2 ) has five buttons, which I’ve programmed to perform control-clicks, call up the Dashboard, clear away my open windows so I can see my desktop, and display all windows so I can quickly switch documents. As a result, I almost never reach for these keys on my keyboard.

I hadn’t thought much about that phenomenon until last weekend. As I was sitting down my desk in my home office, I spotted a sizable black spider quickly scamper for cover—inside my Apple keyboard.

Now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a deep (and acknowledgedly irrational) fear of our eight-legged tenants. So when I called to my husband for help, he quite possibly thought that the house was on fire.

After I finally managed to explain the emergency to him, he picked up my keyboard and skeptically peered through the clear polycarbonate case to see if he could figure out what I was talking about. And then he saw the spider, nestled comfortably on the underside of my right-hand control key, as though without a care in the world.

And the fact is, it’s probably a pretty comfortable spot. Because I can’t think of the last time I actually pressed that key. Plus, the Apple keyboard offers open space between the three sections of keys, providing relatively easy access. Which raises the question of just how long the spider had called my control key home. As my husband will attest, it didn’t seem particularly concerned by the general banging of keys. Finally we did manage to annoy it enough that it decided to give up the fight and crawl out.

I wish I could say this story had a happy ending for all, since I do believe in a live-and-let-live policy. But my Mac is sacred space. And I can’t very well have squatters taking up residence, inviting other eight-legged friends over for cocktails. So clearly an example had to be made.

But it pains me to discourage any Apple fan. So rest in peace my little Mac-loving spider. You had great taste in homes. But I think I’ll be buying a new, slightly less accessible keyboard during the post-Christmas sales.

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