When Live Wires Get Their Wires Crossed

, , , | Working | February 13, 2013

(I’m the only female on the electrics crew for a summer theater company. During this time, the company stays in the dorms at a nearby university. The company works in an old, somewhat converted barn that is locked up all winter and is extremely unclean and hazardous when the theater company arrives in the summer. On this day, my crew is removing lighting instruments from our closet and scrubbing rust off of them with steel wool and rubbing alcohol.)

Master Electrician: *screams like a little girl, jumps up, and runs to the other side of the barn/theater*

Me: “What?! What’s wrong?”

Master Electrician: “BLACKWIDOWBLACKWIDOWBLACKWIDOW!”

Me: “What?”

Master Electrician: “There’s a black widow!”

(Reminder: everybody else on this crew are men. I start over toward the area where the master electrician has seen this spider.)

Master Electrician: “Oh, my God! What are you doing?!”

Me: “I figured I’d kill it.”

(At this point I can see the small, BROWN spider and am going to step on it.)

Master Electrician: *high-pitched scream* “No! DON’T DON’T DON’T! Don’t! It’ll get in the tread of your boot and it’ll end up in my room and it’ll kill me!”

(Our rooms literally couldn’t be further apart; we’re in different wings on different floors.)

Me: “I seriously don’t think that’s going to happ— What the f*** are you doing?!”

([Master Electrician] has come back towards the spider, brandishing a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a cigarette lighter.)

Me: “We’re in a barn! Don’t even think about setting that spider on fire!”

Master Electrician: “BUT IT HAS TO DIE!”

(I grab his lighter away from him and grind the spider to death with the toe of my boot.)

Master Electrician: “That was so stupid and reckless! What’s wrong with you?!”

(I am pleased to report that the common brown spider did not morph into a black widow, did not stow away in the tread of my boots, did not go back to the dorms with us, and did not traverse the building to kill the master electrician in his sleep. Sadly, the master electrician who tried to set a spider on fire is still a certified electrician, licensed to wire people’s homes.)

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