The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, May 08, 2004  

Schools, Siblings, and Spiders

I’m beginning to wonder whether I really am as “sensitive” as people say I am.

I remember reading, surreptitiously, and some 30 years ago, a report to my parents from my elementary school: “Jim is very sensitive.”

And I know more than one sibling has conveyed that notion -- “Jim is very sensitive” -- to my parents.

The reason I recall this now is because of a spider.

At our house here in Philadelphia we put out our trash and our recyclables on Thursday nights. Most Friday mornings the first person out of the house tosses the blue recyclables bin over the wall into our garden.

This morning I went to fetch the bin and saw that a spider had spun a beautiful web across the top of the receptacle.

I froze.

Not out of fear, but from sensitivity.

The spider was still there, basking in the glory of his great creation, or maybe just waiting for food.

Either way, I couldn’t figure out exactly what to do.

I wasn’t about to destroy the web, nor send the spider scurrying to who knows where to start again, but I knew the web eventually would be destroyed, that once the first soda cans were dumped in the bin.

And so I carefully carted the container from one side of the garden to the other, hoping for the best for him, the spider I mean, at least for a while.

Okay, so call me sensitive.

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