Perhaps I should see this movie. I hear that it is pretty lame. I sort of wanted to see it because it was filmed in Cambria, about thirty miles to the northwest of where Brent and I were in our last year of studying horticulture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo at the time. Yet, I never select movies. I always leave that up to whomever I am seeing the particular movie with. None of my friends ever wanted to see Arachnophobia. The one friend who you would think would want to see it because of where and when it was filmed wanted nothing to do with it. You see, Brent, the famous horticulturist and landscape designer who works outside where spiders live, is afflicted with Arachnophobia.
About a year before the filming of Arachnophobia began, in early 1988, Brent lived in Sequoia Hall at Cal Poly to the north of San Luis Obispo, and I lived south of town, about twenty minutes away. Brent called me up early one morning as I was getting ready to leave for school to tell me about a spider in his dorm room. Perhaps “tell” is not the best word to describe his frantic panic. I mean, he was totally freaked out!
I told him to wake up Jerry, his roommate who usually slept in a bit later, and have him remove the spider. He got even more frantic and told me that Jerry was up in the room. Well, . . . if Jerry was up in the room, and Brent was not with Jerry, I just had to ask, “Where are you?!” “I’m calling from the payphone in the lobby!”, Brent explained frantically. (Telephones were hardwired in 1988.) Okay, so this complicated things a bit. He actually ran from the room and down from the third floor before stopping long enough to use a telephone? I told Brent that he should go back up to his room and have Jerry remove the spider. He really freaked out, and exclaimed, “Are you not listening?! THERE IS A SPIDER UP THERE!!”
Somehow, after explaining that Jerry did not answer the telephone when he had tried to call a few time before calling me, Brent convinced me to rush over and stop by before class to remove the spider for him. Brent was in his pajamas without slippers when I met him in the lobby and proceeded up to his room, where Jerry had just woken up to find Brent gone and the door wide open. We both went to the lower left sill of the window where Brent had seen the terrifying spider, and found it, dead. Yes. . . dead. I rushed over there, parked in a red zone, rushed upstairs, all to kill . . . a dead spider.
Well, it was not exactly a dead spider. It was the molted exoskeleton of a spider. In retrospect, I should have told Brent either that it was a dead spider, or that we had found and killed it. You see, Brent and I studied entomology together, so we knew how this molting process worked for certain insects. Arachnids like mites and spiders use a similar technique. As they grow too large for their external skeletal structure, they shed it, and then hide out somewhere while their new exterior hardens into a new exoskeleton. So when I told Brent that we found the molted exoskeleton, he freaked out all over again knowing that the spider was still hiding in his room, and that it was BIGGER!
I do not remember how Jerry and I got Brent to go home the following evening. Perhaps his second best option was to come to my house, where spiders were quite common. We never actually saw the spider.