Dear Spider,

It has now been about a week since you moved into my room and spun your web. As you may know, I am not a big fan of spiders. At the same time, however, I try—according to Rupert Lay’s biophilia postulate—to promote life rather than destroy it. This is why I accept you as my silent roommate. To be perfectly honest, I have built up something of an emotional attachment to you. I have been observing you for a while now. I couldn’t help but notice how bad your tactics concerning catching prey are.

You have spun an elaborate triangular web, which I found odd in the first place. Aren’t spiders supposed to spin hexagonal or even octagonal webs? Anyway, concerning spiders’ webs, you are the expert. After all, this web cannot be that bad. At least an insect traps itself in it every now and then. Now this is where my lack of understanding begins.

Yesterday, for instance, an apparently ill bee trapped itself in your web. I got very excited because, as a spider, you probably don’t catch a bee every day. I was waiting tensely for you to race toward the bee and annihilate it. But you didn’t. You were just sitting in your corner, totally and utterly uninterested. The bee wriggled and struggled until it freed itself from your insidious trap. Obviously, the bee was highly interested in leaving the room and, therefore, remained near the skylight, which is where you have your web. Consequently, the bee got tangled up in your web several times and the scenario repeated itself. On one occasion, you managed to pull yourself together and at least go and have a look at the bee. You turned away immediately and traipsed back to your corner. Secretly, I hoped you had injected the bee with your deadly poison. After about an hour I gave up this hope. (But what did you do, then? You didn’t lick the bee, did you?) I thought: “Well, probably the bee is simply too big for you and you can’t really take a bite. Or maybe you just don’t like bees that much.”

However, today a tiny midge got entangled in your web. “Perfect,” I thought. “You will easily be able to tear this wee midge into bite-sized pieces.” Far from it! You reacted the same way you did when your web caught the bee yesterday. You were sitting in your corner, not giving a damn about the (probably delicious) midge. Just like the bee, the midge was fighting and gave all it had to free itself from its bondage. In doing so, the midge unintentionally moved all over your web. I noticed that it moved directly toward you. The distance between you and the midge diminished. You stayed motionless. Suddenly I realized that you must have beguiled me. You aren’t lethargic or apathetic; you’re an ice-cold, reckless killer! You wait until your prey comes to you and then you attack it cold-bloodedly. The midge came closer and closer. The distance was now less than an inch. I got ready for your brutal attack. The midge touched your leg and you … you … you turned around and curled up in a hole!

How on earth am I supposed to explain this to myself? I can’t even tell this story to anyone, because no one would believe it anyway. This web that you built, its purpose is to catch other small animals, isn’t that right? Shouldn’t you, as soon as prey gets tangled up in this web, go there and poison it, bite it to death, choke it, asphyxiate it, or even eat it alive (which would be the most cold-blooded, I suppose)? What’s all this in aid of? What is the reason for your utter refusal to devour the prey you caught? Aren’t you hungry? Are you scared of those insects? Are you expecting me to put spider-bite-sized bits of bananas, carrots, or tofu in your web?

I can in no way understand your behavior, and, to be perfectly honest, it is starting to annoy me. This web also catches dust particles and other small objects and, hence, is not particularly an improvement for the look of my room. Either you behave like a spider from now on or you will have to leave my room by tomorrow evening. Provided you haven’t famished by then.

Peter Ruescher