I woke up last night to the sound of scratching.
Still mostly asleep, I squinted at the clock. 4:15. Ugh.
The sound was like a deep scraping. And then I realized it was coming from inside my ear.
Here’s the thing: In the summer we put a fan in our window; sometimes it sucks tiny flying bugs through the screen. Sometimes they get in your ear a little. Is not a big deal. But this one seemed deeper than usual—it was clearly pressing right against my eardrum. So I sighed and dragged myself out of bed to get a Q-Tip.
Yes, I know you’re not supposed to stick them in your ears. I’m careful.
So I did what I normally do in such situations: very gently and slowly work the Q-Tip into my ear until it touches the eardrum, just barely. Stickiness and such is usually enough to get anything out. And I did see a couple tiny specks. But the scraping sound continued.
I tried again, fluffing up the end of the Q-Tip and swirling it around a bit. The scraping sound continued.
I was starting to get a little worried, but I tried again. A little more fluffing, a little more swirling. The scraping sound continued.
I was getting desperate. I was thinking about jumping in the shower to get some water in there, but checked the medicine cabinet first, for saline. I found something even better: an alcohol-based solution used for drying out stubborn water after swimming or whatnot. So I squirted a few drops in there.
Immediately I felt liquid running out, which was weird as I didn’t think I’d put that much in there. I reached up quickly and brushed the liquid away.
This is when I discovered it wasn’t liquid at all. It was in fact the thing that had been making the scraping sound:
It was a spider.
A spider about half an inch in diameter, including legs. A pale brown spider. In my ear. Scraping at my ear drum.
I did not sleep any more after that. I’m not sure I’m going to.