So one of the fun things about living in England is the many and varied bug life. Well, okay, that's not fun (although the absence of the palmetto bug is actually fun. You'll get no complaints from me on that score. No huge flying roaches is a big plus for any place. You could ask me any day of the year, "So, Stacia, would you rather live somewhere with enormous flying roaches, or somewhere without enormous flying roaches?" and I'll say, "Without, please.")

Anyway. I have of late started trying to identify some of the bugs I see--there was a huge bee on my car the other day, a fuzzy one. I hunted around Wikipedia until I found it. Then there was a very large pink-and-green moth in my living room. And a red moth outside. Hey, there's little else for me to do here.

Yesterday I decided to see if I could find out what the little tiny red spiders that swarm on my patio every summer are called. Turns out they seem, in fact, to be called "tiny red spiders". There is a spider mite, which is red, and a velvet mite, which is also red, but they don't look like the spiders we have. And it seems a lot of people get these, as there are quite a few bug-discussion forums with long threads devoted to these tiny red spiders and their annoying swarming habits.

Someone on one of these threads asked about how to kill the spiders, because they get in the house. Another person chimed in that they've invaded her toddler's sandbox and she'd quite like to kill them too.

You've never seen such outrage. Well, okay, you probably have, but still. Everyone and their brothers joined in to berate these people for daring to kill some harmless little creatures, and to say what awful people they are for not wanting tiny red spiders to crawl all over their little children. I got the distinct impression that some of the commenters were in fact agents of the tiny red spiders, spies if you will, in thrall to the Tiny Red Spider Queen and commanded by her to protect the race at all costs, and if they failed in that task they would be devoured. I just found their passion...well, confusing, to be honest. They're bugs. Okay, technically they're arachnids, but let's be honest. It's not like if you kill an army of tiny red spiders you'll hear their shreiks rising up from the pavement. It's not as though there will be tiny red spider mothers at home wringing their hands and wondering why their babies never returned home. The tiny red spiders aren't working on a cure for cancer or anything, guys.

Now, I dislike spiders. I know it kills part of my "cool spooky writer" quotient but the fact is, I don't like them. I like that they exist, because it is a powerful and sometimes inspirational image, but I'm not crazy about the actual creatures. They're in my house; I can't do much about that, because for some reason there is an actual vent to the outdoors in my living room wall and they get in that way, or through the open windows (remember, no screens here) or whatever.

But despite my dislike, and despite my general bugs-outdoors-live, bugs-indoors-die rule (Why do I kill them? Because I can, that's why. I'm kind of bloodthirsty), I don't kill spiders. I use the time-honored glass-and-paper trap to catch them and put them outside. (Well, okay, I confess. At one point last year we had several dozen spiders in the house, all having built webs up near the ceiling, and in a fit of pique we vacuumed them all up with the hose attachment. But ordinarily we don't kill spiders.)

Because it's bad luck.

I was honestly surprised nobody on the bug forums mentioned the bad-luck aspect. I thought everyone knew it was bad luck to kill a spider (in the case of Vacuum Day, we figured we'd built up enough good luck with all the spiders we'd saved over the years to get away with it. Plus, there were dozens of them. Our home looked like Miss Havisham's place.)

So killing a spider is bad luck. As is breaking a mirror, or walking with one shoe on and one shoe off, or sweeping dust out the doors instead of into the center of the room, or opening an umbrella inside, or any number of other things.

Are you superstitious? What's good luck or bad luck to you?

**Don't forget, my summer series this year is on writing hot sex scenes! Come on by and join in!**


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