No Comment?

Friends, strangers, the curious-

as the little counter at the bottom of this page spins faster and faster, I wonder-

why no comments?

Am I posting too much, too fast? Not enough time to mull it over? If you saw me today and said, a little sheepishly, “Hey, I read your blog!” then you are now required to comment. At least once! Tell me you like something, or just say hi! You don’t have to be a blogger to comment. You don’t even have to talk about the post.

I’m on a stage here, and the bright lights keep me from seeing the audience. You came for the show, at least whistle or throw something at me!

In other news, I Have Been Bitten By A Poisonous Spider. It’s been a fun year people, and it just keeps getting better! Saturday morning I woke up in my tent, in my friend’s backyard, and found a half-dollar sized welt on my thigh, with a little bite-hole in the middle. I went to the zine symposium, and as the day went on, the red circle grew. It got sore, and hard, and grew and grew! I looked on the internet, and the only likely culprit for this act seems to be-

The Hobo Spider.
I know, the irony is killing me.

The Hobo Spider, (Tegenaria agrestis) apparently LOVES the pacific northwest. It also LOVES backyards and gardens, and although bites are uncommon, the most likely time to get bit is August. The bites are reported to be less severe than those of the brown recluse, and less likely to be necrotic (that’s where your flesh rots away).

This morning, the bite was still there. In fact, the red circle had gotten bigger. No streaks yet, no bulls-eye, nothing weird like that. But it was hot to the touch. I went to the second day of the zine symposium, and had a fun time showing it to people throughout the day.

“Look at my spider bite!” (pulls up short)

“UGGGGGGGHHHH!” (satisfying response from friend)

After the symposium I sped to the Herb Shoppe (which is now on Hawthorne), because I knew that they would, unlike “real doctors”, or even the internet (except for this guy, but Hydrangea doesn’t grow out here) have all the answers I needed. The red circle now covered most of the front of my thigh.

I walked into the shop, immediately reassured by the long shelves of glass jars. Plants! Any plant I need! Herbalism for the lazy man! I walked up the the counter.

“Yes?” asked the woman behind it.

“I have a spider bite- look! What plants should I use?” I pulled up the leg of my shorts.

“UGGGGGGHHHH!” It was not the response I was looking for, this time. “You should see a doctor! Right away! I mean, you should really see a doctor for that!”

“I mean, I know I could go to a doctor,” I said. “But I’m sure there are plants for this.”

Because, you know what? There have been spiders a lot longer than there have been antibiotics.

“Oh. Ok. Hold on, I’ll ask…” And she disappeared behind a curtain.

And then this nice woman came out, who’s name I can’t remember, but I think she’s the owner. I used to see her there alot when the shop was on Burnside, and I had herb school classes there.

This woman pulled me in back, into a little room like a doctor’s office, and had me show her the bite. Right away she touched it with her hand, and I immediately felt better. To have someone who might be able to help you, to have them put their hand on the place that hurts and say, see look right there, no streaking, it’s not infected- sometimes it feels like that is all I need. Like that could fix whatever is wrong with me.

She hurried me out into the front of the shop, and started pulling glass jars off the shelf, handing them to me.

“We’ll need plantain,” she said, “to pull out the poison. And comfrey. Echinacea, too.”

At the counter she unscrewed each jar, and picked up a scoop.

“Make a herb cake, you know how to make an herb cake?”

“No,” I said.

“You take a spoonful of powder, you mix it with a little boiling water.” she was talking rapidly, tossing the herbs together in a bag. “You put a circle of the paste on the bite, cover it with a hot towel.” she sealed the baggie, shook it up. “You do it three times a day, as often as possible.”

“There you go.” She put the bag on the scale. “Four dollars.”

I left the shop smiling, my little baggie in my backpack. I had had a feeling plantain would be the herb for me. I could’ve saved myself the trouble and picked it from the backyard, made my own poultice. But why do any of that when you’re in Portland, and you can go to a magical place like the Herb Shoppe? Where they look carefully at your bite, mix up a special blend for you, tell you how to use it, and then charge you next to nothing?

Plantain is the real deal, people.

Once upon a time, a friend of mine (Hi M.!) rode a train by herself to Eugene, from Portland. She was being a bit sketch, and trying to get into a boxcar that was moving too fast. Well, she fell, and scratched the hell out of her knee on the ballast, making a gnarly, bloody wound. Unperturbed, she got right back up and tried again, this time making it into the car. Her knee bled some and stained her pants, but she ignored it and rode to Eugene.

Arriving in Eugene, she realized that the blood had dried, and her pants had stuck to the wound. So she peeled them off, and her knee was swollen and a bit infected. So she cleaned it and went about her business, a day or two later getting on another train, and riding back to portland.

This friend got back to the house we were living at in Portland, and boy, was her knee infected! I don’t remember the details, but I think it was gnarly- swollen and pussy and stuff. Now, she could’ve gone to the doctor and gotten anti-biotics, but instead, one of our housemates knew just the thing-

“Plantain,” he said. “Pick some plantain, chew it up, (the enzymes in your saliva activate something or other) and make a poultice. Change the poultice as often as you can. The plantain will pull the infection out.” My friend followed his instructions, and sure enough, in a matter of days the knee was no longer infected, and it went on to heal normally.

So now, dear reader, we will see how well this plant works for the bite of the tent-dwelling hobo spider!

16 thoughts on “No Comment?

  1. Hello from northern Wi. I came across your blog a few weeks ago and last year spent some time looking around Wenethee Wa thinking about a job offer there but after seeing the realestate prices I changed my mind.This blog is different than most of the blogs I read, but I like it just because it is different. Well I said hi, have a nice day

  2. Just found your blog,so…hi 🙂
    It’s great that you found a good “doctor” to help you, few people do that anymore.

  3. Hi. Just clicked over from Urban Scout today. I hear you about the comments not happening. You wonder what people are thinking. It’s like having someone wander into your living room and look at all your stuff and then leave without saying anything.

    If you don’t know HoboStripper, you should peruse her blog. You might like it.
    She got bitten by a hobo spider recently also.

    Haha…actually just looked at your links and see she’s already on there. So never mind. 🙂

    Anyway, nice couch. I’ll see ya ’round 🙂

  4. good call on commentary. now if u just do that every day u will have all the comments you could like i imagine. even i would have otherwise just clicked out of this apparatous in stelthy silcence. or maybe it is especialy i. u know how im’ crazy with these machines. my dad and i just listened to black metal (Witch) together, now we are listening to the famous french singer “Barbara.” Its raining like crazy and bothering me. but i havent found a place where i can safely feel to read the story about greta. i tried just a second ago and almost lost my little mental island i am camping on right now. thank god u had a nice story about spider bite to life raft me in. love u.

  5. carrot,
    in my years of the blogging I’ve noticed one thing –
    If you want people to write to you, you must write boring things like OMG BLEEDING I GOTS ME PERIOD AND BOY PROBLEMS REAL BADS, and then people know how to easily engage with it and be like OMG ME 2! But if you write the kind of magical tales that you are prone to dish out at an alarmingly impressive rate, which are wonderous and fantastical, well then, maybe it’s a bit harder to write back, because it takes effort to engage with such a thing.
    Thanks for promoting my new blog. I’m going to go work on it right now!

  6. Plantain is indeed the real deal! I use it mostly on mosquito bites or bee stings. Sometimes I use yarrow as well. I’ve got a yard full of medicine.

  7. Hi Carrot ~ I found your blog about a week ago from a link at Hobo Stripper.
    I really enjoy the honesty in your writing. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  8. the internet is free and costly, public and a private sneaky place.

    i read your new zine this morning on the bus and it got me working again on my own stories, so thank you for that inspiration.

    once i had a line of spider bites across my face. one of the bites closed up my eye and i got so freaked out that i wrote a last will and testament in which i left my pink cassette player to my mother, i was eight years old.

  9. I thought I commented, but now I don’t see it. Anyways, I don’t comment all the time cause I don’t want you to think I’m some creepy weirdo who reads your blog every day.

  10. Dear Carrot, I came here via Hobo Stripper’s site a couple of weeks ago. You are both great writers and I check both of your sites a few times a day to look around or check for updates. I am addicted to both your sites, does that make me a “creepy weirdo?” I did not comment because I have never commented on the Internet before, it makes me nervous and paranoid because of its exposure and permanency. The comment box also makes me nervous but I shall proceed. I also don’t comment because your writing silences me and stirs things in my mind and spirit and I like to linger in that, it is a sign of great art. I have been spellbound by your stories and they move me so, sometimes after reading them I think about them for days. Some are haunting, like “No Monsters,” where you wrote about your apartment, the black plastic bags, and how “Smoke would funnel out the window as if from a vacuum, a good clean vacuum, god’s vacuum.” Frankly, this insight astounded me, it was such an interesting observation. But there is also a lighthearted quality to your writings that is refreshing, like your spirit shines through your writings. You have a gift for detail that brings your stories to life, like when you wrote: “…California desert, warm sunrise in a pink and turquoise sky, glowing for all the world like early eighties surfwear.” I was impressed by such original and unique detail and metaphor, you painted the perfect CA sky. Your freight train adventures are harrowing yet exciting to read, I had to white-knuckle it through your piece, “Once Upon a Time I Almost Froze to Death on a Train.” Your detailed and descriptive prose made me feel like I was right there, under the axle of a freight train crossing the cascade mountains. When you wrote: “…the holes in the floor become a vacuum, an eveil, sucking portal of doom…” it scared the hell out of me! Your piece, “Wishbone Georges Rides the Train to Dunsmuir” was absolutely hilarious, I am still smiling from that piece and I could relate to “Sarah Moniously” needing coffee. There was more I wanted to comment on after going through your archives but this comment is too long. See you soon when I check for new stories!

  11. Teresa-

    Thank you so much for your comment. You have no idea how much it means to me. The internet IS public and permanent, it’s true, but also very therapeutic! There’s something amazing about knowing there are strangers like you reading my blog, and appreciating it. And it’s the only reason I keep writing!

  12. Carrot, I stumbled across your blog a lil bit ago and am completely engrossed! It’s funny that I planned on commenting today just to say Hello, and then I read this post. 🙂
    I can’t wait to catch up to your present day posts, thanks for sharing your (awesomely-written) stories!!

  13. Carrot,

    Well, since you asked, HI! I just finished your PCT trip blogs and am now going back to the old archives because I like the way you write and I’m curious to know more about you. You appear to have had an unusual life.

    I usually don’t comment much on stranger’s blogs. It seems a little creepy to be like, “I’m watching you!”, when you have no clue who I am. Especially when I know so much about you. But I suppose “lurking” is kind of creepy too.

    I’m on my porch in the sun and I just watched a fellow walk by, “picking up his feet high like he was walking through mud” and then thought, wait, that’s a description like Carrot would use – she’s getting into my brain! But it’s a good thing. I’ve always been a more scientific/technical writer, so I still value using just the right word or phrase and being concise, but you’ve got me thinking maybe I should use those talents toward some other purpose.

    I know it’s not 2008 anymore. I hope you see this.


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