Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is that a spider or an alien?

When I first came to Australia, from Iowa, the biggest spider I had ever seen was about the size of your thumbnail--even then, they always scared me.

Well, now I was in Australia, and like they say in Texas--they grow 'em big down here!

I was sharing a house with two other female Australian teachers--Ruth and Maaike---all of us first year teachers--so everything was a learning experience--even for them, as they had been raised in major cities and now we were all in 'the bush'. The town's name was Rainbow (and yes, I will write more about Rainbow later).

The girls had arrived to the house before me and had chosen their bedrooms--on the first come, first serve basis--why should the 'Yank' get preference--which is probably fair enough--but my bedroom ended up being a room that could only squeeze in a single bed, had one single very small wardrobe on the opposite wall, and a desk top under the window which looked onto the bindie patch back yard--in otherwords, I was sleeping in the kitchen's former pantry!

Well, one night I was getting ready to go to bed when I noticed a HUGE huntsman spider on the wall by my bed. I asked the girls to please help me get rid of it--as I was somewhat petrified of its size--it was at least half the size of my whole hand -- something I just didn't think was possible! But they wouldn't help me--apparently I had to learn how to cope with Australia on my own!

So, I went back into my bedroom and discussed the situation with the spider--by now, he had moved a bit further away from my bed, but was still in my small space. I decided the only way I could get rid of him was to get the fireplace poker and just stab him! So I grabbed the poker, came back into my room and pointed it straight at the spider. Then he moved his head and looked straight at me--don't know if you have ever noticed, but spiders have ENORMOUS eyes---I couldn't do it! How could I hurt something with those soulful eyes? So I put the poker down, talked to the spider again, saying:

"Listen. I really don't want to hurt you, but no offense, you are creeping me out! If you would just leave my room and go away, I would sleep so much better! I have to teach tomorrow, and you are keeping me awake! It will be your fault tomorrow if I am a gooey ga ga mess in front of my class--do you want to live with that? Just move out to the kitchen or the laundry room--anywhere but here!"

I sat on my bed and looked at him for a while, then just decided to trust my instincts, turned off the light and went to bed. I tossed and turned, and imagined the spider crawling on my face then suddenly thought--I could put a large jar over him--slide the lid on top and presto--move him! So I very carefully, in the dark room, with a shaking hand turned on the light switch, not knowing where he was at that stage. But, I was determined to fulfill my new mission.

With the light on, I searched everywhere for him. He wasn't anywhere near me! He had actually moved out towards the laundry room, and by the next morning, was nowhere to be found!  Good spider!

Since then, I have always discussed my living situation with these spiders--I think they understand. As long as we set ground rules--meaning no where near my ground--we are OK.  Sometimes having an occasional huntsman near the ceiling in my central hallway actually helps to keep other pests away..I keep telling myself this fact.  We're not friends--but we try very hard to cooperate!

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