Monday, March 31, 2014

Charlotte's Web (?)


The other day, as I was settling back in at home after weeks of traveling, my small friend Samantha came to visit me.  I can always tell when she’s been missing me; she finds reasons to simply sit in my house.  Since I wanted nothing more than to bathe, I asked her to leave and that I would see her later in the evening.  As she walked out of the house, she casually mentioned that there was a spider on my wall. 

When I walked outside to look at what she was referring to, I was panged with a sudden jolt of fear.  This was no ordinary spider.  This thing was about the size of my hand.  Its colors shimmered in the setting sunlight: a brilliant orange and a black so dark that it appeared purple.  I instinctively put my arm between Samantha and the spider (even though the thing’s web was stretched across the span of my roof, and nowhere close to us), and she started giggling and asking if I was scared.  To try and appear brave I flexed my eyebrows together, pursed my lips, and jut my chin into the air as I shook my head “no”.  This only made Samantha’s giggles turn into a fit of laughter. 
The maniacal spider outside my house
I grabbed the rake that was leaning next to the house and tried to slam it against the spider.  The second the rake made contact with the beast, its pulsating fangs attacked the rake in a way that I’ve never witnessed before.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was a creature sent from the underworld to bid me my last farewell.

What ensued must have been the most hilarious set of events that has happened to me in a while: picture Kitso, frazzled and wearing basketball shorts jumping, yelping, and swatting a metal rake at the side of my house while Samantha applauded in encouragement behind me.  When I nearly broke a window, I decided to set the rake down and wipe the sweat off my forehead.  The second the rake was on the ground, the monstrous crawler jumped from its web to the ground and began dashing towards us. 

At this point, Samantha’s smile quickly dissipated into a frantic grimace, she climbed my legs like a tree trunk and leapt into my arms.  Together, we sprinted across the yard and arrived at her aunt’s house where we were able to take a deep breath. 

To this day, the spider still sits proudly on her web eating all of the valiant moths that dare fly close to my house. Yesterday I asked my counterpart, Topo, to please help me. He took one look at the spider, assured me it was poisonous and told me to ask the old man across the way to help me. 
The web shimmering brightly in the sunshine

I’m surprised at how, even after two years; I can still encounter things that are shocking to me.  I have started a collection of the dead creepy crawlies that I encounter on my tile floors.  The majority of them are baby camel spiders, and their crumpled corpses serve as a reminder to me that I can overcome any fear.  After all, when I first came to Gobojango, the only thing that petrified me was the scampering of these treacherous creatures. Proudly, I show my visitors the carton of insects and bask in their reactions. 
My carton of insects

It serves as proof that no matter how large or small the fear may be, rather than dreading and avoiding it, life is better spent staring at it in the face and challenging yourself to overcome it. 

At the end of the day, what do you have to lose? If anything it’ll make a great story…

UPDATE: Yesterday as I was preparing myself to throw boiling water on the spider, I was startled to find that the web and its maker were gone from its perk on the side of my house.  The fear that was inspired within me at this point was even greater than before when a couple of primary school students walked over to me and declared that they had seen the stress it was causing me and killed it for me.

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