Saturday, April 28, 2007

Insy Winsy

I have always been terrified of spiders. Always. The thing is, when I chose to live alone this year it didn’t occur to me for one second that I would have no one else around to kill my spiders.

In all the 8 months I’ve been living here, I’ve only had one spider to deal with and it was a big one. What did I do? Ran out the room and closed the door until my friend could come round the next day and check the living room for me. Yes folks, I am a big scaredy cat.

That was until last night.

Sitting on my sofa talking to FP on the phone, or rather, googling lyrics and singing French songs to one another, I see something scuttle out the living room door and turning right, into the bathroom.

I let out a blood curdling scream, followed by some rather vulgar words that rarely escape my mouth unless faced by a terrifying experience such as this.

FP stops singing and takes the phone away from his ear, saving his ear drum in the process. Once he hears my cry die down he comes back to the phone and asks, “Qu’est ce qu’y a?!”

“Il y a une araignée!”

“Oh,” he says calmly, clearly not understanding the hideousness of the situation. “Kill her then.” (Occasionally FP forgets that in English we simply say 'it' for an object, which means he refers to things like a chair as 'she', a spider as 'she', hair as 'they' and so on. I find this really cute.)

I leave the phone sitting on the table and slowly make my way to the bathroom door. I peek through, searching franticly for the beast. I spot him under the radiator, sitting extremely still. My skin begins to crawl, my heart is beating a thousand times faster than it should, my hand shaking as I shine a torch on him just to make doubly sure that it is a spider and not just a piece of puckered carpet.

Expletives slip out my mouth once again. I am horrified. The spider is grey. What sort of spider is grey??

I go back to the phone and tell FP I think I’m going to faint. I try to calm myself down by taking deep breaths. I know it’s silly. I know it’s just a little spider and it’s more scared of me than I am of it. But just knowing there’s a spider in my house, I can’t relax.

I stay on the phone with FP crying and hyperventilating for another fifteen minutes. Every two minutes I leave the phone on the table to go to the bathroom and check Freddy is still in the same place. (I changed its sex and named him Freddy, in the hope that it would make him seem less of a threat…)

My forehead puckered with fear and anxiety, I explain to FP I need to go because I can’t leave Freddy running around and hiding in my shoes.

But, just as I am saying goodbye, I see Freddy bolt past the living room door again, running in a frantic circle when I scream, and darting off in the direction of the kitchen and my bedroom. Both doors are open. My bedroom floor is cluttered with suitcases, papers and shoes. A spider’s paradise if he is looking for a place to hide.


In the end I have to phone my dad, who tells me to find a stick and a cushion, walk around the flat picking up things that are on the floor with the stick, and if Freddy scoots out from under anything I throw the cushion on top of him and jump on the cushion.

I can’t find anything that resembles a stick, and I don’t want my cushion to have a squashed spider on it, so I pick up various things that may work as a squasher before I set out on my mission.

Now, all alone, I search for Freddy. I find him on the threshold of the kitchen door, which I am thankful for, because there is nothing worse than losing a spider.

I know he is as terrified as I am. He watches me warily, his body as still as if he were dead. Inch by inch I move towards my bedroom door slowly so that I can close it.

At that moment my goth neighbour chooses to thump around in her apartment making sex noises on a creaky bed which makes Freddy dart off again, ending up outside my shoe cupboard. There is a gap between the floor and the door. If he goes in that cupboard I’ve lost him forever.

Half an hour later neither Freddy nor I have moved a muscle. My eyes focus on his grey body with his big gangly spider legs. He’s enormous.

My heart is thumping against my chest. I have a shoe in my hand; a pristine white sling back.

I change my mind about the shoe, knowing that if I want to use it I'll have to be much closer. Instead, I pick up a dumbbell to drop on him.

I miss. The beast scuttles off under the gap into the shoe cupboard.


Opening the door slowly, I see where he is and I have the opportunity to get nearer to him. Inching closer I lift the shoe high and, knowing that if I don’t do it now I never will…WACK!

I scream as I do it.


In total I thump the shoe down around fifteen times.

Of course the spider’s body is now flat as a pancake. Blood on the sole of my shoe, squashed body on the floor, legs splayed, I decide to give it one last wallop, just to be entirely sure.

The body sticks to the bottom of my shoe and try as I might I can’t get it off.

I throw my shoe in the bin, take the bin outside, knowing that if Freddy were to miraculously come alive again he could still get me.

There is still one lone leg left on the floor. I can’t go near it.

I phone my mum and give her a blow by blow account of what happened, needing to go through every single monotonous detail.

And when I go to bed, I have to apologise to God for what I did. Just in case.

I know, I know. I have issues.


I’m so relieved I don’t live in America, Australia or anywhere else in the world where there are spiders that run at 30mph while screaming like a banshee. Like these camel spiders…I think I’d rather have my eyeballs gauged out with a rusty spoon than come into contact with one of these.


Sebastien said...

Good thing you don't live in AZ, haha! You know, even when I kill a scorpion or something of that nature, I feel guilty. I don't like killing things, seems like bad karma, no?

But I'm glad you escaped from this experience unscathed! Desperate times call for desperate measures... Hey, do mice scare you? They kinda scare me. They are so fast and sneaky, and can squeeze into any corner and behind anything. And they seem like dirty creatures too...

The Horns and the Hawk said...

i'm with you on this one. i lived in Arizona and california briefly where we had to regularly contend with tarantulas. wanna talk big, scary, pissed, smoking a cigar and reading a newspaper? we'll talk tarantulas.

we also have things called "windtale scorpions" here in colorado. they look like two red decrepit old man's hands reaching out for you. those are probably the 30 mile an hour bastards you talked about.

the largest spider i've had to personally contend with was about 2.5 inches (6ish centimeters) in diameter. i jumped over the couch to hide from him.

are you alergic to cats? because you should get one. they make short work of spiders and love doing it.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Mice and rats that are not pets freak me out big time. I've never had a rodent in my house thank god, but once in France there was a big fat toad in my garage and I didn't like that at all!

Looking at your pictures of nature in Arizona I really do believe that I couldn't survive there (because of the beasts, on the other hand the weather I could cope with!) although I still want a cactus to grow here. Scorpions sound absolutley horrific!

They say that with global warming and Scotland's summers becoming warmer and warmer, spiders will come over here and we'll be seeing 'false black widows' that run at you if you get too close.

I think I should live in a submarine. If only I didn't have a fear of fish...

Princesse Ecossaise said...

I'm definitley getting a cat. My decision has been made.

That windtale scorpion sounds vile...good grief!

My brother was going to move to America. If he does, I'm not going to visit him.

Sebastien said...

Haha, love that idea, living in a submarine... but yes, the sharks, they are everywhere in the ocean. My favorite thing to fear is sharks. I don't know why, I guess it's fun being scared of them. Well, I guess with global warming, even sharks are disappearing and a lot of the ocean's creatures are disappearing also... it's actually very sad...

ColbyPants said...

Interesting, cause my girlfriend hates spiders and she was doing the same thing to like 4 or five this morning, she was attacking them with MY sandal though. (the weather is finally getting decent around here so they are appearing). I woork the overnight shift so in the morning I am finally trying to go to bed and get some sleep. Its hard to rest when throughout the house you hear:


repeating over and over. . .

sylvie d said...

Welldone! don't you just hate the noise when you squash it!? that is my worst part!

T.D. Newton said...

I remember a long time ago before I moved here to Denver my girlfriend (now fiancee) almost died while I was on the phone with her. A spider (or some other malicious bug) had somehow turned ninja and sneaked into her water glass. I can definitely imagine what was going through FP's head.

By the way, you may not want to hear this but men are just as afraid of spiders as women are. We just think its funny that women will join the army but still squeal at the sight of a spider (or a mouse).

And, finally, I've heard tales of spiders in parts of Africa (or jungle areas) that are as BIG as a BASKETBALL. Apparently you have to watch out while DRIVING otherwise they will DAMAGE your CAR if you HIT them. Don't even try to tell me that they are more afraid of me than I am of them!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Ahahaha Tom! That is exaaaactly what I was like with the whole squashing the spider then shrieking cycle! What I want to know is...why weren't you squashing the beast instead of your poor girlfriend??!!

Sebastien, you're right. In one way it is sad, but you know, dinosaurs are extinct and I'm quite glad about that. So I don't really mind if sharks go too. (am I cruel?)

Sylvie I totally agree with you. However, it was my first time ever killing a spider and I had no idea that blood and guts and legs and a certain 'squish' noise would result from this act! Never again, oh no.

T.D. You have freaked me out so badly. This whole discussion has made me rethink my entire plans to visit certain global destinations. That means no Africa!!

Random Magus said...

I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed reading about your escapade. I can kill bugs easily - the only thing that curdles my blood, in fact paralyses me with fear are lizards, thankfully one doesn't see them often.
My cousin and I tried to kill one a long time ago. We thought we had got it as we saw the tail squirming - but the next day "Ozzie" thats what we named him could be seen cheerfully mocking us, albeit without a tale!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Thankyou RM, I'm glad you enjoyed reading this post.

Lizards are damn fast! we don't get them here in Scotland, too cold for them, and so I've never been locked in an enclosed space with one. However, your story about the no-tail lizard...that really made me shiver!!