For all, if any, who may be concerned: Apparently spiders in Mali have discovered new ways of defying the spiderly laws of physics both in size and speed—for crying out loud they have to be fast too!–and have found immense satisfaction in the displaying such law bending feats through the unwelcome squatting in the fine real estate locale of my bed. This most ill-advised action had the inevitable consequence of fostering a potentially strained and inevitably antagonistic relationship between said much-to-big-spiders and the bed owner, albeit, perhaps only a problem for those arachnophobic bed-owning few who have the delightful pleasure of meeting such squatting spiders at the quite vulnerable and inopportune moment of tucking ones’, a moment ago, quite contented self in for the night. Apparently, it was not to be my fate in avoiding such an undesirable meeting as this, and in the dark, without a flashlight, (and in my bed for god sake!) I attempted to remove myself from making more formal introduction with this scuttling many legged visitor as I threw the only thing close at hand, a magazine, vaguely in its direction along with a few choice words (something along the lines of “what the @#$% is that!!!) likewise vaguely in its direction while tumbling out of my mosquito net and onto the floor. HA! Avoided that one!….Arachnophobe:1, Spider 0! Tho there was still the immediate problem of having a rather large eight-legged guest now checking out the finer points and perks of my property, and the slightly bigger problem of not knowing exactly where in my bed that was. Grabbing a broom and a topless cardboard box (to cover my feet with if it came my way of course!…yes, perhaps in retrospect that might not have worked but in the heat, or rather cold sweat, of the moment it seemed like a fabulous idea) I proceeded to shake the bed until out of nowhere this terror of my bedside scuttles out of the mosquito net and right past me. Shocked into immobility at how fast the thing moved, I watched as it hurried into the other room. Ok, Arachnophobe 1, Spider 1. This time I grabbed my mini shovel and so armed charged into the next room only to be taken completely by surprise by a well-executed countercharge by my formidable adversary. There it was coming at me, there it was going past me, and there it went right back into the other room. Damn! It was a this moment that I realized for a second that perhaps this spider was much more afraid of this lumbering, shovel wielding, (and box carrying? Who is this guy!?) giant and was really only of one mind, that of getting out of here! And also that spiders in Mali, are not really poisonous and are actually fairly innocuous…snakes and scorpions on the other hand. But this thought, like I said, lasted for about a second and with my now fully realized stratagem (that of not letting it scuttle over my feet and terrify me half to death) I followed in hot pursuit. Hearing a noise by the wall I glanced over and saw it attempting to unsuccessfully climb it—for it was to big to do so—and in that split second formed a perhaps much more effective strategy of using the shovel I had in my hand to put an end to what was a rather tense, brief, and altogether confrontational relationship. Arachnophobe 2, spider 1. Tho in retrospect I do regret it ending the way it did, it was rather big AND more importantly in my bed, and you know, my bed’s just not that big for the two of us.

Mario

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