Trivia Teaser

Which word was Vice President Dan Quayle famously unable to spell in its plural form?

Tomato
Potato
Beetroot
Blunder

Spider!

21
Feb
2013
 

By Jessie

A few days ago I was driving along a busy highway on my way to buy the groceries, toddler sleeping soundly in the back seat, when a GIGANTIC, HAIRY HUNTSMAN SPIDER crawled across the outside of my windscreen, stopped for a second to wave its leg and glower at me menacingly, before scuttling onto the roof of my car. 

It was then that I discovered my instinctual reaction to such an event is to scream, take both my hands off the steering wheel and slap them dementedly across my face and through my hair, as if the spider had somehow managed to crawl through the glass and jump onto my head.Huntsman!

Thankfully I managed to compose myself fairly quickly and made it to the car park. After a thorough external search of the car I finally located the spider – and I cannot stress how ENORMOUS and HAIRY and CHUNKY it was – hiding under the rim of the boot. So of course I did what any half-brained lunatic would do; I found a big stick and poked it. Which – duh! -  made it crawl - not out of - but  INTO the boot, where it immediately disappeared under the back seat. So now I had a HUGE and ANGRY and possibly HUNGRY spider on the loose waiting to pounce when I least expected it.

That (sleepless) night I sombrely weighed up my options. What if it was pregnant and about to have a million spider babies that would colonise my Corolla? How long did a Huntsman spider live anyway? What if it leapt onto my face and made me crash the car? What if it crawled onto my son? How quickly could I sell the car? Or could I close up the windows and bomb the inside with fly spray? Tempt the spider out with a trail of bugs? What do they even eat? Maybe I could embrace Buddhism and learn to live with the beast in peace and harmony?

In the end, after a nervous drive to work the next morning, the YouPlay boys found the spider – still in the boot – and removed it with little fanfare. They dropped it over the balcony where I hope it has now found happiness. But later (apart from feeling highly traumatised) I also became quite thoughtful about my attitude towards insects and nature in general.

You see I like to think of myself as a bit of a greenie ‘living off the land’ type – dusting off my gumboots before venturing out to nurture a verdant veggie patch, feeling smug over my home-grown chicken eggs and scooting the birds off the fruit trees with a shake of the fist and a wry smile. 

I believe in that version of me so much, that we recently moved into a new house – one with a garden shed and a chicken coop and fruit trees. But rather than settle effortlessly into an Arcadian lifestyle plucked straight from the annals of pastoral poetry, our dreams have instead been resoundingly shattered by the incumbent wildlife who are much smarter than us, and in no way inclined to cut our agricultural incompetence some slack.

So far the birds have decimated our grapevine – every single last grape gone - and stripped the tiny budding fruits off the trees before I’d even had a chance to identify exactly what they were. We face a nightly battle to rat-proof the shed, marauding plagues of ants have infested the kitchen and even the chickens refuse to eat our kitchen scraps. Like stubborn children they won’t even try the crisp lettuce leaves and carrot fronds I tempt them with.

And I’m getting frustrated!

But deep down I know we have to learn the skills to harvest our little patch of suburbia, and that this will take time and effort. And I’m also aware – and ashamed – about my highly paradoxical approach to the ‘natural’ world.

So I invite butterflies and bees into my garden with gay abandon, yet descend upon a cockroach or fly that dares to enter my front door like a frenzied, Mortein-wielding banshee from hell. I use corrosive chemicals to bleach the life out of our benches and toilets – but am the first to snap up over-priced organic produce and ‘pure’ eco-cosmetics.

Yep, totally illogical and utterly contradictory.  

But I’m hoping that slowly meeting the challenges our little house throws up might just be the answer. Over time I hope we’ll learn the language of our garden and work with nature and not against it to share the (literal) fruits of our labour.

But I’m still not sure I’ll ever be able to cope with a surprise visit from a spider.

What about you? Are you an outdoorsy nature-loving type or do you prefer pristine, pest-free interiors? If you see an insect how do you react?

Jessie x

45 Responses to

Spider!

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gordonzy said:
February 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

My daughter is terrified of spiders,especially huntsmen.One evening,whilst watching tv in the lounge room, she casually informed me that a black snake (about 2 1/2 feet long) was lying in the middle of the floor. She was intrigued,not afraid,yet I have even had to remove those terrifying (LOL) daddy long_leg spiders for her. So,barneyb, you are not alone.

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February 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Oh Jessie - I do wish you hadn't placed that horrid spider there at the top of the page - JUST where it leers at me when I open it. I'm freaked out by them, and have memories of the woodpile outside the back door in Melbourne, many long years ago. I'd be sent out in the dark to fetch more wood, and sometimes brought one into the house. Shrieks from Mum and me, until Dad disposed of it. The Melbourne ones are dark and hairy and HUGE. Ugh!

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Mo said:
February 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM

UK spiders are quite harmless - helpful to have around as they eat nasty flies. I'm fond of them. Are the huntsmen harmful, or just big? Of course my attitude may have relics of the brat who gleefully waved toy spiders at adults.

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jonah said:
February 26, 2013 at 1:07 AM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8237691.stm "A new study in the US suggests that women have a genetic aversion to dangerous animals such as spiders." Comments?

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February 26, 2013 at 3:47 AM

To be honest, I wouldn't really be that bothered, in fact, I'd probably just add it to my collection of spiders and tarantulas. Hahaha

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tiggercat said:
February 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Beauregarde & Jessie - I totally feel the same about the picture of the spider when you first open the blog - makes me push my chair back from the computer! Surprising reaction as I don't really mind dealing with spiders who come into the house. My sister-in-law in Queensland has a big sturdy stick at her back door and when venturing out into her garden, walks with the stick held up in front of her to knock down any webs etc.

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gracie10 said:
February 26, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Interesting jonah, I'm not sure that the results can be that conclusive from such a limited study although I think there is an element of truth in women being biologically programmed to be the protectors of children. That does seem to be quite strong - along with nesting instinct etc. I used to think male/female behaviour was largely learned, but changed my mind after having children ... boys and girls are different, and they do react differently to things.

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Minxie said:
February 26, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Jessie! I think you've summoned a plague of them! One on my shower day this morning - under my towel! Aargh! Not amused ....

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MikeT said:
February 27, 2013 at 7:58 AM

Huntsmans on windscreens I don't have a problem with but when they run across the visor of your helmet when cranked over in a corner - that's a surprise. Or worse, when taking of from lights, visor up, and the piece of loose cotton tickling my lip suddenly reveals itself to be a large huntsman crawling over the helmet opening resulting in the clutch being dumped and a crazy swiping of the helmet as I weeve down the road. The only spiders I'll remove from the house (and sometimes kill) are the poisonous ones. Huntsmans and others I'll let live there to help keep other pests down. Occaisionally I'll use a non chemical means (broom or vacuum) to clean up webs if they become unsightly. With the spiders plus the geckos in the walls the only pests we ever have are ants and, oddly, millipedes. My wife is fine with them, except when there's a largish spider on the ceiling above the bed.

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February 28, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Tigercat I could see your jump so well! I once saw a friend do it when I showed her a snakeskin. She was so terrified she only calmed down after the skin was put away but would have left had it stayed. This woman is normally quite sane and calm! My daughter rang me a few weeks ago to tell me she had just sucked up her first spider in a vacuum cleaner (10 years after advice first given). She was always terrified they would come crawling back out! She used to pay her brother to remove any spider in her room.

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March 29, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Another SPIDER STORY....one of these huge huntsmen spiders landed on hubby's head as he was driving a TRUCK in the city ..he brushed it off his head and it landed on the steering wheel. BUT he had no choice...he had to keep driving...I think it eventually crawled away. I don't think I could have kept so calm!

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tascco said:
April 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

what is the spider story about cryssie307

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tascco said:
April 26, 2013 at 3:35 PM

what is your real name cryssie307

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tascco said:
April 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM

ihave been reading a book called the baby-sitters club and it is a good book all of you need to read that it is like one of the funniest books in the whole SO READ THAT BOOOOOKKKKK!!!!!!!

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Yobro said:
March 29, 2015 at 9:37 AM

I must admit to being a bit of an arachnophobe myself, so imagine my horror when I heard somebody declare that "no matter where you are in the world you are never more than 6 feet away from a spider"!. Surely this is a fallacy, otherwise a sky diver would need to have one in his parachute, and a scuba diver would need to have one in his face mask. Perish the thought. One thing I do know is that there ain't nobody faster than an arachnophobe who's just seen a spider! - Hilarious!