My greatest fear about living in PNG was realized and I survived – more or less!
Many of you know that I’ve got a ridiculous and irrational fear of spiders. Little ones or big ones, fat ones or skinny ones, harmless or venomous, I don’t really care. I simply do not like spiders. One of the first little tidbits of information that some kind soul shared with us when we found out we were coming here was, “Watch out for spiders.” People shared with me pictures of tarantulas and told me about spiders as big as a dinner plate. Believe me, it was a true test of my trust in God’s protection and provision.
I am happy to report that I survived my first encounter, relatively unscathed. (Heavy emphasis on the “relatively” part, because I must admit that I sometimes feel scathed.) For your pleasure and enjoyment, let me relive the terrifying moments for you.
It was a dark and rainy night …
I’ve always enjoyed watching television in the dark, so while Sandy was away at a conference in Singapore, I sat alone on a Saturday night watching a soccer game. To be honest I’ve gotten fairly accustomed to seeing movement along a wall and paying little attention because we’re used to the geckos that share our home. But when my peripheral vision caught movement this time, my subconscious alerted me that the movement was not the smooth gliding motion of a gecko. Something had just popped under the front door and was scampering across it, just a few feet from where I sat.
I grabbed my iPhone and touched the screen for the “flashlight” app and pointed it in the direction of the movement. It froze, and so did I – for a moment – as my heart immediately sent an adrenaline SOS throughout my body. In horror I sprang from the couch. It was the biggest spider I’ve ever seen, but for ones languidly relaxing under a heat lamp behind thick glass in a zoo. This critter had a “wingspan” as large as my outstretched hand, with furry legs as thick as a small straw and a body about the size of a dime. It was HUGE, I tell you!
I grabbed for a broom I had left perched near the kitchen, and was torn by my desire to keep an eye on my visitor lest he disappear behind something (in which case I would have had to move out that night!) or run to the kitchen for a big can of bug-killer spray.
(At this point I feel the need to interject that I’m squeamish, and do not like squishing things on a floor or a wall that might require someone to have to mop up the mess! Therefore, the answer is no, it did not occur to me to use the broom to whack the life out of this invading creature!)
I opted to quickly as possible get the spray can.
When I came back to the front room, I saw the evil interloper scurrying behind the long curtains that hang over the front windows. Using the broom to draw back the curtains, I spotted my unwelcome guest and shot him with a prolonged burst from my spray can. He stopped moving and drew his legs in. I shot him again for good measure.
At this point in time, it’s now a blur in my mind what exactly happened next, and how long this battle actually lasted. I have vague recollections of my nemesis fighting back, valiantly trying to survive my continued foaming him with the aerosol spray and herding him toward the front door with the broom. I did NOT want him dying IN my house. He was remarkably quick as he scampered for his life to escape my onslaught, but I had neither mercy nor empathy for his suffering – my own was so much worse, I assure you.
I had already swung the door open and eventually I was able to get the key to unlock the screened iron security door and fling it open. With a quick motion I swept at the now-slowing creature … and to my horror he disappeared! He was not lying lifeless on the front sidewalk, so with no verification of the kill, there could be no peace in my heart. Suddenly movement caught my eye, and I saw that I had swept him onto the inside of the screened door. My trigger finger impulsively let loose another lengthy blast from my trusty spray can, and as the spider fell out of the door and onto the front stoop, I swatted at him and swept him away from my home.
Finally, with his legs drawn close to his body, and covered in enough white foamy spray to dispense with a hundred spiders back home, the enemy lay motionless and dead on the sidewalk. I stood in the falling rain, spray can in one hand and broom in the other, just daring him to make the slightest twitch of a movement. After enough time had passed that I was sure of his demise, I put the can down and with my best hockey slap shot, sent the hideous carcass sailing into the night.
My wife thinks it’s silly that I sat, with every light on, watching anything that came on the TV screen until past 4 o’clock in the morning. But I assure her that I’ve got friends who understand.