Here is a small well known verse from a famous Australian poem…
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
I love this country too, but I could do without her terror. We have many terrors here, but I think you may have guessed the terror of which I speak. Spiders! But not just any spider, the dreaded huntsman spider. I’d love to provide you a picture if you’re not sure what that is, only I can’t, because just seeing a picture of them gives me the heebee jeebies and makes me feel ill. So instead here is a link, if you must look at one, I don’t recommend it though.
Being born into this deadly country means you have to learn to cope with their existence. I cope by squealing a lot and running away and leaping up and down shaking my hands as if one of them is on me. Overtime, I’ve developed a particular scream that my family have come to know means that ‘she’ just saw a spider. Then they come running to enjoy the spectacle that is me, half crying, leaping around, begging for mercy.
I just don’t like them. They’re big, they move quick, they’re horrible looking leggy things, and they can spring forward unexpectedly. Oh, here’s a delightful fact, apparently they have some kind of ‘cling’ reflex, so that if you pick one up, they’ll cling to you while you wildly try to shake them off.
I need to keep at least 3 metres between me and them at all times. The problem is though you can unexpectedly walk into a room, then turn around and see one sitting over the door through which you came. What then? Well then you’re stuck in that room eyeing each other off, for what could be an eternity if there is no one in the house to come save you. Also, the other problem is that once you’ve seen one, you need to keep your eye on them. These guys are roamers (well hunters hence the name). I’ve left one before near the backdoor to go and fetch my designated spider remover, only to find it missing when I got back. Where’d it go? Is it inside or outside? I will now not sleep or walk through this area for days for fear that it is roaming somewhere inside the house.
I am so terrified of them, that I remember every encounter I’ve ever had with one. And once I’ve seen one in a place, I will think of that spider everytime I go near that place. I always worry that I will discover another in the same place. I can never pull down the visor on my car without wondering if today will be the day that a huntsman will drop into my lap whilst driving. I leap and scream if I see a bit of dust or fluff on the floor that looks vaguely like a huntsman. I could walk past that same piece of floor fluff for days leaping out of my skin each time, before I remember it is just fluff. Eventually I realise I just should remove the offending item to preserve what sanity I have left.
I’ve looked into ways to overcome fears of spiders, and they all involve holding/touching or being near the bloody things. I don’t want to do that. Who came up with that stupid idea?
If you visit Australia you could expect to see one. And if you do it is your right to run screaming to the airport saying never again. I’m not judging. I would do the same if I didn’t have to live here.
It’s not so bad though, it could be worse. I could’ve been born in south america, they’ve got the tarantulas.