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Losing Our Way Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing. --------------------------------------------------------- Arundhati Roy (Indian author, advocate, activist)

señor tarantula (mi)

ECUADOR | Friday, 27 February 2009 | Views [1787]



for some people it's mice, for some it's snakes. for me, it is spiders. spiders are good for about one thing in life. and since around here they are doing a terrible spider-job of it, neglecting hordes of mosquitoes and biting flies, and so leaving my arms and ankles to be chewed until they resemble...

one of those rare diseases on the Discovery channel where they send some infectious disease doctor out to the Australian outback or African jungle or some other gnarly place where man-eating rodents the size of HUMMERS consider your head to be too small for breakfast, i am not so impressed with their presence on the bio reserve. the spiders that is. the Discovery doctor always seems to have to travel three days to get to whatever tribal neighborhood is incubating his potential patient, starting with a commercial plane zipping across several time zones in one 7 minute segment of television air time, followed by a two segment river boat cruise and then what looks to be quite the strenuous walk. the river boat of course will include two half nude indigenous guides in grass skirts who point out all the river snakes along the route to the nervous camera man who listens more carefully than he shoots to the guides explaining that the snakes could eat and digest the doctor (or you, the Discovery viewer, you'll subconsciously note) so fast that they, albeit clearly muscled and ready for a rescue, would not even have time to notice that someone had fallen off the boat before the Doctor (yes, or you!) would already be becoming a part of a reptile digestion sequence (this scenario of you, or the doctor, being caught in the bowels of a snake doesn't happen of course on this film because that's a story line for a totally different series). anyway, whenever the doctor finally gets to where he gets, there's always some man, woman or child with a disorder that has made all their neighbors treat them as a zoo exhibit and shamed their family because it has molded their skin permanently and made it look like molten lava continuously dripping down the length of their body. i hate those shows. yet, if there is one on, i am curiously glued to the television set, unable to pry myself away for anything other than to use the bathroom once every few commercial breaks or so, and then i race back to see the kid with the cauliflower arms get lazered during his fifth surgery by some team of 26 specialists at Johns Hopkins. anyway, since my arms and ankles and, more slowly, other parts of me - like that unreachable place in your back - have started looking like cauliflower kid's, i am not exactly grateful for the tens of spiders that cross our paths every day. especially, especially, the big black hairy ones.

luckily, so far anyway, someone else seems to find them first. the worst would be if i stumbled across one alone, maybe half asleep and in teva sandals and stumbling outside and down the stairs toward the bathrooms below where we sleep. i have thought about this for a long time as you can see. that would be the worst. but i am counting my anti-spider blessings – so far, several unfortunate others have come across them in the kitchen, bathrooms and other areas of la hesperia, and that is bad for them but great for me, because well beyond the length of its jumping power, i can tell by the cameras flashing, and joking suggestions of what to try and feed it, that i should not walk over there. I should run, carefully, in the opposite direction. but like the cauliflower kid, i'm always perversely captivated. i MUST SEE the tarantula. i walk over every time, jump two feet straight into the air, say something brilliant like “he's HUGE! eeewwwe!” and run away choosing my steps with as much care as my nerves can muster.

the other evening whomever the two who were on dinner dish duty gave out the cry. i saw the camera flash out of the corner of my eye and from twenty feet off. then i started hearing the comments of the other ten volunteers as they went running. i gave them about two minutes, just in case, and then came over. i measured with my own eyes the biggest one yet. here, it looked like this: stick out your hand with the palm facing up and imagine with hairy legs. the odds are he wasn't poisonous, but as someone here brightly commented the other day:

i still wouldn't want to wake up next to him.


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