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Friday, December 15, 2006

New Dance Craze: The Spider Spaz

Dance Dance Revolution

Australia is known for it's spiders, many of which have particularly nasty venom. When I first arrived in Australia I was wary of any and all spiders for this reason. Seeing huge webs with quite large spiders everywhere, certain death seemed imminent and Australians remarkably cavalier about it.

I soon determined that the ones to worry about were not the ones hanging across the sidewalks. Still, they were big. Real big. And a little too interactive.

One particular type likes to string their webs between objects approximately a sidewalk width apart, and at face level.
They build them in the evenings, very quickly, so that a night time dog walker is suddenly plowing through webs that weren't there earlier in the evening, and now it is too dark to see them.
A couple feet up and they wouldn't have to rebuild every night, but try telling that to a spider.

This from a spider website: "The orb weavers are one of the largest spiders found in Australia. Their webs can be found hanging off sign posts, in or between trees and can even be spotted driving 100 km/h in a vehicle. The web is extremely strong. So strong that even small birds stick in the net."

Yes, a face full of web is quite common for this dog owner, especially this time of year. I don't like it one bit, but I've gotten quite accustomed to it. I have learned to identify the narrows where they are likely to be, and I swing my arm up to proceed my face and break the web first. Web on arm - much better than web on face.

So far, I'd always hit web, not spider.
It was inevitable. I was due.

Well the other night I got not only the full web head-wrap, but a big mutha spider running around on my head.

Had a neighbor been lucky enough to be within view they would have been treated to a dance the like of which has never been seen before. This thing was scurrying around on. my. face.

I punched myself pretty good in the eye during my swatting frenzy, did several pirouettes and strange contortions, and emitted bestial sounds of surprising range.

I didn't like the idea of squishing this rather large presumably juicy thing on my head. I just wanted to fling it away. With vigor.

But then, as though in slow motion, I saw the spider either leap or get swatted (hard to tell which) out away from the front of my face. "Yea!" Thinks me, for a split second...and then the web strand that the spider is using as a bungee stops it's outward movement, and the spider begins a swing right back at...my mouth.

No choice at this point but to do a reflexive catch-and-squish (with my hand, luckily), followed immediately by the don't-bite-me-in-your-death-throes fling and wrist flap.
Followed quickly by the is-it-still-swinging-from-me check (and check again. and again). Followed by the epileptic shudder-walk for the next half a block as I pick at web strands with the hand that is not spider gooey.

That dance had YouTube internet hit potential.
Some of my best work.
If only.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it involoves tree-killing, but you really should print some of this out and stick it in a hole somewhere to find later.


12:14 PM  

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