The rain spider incident of 2009

I can’t believe it took me almost nine years to write about this on my blog. Shock, probably.

In the second half of 2008, M and I moved into our new house in Linden, in Johannesburg, just 600 metres down the road from a rental we’d had for about a year.

One evening in October of that year, I happened to take a photo of a rain spider that was on the wall outside our house. Here is that photo (click to embiggen).

rain spider outside
Outside, where it belongs

Rain spiders are terrifying to look at in good light, so in the dark African moonlight, this was pretty awful.

Cut to March 2009. We were comfortable in our house. The floors had been redone. The carpets had been replaced. We had beautiful curtains hand-made by my mother-in-law, with wide hems. Even my hard work at replacing all the light switches was done. It was our home, and we were quite happy living there with our two dogs, Biscuit and Molly.

During the day on 29 March 2009, which was a Sunday, M found a rain spider indoors. It had decided to chill out in the hem of the hand-made curtain of the en suite bathroom. Since both of us aren’t generally fans of spiders, we decided to ignore it in the vain hope that it would go away.

Later that day, we discovered that the spider had gone. Mission accomplished, I guess.

And then it was bedtime. I had been working late on my computer, and M had gone to bed early. At around 11:30pm, I decided to get some sleep myself.

Not being one to stand on ceremony, I usually don’t turn on lights when I move through the house at night. I know my way around, and being clumsy means I’ll still walk into things whether I see them or not. Call it efficiency.

I also don’t use door handles much, because closing a door by the larger surface area of the door itself is far more satisfying, plus fewer pointy bits on which to be clumsy.

That night, as I closed our bedroom door in the dark half an hour before midnight, I felt something walk over my hand.

Now I don’t want you to think I screamed. I did not. I was simply confused. The dogs were outside in their kennel, and M was asleep. Dogs also generally can’t walk over my hand on a door perpendicular to the floor. Neither can my husband.

So I found the flashlight and shone a light on the bedroom door. What I saw next required the bedroom light to be turned on, and for M to be woken from slumber, because anything I did to remedy this situation in which I found myself, was going to be loud.

I present the aforementioned curtain-dwelling rain spider. Which I remind you had crawled over my hand (click to enlargen).

This bastard took years off my life
Palystes “Hunstman” McBastard

I mean … look at it!

Waking my husband was the right idea. At least he knew he wasn’t dreaming the hyperventilating noises and countless breathless occurrences of “youbastard”, “ohshit” and “argh”.

My first challenge was that this rain spider was large. It had terribly long legs. The door also had an inconvenient surface that was not perfectly flat. In other words, this huge terrifying eight-legged bastard could escape, and possibly jump on my face and therefore kill me by surprise. Spiders jump, I know because I would jump if I had legs that long. This is science.

So I considered my options. I considered my options for a very long time, based on the timestamps of these photographs.

Eventually I decided on stealth. I would cunningly trap the bastard spider in a Tupperware® container and hope that it would suffocate, much like I myself was suffocating.

It took me about an hour to trap the beast. My heart stopped at least eight times (click to observen).

That’s a 1 litre bottle, but still

The following morning, M found the spider and died three times as well. He suggested that I release the Huntsman into the garden, because should our house cleaner (whom we dubbed Super-Gladys) happen upon it, we would probably never see her again, and I’d have to vacuum.

We released the bastard into our neighbour’s garden, because there was no way I’d let it come anywhere near the house again.

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