Spiders and Me.

While talking to a friend the other day, I realized that I’ve had a few weird encounters with spiders.

I come from above the Arctic circle, thus our spiders are, well, tiny. As a child, this did not in any way dampen my arachnophobia and I was often seen lurking around the house with a lighter and hairspray. Not to fix the spider’s hair and offer it a cigarette, but to slowly watch it burn to death.

Other than that I was a nice child.

At the age of younger, I moved to Florida to work at that place with that big mouse. It turned out it was a little bit warmer there than at a latitude of 67 degrees. Apparently this makes the spiders much bigger and faster. Our spiders are sluggish and would rather try killing prey by staring them to death than spin a web.

Therefore, the surprise was big in Florida when I spotted a spider walking on the floor in front of the TV, and upon putting a glass over it, it started sprinting around like a maniac and didn’t try staring at me at all. In fact, it started groping under the glass trying to get out. I quickly put 5 books on top of the glass, had some goose bumps and got some garlic. Just in case.

Now, what did i do? I couldn’t take the glass away; I was sure the spider would hurricane itself on to my neck and suck the blood out of me. Or whatever spiders bigger than a speck of dust do. My room mates weren’t home to help me, and I wouldn’t leave it there. It was right in front of the TV!

After a quick contemplation I decided to seek help in my neighbours. The problem was that they were all working, and I could feel the panic rise in my throut as door after door remained unopened as I doorbelled my way down the street.

Then I struck gold. «Ding-dong!» Door opens and a petit French girl dressed in hotpants size 0 and a tiny singlet looks at me. «Oui?» She says, and I’m sure I can hear butter melt as she bats her eyes. «Hi, um, there’s this s-p-i-d-e-r in my room and I was wondering…» * Blank stare from French girl* «…could you maybe help? Itotallyunderstandifyou’reafraid! Gosh I’m so scared myself that…»

French, petite butter melting girl: «Bien sure.» *Weird stare*.

She gently helped the spider out and didn’t even die. That night I smacked my forehead and called myself a wimp before going to sleep.

A few years later I lived in New Zealand, and this one day I was helping an Australian guy paint a house. The house was beautiful, with a big, sun-shaped, black pattern on one wall. No, wait a minute! That was no pattern. It was a huge, hairy spider who looked at me with all 8 eyes, beckoned and said with his best Eddie Murphy’s Raw voice: «Come on!»

A light run, screaming and waving my hands in the air, later I was by the Aussie’s side explaining the carnivore problem we suddenly had to deal with.

My first plan was to leave an unpainted 5 diameter big circle around the spider, then I decided it was best to not come close to the wall at all. The Aussie had a bit of a different plan as he calmly took his left shoe off and smacked the spider with it.

The rest of the day I was left painting over the spider goo, which was somehow worse than both my initial plans.

A few weeks later, also in New Zealand, I was in a car driving on the highway. Suddenly I see this Arctic Circle sized spider, though yellow, sitting on the dashboard right in front of me. «That’s not a big spider» I thought, remembering the kitten sized one from before.

Then it jumped.

Now, I’m not used to that. Our spiders only jump if they are accidentally sat on a trampoline in the summertime while kids are jumping around on it.

I was thus required to react accordingly.

The driver didn’t find that funny at all. No soup for me that day.

Fast forward a few years, and I was backpacking around Central America with my very good friend Lily. We were only supposed to travel around México. Come to think of it I’m not entirely sure how we ended up in Guatemala, but I suspect we had had beer before the decision.

Anyway, in Guatemala we were, and we decided to avoid the big cities and instead go sleep close to the jungle. We found a hostel with rooms with no proper roofs nor windows, because of the heat, and I distinctly remember thinking «uh oh», before I dropped my backpack on to the floor. And left it there for a week.

The day of departure arrived, and having repacked and closed the backpack, I started lifting and swinging it on to my back. Halfway through the move I found it too big, and heavily leaned it on my knee.

*Smack!* The impact made something clinging on to the backpack fall to the floor, and something I first mistook for a small dog turning out to be a spider sprinted to the other side of the room.

Lily and I did our best damsel in distress impersonation screaming and jumping on the bed, then thought better of it and grabbed the «Kill-a-bug» spray box and sprayed for our lives.

In retrospect I can see that this wasn’t fair to the spider at all; it was probably more scared than us, but we were bigger and had poison.

Finally, a couple of knights in shining armours came running into our room, in the shape of two Swedish guys in shorts. «What IS it?» they said, making karate moves and banging their chests. «There.Is.A.HUGE.Attacking.Spider.Over.There!» *Shivering pointing fingers*

Have you ever seen a spider shrivel up when it dies? No? Well, it does. And when the Swedish guys looked into the corner, all they saw was a black, small dot once 5 times bigger.

They never believed us, and called us «typical girls» the rest of the evening. Which I hate! But that is a different story.

This isn’t even half of my weird spider stories. Maybe some other time I’ll tell you about that time I removed grass in Australia only armed with a small dog, or that time at the pet shop when I thought there were glass between me and the Tarantula. Or that time I had a deadly spider sitting on my hand.

– Have a nice spider free day.

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Don’t do as you’re told

And I mean it.

Just remember there’s a difference between being youthful and being immature.

From an early age I did my own thing. From not wanting to play the games the others played, via a different taste in music to asking important questions when my Confirmation was due.

I continued doing things slightly different, always seeking that unique little twist that would make the scenario interesting.

I’m not saying I’m immensly different from everyone. I’m not. I just seem to like things a little different.

Why am I saying this? Well, I found this poem I really liked. A poem which has that little twist. Poetry is not my favourite genre, but at times I’ll find one that smacks me in the head and leave me tingling for a while.

This poem was written by Nicanor Parra, a man who wanted «to get away from the conventions of poetryHis sister, Violeta Parra, was a well known singer (Gracias a la vida/Jeg vil takke livet)

In Spanish (English will follow):

LA MONTAÑA RUSA

Durante medio siglo

la poesía fue

el paraíso del tonto solemne.

Hasta que vine yo

y me instalé con mi montaña rusa.

Suban, si les parece.

Claro que yo no respondo si bajan

echando sangre por boca y narices.

In English (sorry, my Spanish is a little rusty):

THE ROLLERCOASTER

For half a century

poetry was

paradise for pompous idiots.

Until I came along,

and installed myself with my rollercoaster.

Get in, if you like.

Of course I will not be responsible if you get out

with a bleeding mouth and nose.


International Worker’s Day

I started my second job today, on International Worker’s Day.

My first job is at an orthopaedic workshop (think insoles, shoes and artificial legs), but since I’m moving to Canada to study I want to save as much money as possible. Hence my second job.

So what do I do? I’m a museum hostess. I’ve worked at the museum many summers before, and it’s a great job. It kind of helps that I’m a history geek; anything that happened before last year is interesting.

Museum of Nordland

This second job means that I’ll be working pretty much all through summer (with the possibility of a holiday), but I’m used to that. Other years I’ve had 3 jobs with 1 day off in 3 months.

The sun is actually shining here today, so I took my coughing and snifling body down to the pier after work to have some icecream, listen to an audio book, and then I drew a little bit until 2 ladies joined me on the bench and started smoking and coughing phlegm (at least I’m only hacking), so I went home.

Me, happy at the museum with my head to one side, something I wonder if I do since I've made my head like that in all the drawings.

Me eating a huge soft serve at the pier. Sun shining and all (not common). Very serious face, eating icecream is serious business.

What I'll be doing the rest of the night: sit in front of my computer with coffee to write. Yes, that is me sitting on the floor under the table. Very comfortable.