Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Encounter with George the Spider

For months, all I heard about Australia was how scary the critters are:  snakes, sharks, crocodiles, jellyfish, and of course, spiders.  My housemates told me that the big spiders – the ones the size of a human hand - had been found in the house a few times, especially after a good rain.  But, 6+ months and many a rain later, I still hadn’t encountered a spider.  I was starting to believe it was all made up.

Until last night.

I had gone to bed around 11:00pm as usual, but as I was drifting off to sleep, I realized that I needed to use the bathroom.  So, I got up and wandered down the hall into the bathroom, where I proceeded to do my business.  I was sitting there on the toilet, making a #2, when a sudden movement caught my eye.  I didn’t have my glasses on, and it was hard to see what was moving on our dark brown tiles, but after about two or three seconds, I realized what it was.

It was a spider.

A big… HAIRY… spider.

And it was about two feet away from me.


What would you do if you were taking a dump and a giant spider popped in to say hi?  I really didn’t know what to do.  My first instinct was just to spray the crap out of it with whatever chemical would cause it harm.  Unfortunately, the spider was strategically positioned between me and the shelf with the cleaning supplies, so that was out.  I jumped off the toilet – wearing nothing but a t-shirt, flip-flops, and my boxer shorts down to my knees.  I grabbed our hand towel and threw it at the dang thing, but that little shit was fast and I totally missed it.  Then, I kicked our bath mat in its direction, but it sought refuge behind the toilet.  Now, I was in a corner with nowhere to go.  I grabbed the only weapon in sight that I could find:  our 200g can of Air Wick 4 in 1 Premium Fragrance & Odor Neutralizer.

Because nothing screams death to spiders like a vanilla-scented air freshener.

Nevertheless, I sprayed that spider until it ran into our shower.  Enough was enough – fuck it.  There was no way I was going to try to find that thing in the curtain or in the maze of shampoo bottles that we have.  I cleaned myself up real fast, quickly washed my hands, ran back to my room, and shut the door behind me – closing myself off from the horrors of the bathroom.

I spent half the night awake worrying about how the hell I was going to shower and shave in the morning.  When 7am rolled around and my alarm went off, I decided it was best to warn Mayra about our unwanted visitor.  She uses the bathroom first in the morning and I didn’t want her to have the shock of a lifetime.  Still partially afraid to leave my room, I decided to communicate with Mayra via text message:

7:02 AM
Me:  FYI big scary spider in bathroom last night.
Mayra:  Oh no.. Thanks
Me:  wanna look for it together now?

7:15 AM
Mayra:  I saw it, it’s in the corner of the step next to the door but it looks dead!
Me:  Oh god.  Maybe I’ll get the roach spray and confirm….
Mayra:  Haha do u need help?
Me:  Yes :(

So I ran downstairs, grabbed the roach spray out of the kitchen, and met Mayra in the bathroom.  The spider was lying motionless in the corner.  It was only about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter, which is not that bad for Australia, but still the largest spider I’ve ever seen by far.  That means it was probably a juvenile, and we’re also sure it was probably a juvenile because it didn’t jump when I saw it.  Oh, did I mention that the spiders here can jump SEVERAL FEET?  Luckily I had already shit, because if I had seen a spider jump through the air, I would’ve shit on the spot.

So, I sprayed the crap out of the spider with the roach spray, and it began to move – very slowly.  I think the vanilla air freshener may have actually had some effect on the spider the night before.  Mayra and I were both too afraid to smash the spider – fearful that it would move and touch us before we could get it, so I ran down the hall and grabbed the one tool I knew would be a surefire way of getting rid of this creature without having to get too close to it.  I came back armed with our vacuum cleaner.

Oh yes, I brought in the big guns.  I sucked it up, and then Mayra and I put one of the attachments on the end so that it couldn’t crawl back out.

Problem solved.  Crisis averted.  I did a thorough check of the bathroom before I locked myself in there for my morning shower.  I’m now completely paranoid to use the bathroom, and probably will be for weeks.  Of all times for a spider to come along… right when I’m my most vulnerable position.

In an effort to speed up the recovery process, I stopped by our local grocery store on the way home from work and picked up some spider spray.  It’s a slight comfort.  I’ve also decided to name this spider and any future spider that may come along.  So, what do you call the little shit of a spider which terrorizes you in the bathroom and then torments your mind for weeks after?

I've posthumously named it George W. Bush - just to add a greater sense of evil to it.

I believe the name Newt Gingrich is next on the list.


  1. You killed a Huntsman with air freshener. You are my hero lol

  2. Dude, aren't you from florida where lizards run freely in people's homes and where there are spiders are as big as your hand but 'they eat mosquitos' so they are 'welcome'? I still vote Florida to be a scarier place to live. Man, I am a scaredy cat in florida. You are a wuss. :)

  3. I have never seen a spider in Florida! If they're there, they are in the swamps - not the cities. You haven't been to Australia in a while... I bet if you came back you'd freak out - especially during summer!

  4. the true-blue aussie thing to do would have been to catch the poor huntsman in a glass jar and put him back outside... they eat annoying things like mosquitos/flies as well, and would have been more scared of you... :P

  5. If that's the case, I think I have a long way to go before I can qualify as a "true-blue aussie"!

  6. As it was a fast mover, I wonder if a Wolf Spider came to visit (Huntsman spiders are usually not so flighty). BTW, both are not harmful and useful pest eaters.

    Check out
    it has some great info (including some of the nasties like the Syd Funnel Web).

    Also, the jumping several feet thing is an urban myth - thankfully.