Spiders in the house

March 2006

At age 8 when I found bugs in the house I would sweep them into a dustpan and take them outside as an alternative to squashing, so I guess you can qualify me as a life-long liberal/do-gooder. I never liked killing things.

On the other hand, I've always had spider-phobia. Not a bad case, like the deep-psyche horror that drives some people to spray liver-destroying chemicals all over their house or to seek spider-phobia therapy; but I've always had a moderate paranoia about those hairy little 8-legged monsters. And my aversion to killing small things was over-ridden by my desire to get those little fuckers when they exposed themselves in my space.

I remember once at about age 10, I was out in the yard with my mom and she yelled that there was a tarantula with her in the side-yard. I'd never seen a live tarantula, only on TV, and it was enough to send me scurrying into the house to hide. Yikes!



Here in Cebu the other evening about 11pm my eyes started to glaze on the computer screen so I decided to call it a day. I turned off the computer and went into the kitchen to brush my teeth. I was just finishing brushing and about to turn off the lights when I looked up at the ceiling and spotted it.

“It” was one of the big spiders here in this part of the Philippines . In my sleepy state, it initially looked about a foot and a half long, although really it was only about 3 inches; definitely smaller than a tarantula. Still, at that hour and in my little house I got an immediate adrenalin fear-rush: “There's a big fucking spider in here and I'm just about ready to go to sleep!”

I also noticed it was carrying a white egg-case on its back.

I calmly finished brushing my teeth and retrieved my fly swatter. My first swat missed, and then the chase was on...she was lightening-fast! She jumped about two feet and crawled into the window casing, behind the louvered kitchen window panes but trapped inside by the bug netting on the outside.

I started poking between the window panes with a broom handle, trying to squash her. She scurried around inside the casing, easily dodging my jabs. Damn she was fast! Meanwhile, my heartbeat had quickly accelerated from a sleepy 60 or so to...racing! I was pumped.

She jumped out from inside the window casing and started to race across the wall. I swatted at her.. missing the direct blow I was aiming for, but at least I brushed her with a passing swat. Her egg casing fell off and she dropped to the floor amidst my pile of sandals by the door.

I looked over at the fallen egg-casing and it came alive...hundreds of baby spiders emerged and instantly fanned out in a 360-degree arc. Oyyyy! Which to attack first... babies or mom?

I started swatting baby spiders.

Mashing several with each initial blow, I quickly disposed of at least a hundred. But within a few seconds they were already reaching the protective cover of the cabinet skirting and furniture. If they escaped...they'd become next week's giant spiders in the house.

But I decided to go after mom...she was the one that posed the immediate threat to my sleep tonight. I didn't think I could fall asleep with her loose in the house.

I started turning over sandals, waiting for her to jump out at me (I was sure she'd go right for my mouth or ears, depositing more spider eggs which would then hatch and go right to my brain, right?)

I flipped over all the sandals and didn't see her. Where the fuck??? I started frantically moving furniture, was she already behind the chair, the 5-gallon water bottle or the couch?

I swatted another dozen babies ..Yikes, they're everywhere now!

I went back to the sandals. Did I miss her?

I flipped over my yellow flip-flops again...there she was, not moving at this particular nano-second. Stunned? I didn't wait to find out: SLAM!

She was instantly dead...or at least, significantly stunned. I swept her outside into the night.

And went back to my search for baby spiders. I found a few more...and after 15 minutes, my heart slowed down, my brain got tired, and it was time to cut some Z's.


The next morning I went about my usual business of crawling out of bed, starting the water for coffee and booting my computer to read my e-mail and online newspapers. Every five minutes or so in the kitchen I'd spot one of the little devils... already bigger than the night before. Undoubtedly they'll be growing exponentially over the next few weeks until they're larger than SUV's. And coming right at me.