Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Grasshopper and the Spider

I'm lying in my bed, under my mosquito net, watching The Runaways on my laptop with the air conditioner running at 'medium cool'. I can hear knocking. Is it the movie? I can hear more knocking. I turn down the volume on my laptop: someone's knocking at the door.

"Hold on!"

I'm trying to figure out where the opening in the mosquito net is. I don't want to pull out too much of the net from where it is tucked under the mattress because I don't want mosquitoes getting inside as I vacate this enclosure.

"Just a second!"

I squirm out from under the bug net, walk over to the door, turn the key once and open it. My colleague is standing outside my room in her nightgown, hair net and flip flops.

"Can you kill a spider?"
"Probably; hang on… what the…? Oh no."

I quickly shut the door and as I do a grasshopper hops into my room.

There are hundreds of grasshoppers on the pathways outside of the rooms of the hotel - all rooms have exterior doors - congregating around the lights that have been left on. Two nights ago it took me three attempts and 10 minutes to get into my room amidst swarming grasshoppers. When the grasshoppers swarm it can be overwhelming. There are no cats outside of my door to eat the grasshoppers because a low wall running alongside the path to my door prevents the cats from seeing and getting to the grasshoppers. To avoid this situation I now keep the light outside my door turned off.

The grasshopper in my room isn't large, but I still won't sleep if I know there's a grasshopper in my room. I try to grab the grasshopper with my hand, but every time I get close it starts hopping frantically. More than frantically: maniacally. For want of anything else, I grab my baseball cap and throw it on top of the grasshopper. The grasshopper manages to get out from under it and resumes hopping around the room. After a minute or two of hopping passes I again throw my cap on it, quickly close it around the grasshopper, and carry it outside as it hops frantically inside my hat. I can feel the grasshopper, hopping inside of my cap as I carry it outside and release it in the garden.

I walk the few steps to my colleague's room and see that her door is slightly ajar. I gently knock and push the door open to se her sitting on her bed. She motions with her hand, above my head and to my right.

"The spider is there."

I look up and to my right. The spider is there.

It is the largest spider I have ever seen. Larger than my hand. As large as my head. With long, sprawling legs, stretching out across the wall and ceiling, like an afghan blanket hanging from above.

I take a step back through the door and look at my colleague sitting on her bed. I lean forward and again I peer up and to my right to look at the spider.

I have never seen a spider like this before.

I look at my colleague.

"I'm sorry, that's too big. I'm afraid I can't help you."
"Then I'll have to go and get one of the men to do it."
"Yeah… I'm not that kind of man. I'm very sorry."

I go back to my room, open my door and quickly rush in before a grasshopper can follow me. I go to my bed, untuck the mosquito net from under my mattress, squirm back under my mosquito net before frantically tucking the loose end back under my mattress. I roll over, adjust my pillow, and press the space bar on my laptop to resume watching my movie.

A few minutes pass by. I can hear some banging in the next room. I presume the spider is being killed by one of the men.

I envision what I will do if I ever encounter a spider that large and don't have a man around to kill it: I will spend 15 minutes staring at the spider, pacing, before I attempt to kill it; miss; and after 5 more minutes of deliberating I will give up, crawl under my mosquito net while leaving the light in the room on so that I can watch the unmoving spider throughout the night.

I try to forget about the spider.

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