My Banana Spider Story
In the comments on this post, Tammi mentioned her almost encounter with a banana spider. I've decided to tell of my 'close' encounter of the arachnid kind. First off, just to set the tone, here is a banana spider. It's also known as a Golden Silk or Golden Orb spider, but you know us Southerners...gotta give it a local name. Besides, 'Golden Silk' sounds all nice and pretty. Makes you think of pretty oriental pajamas or maybe a sexy silk teddy. Pretty? Not really. Scary? Definitely! Now hold out your hand, palm up. That might be just enough room for it to sit on. Yep, that's about the size of the monsters. Anyway, my story begins shortly after Hurricane Ivan. *shudder* Excuse me for a minute...have to take a quick shot of whiskey to brace myself. *gulp...ahhhh* Our home was directly in Ivan's path. We lost about 10 or so trees on our property. Big trees. One of the trees was so big that it would take 3 people to grab hands and make a circle around the trunk. But, thank you God, none of the trees hit our house or outbuildings. We even had a tornado pass through our back yard. You could see the tops of some trees that had been shredded by the start of the tornado, then see the trees next to them that had the top half broken off, and then the point where the tornado hit the ground, and then veered and went between two houses, piling trees in its path like tinker toys. It went between two houses, but didn't hit any home directly. One tree fell against one house, scraping it. The aftermath was awful. Not as awful as the storm surge and flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana. I certainly do not want to denigrate or lessen those poor people's tragedy. But that doesn't lessen the shock and emotional impact of what we faced. In driving back in (we had left town for the storm), the damage seemed endless. (We were one of the first people to reach the Escambia Bay Bridge where the poor man lost his life driving his semi across the bridge during the storm. They hadn't blocked the road to it yet...you just saw pieces of bridge....shifted around or just missing.) You become numb to what you see, and you haven't even made it to your own home. You can't even cry after awhile. No matter what you see on tv, it does not match what you see firsthand. You are emotionally flattened. Your world is not the same. Ever. Even as your spirit stirs and steels itself to recover, there is a small child in your soul whimpering in fear. You always know death can hit you at any moment, but the reality of that fact doesn't often sink its teeth into you. You are helpless against the power of nature. Forget this global warming crap. Mother nature will win over man. Always. Hello??? Are y'all still there? Thanks for hanging in there...I don't often dwell on the storm...back to the spider story. When we returned after Ivan we found the yard was about a foot deep in tree trunks, leaves, branches, trash etc. We had to chainsaw our way into our driveway. We had no power, but had the supplies necessary to keep going for a few days (as anyone should who lives in hurricane country). The next day, we started cleaning. I was working in the backyard to get it clean for the dog, and =HC= was working around the front with the chainsaw. The back patio, where we feed the dog, had become infested with ants. I had to empty the dog's food because of the ants. I started walking towards what *used* to be the forest's edge, but was now an obstacle course of felled trees. I was watching the ground, not wanting to turn an ankle on debris or step on a displaced snake. Then it happened. Because I was watching the ground, I didn't notice the web. A masterpiece of artwork and strength that even SpiderMan would envy. Yes, I walked into it. It wrapped around my head. (At least I had on a hat.) For those of you who don't know, the banana spider's web feels like rope. Sticky, clinging rope. On my face and shoulders. Of course, I screamed. The banana spider's venom is poisonous...how poisonous, I don't know. I was flailing around, whapping my head and shoulders, hoping to fling the damn monster off. =HC= heard me scream. He started running for the back yard, fearing I had come across a snake. Well, I calmed down as I realized that I hadn't felt the humongous spider body as I had frantically wiped off my face and shoulders. I stopped screaming, and began brushing myself off. I bent forward slightly to brush off my thighs, as the web had been a good size. And then I saw it. A monster escaped from Hades. Hanging between my knees was....the spider. One strand of spider death-rope connected to my left knee. Another strand attached to my right knee. And dangling between my legs connected to both strands was the monster of all monsters. REALLY. BIG. SCREAM. =HC= heard my second scream while he was still coming to check out the first scream. But it had changed pitch, so he ran pell-mell, thinking that I had just been bitten by a snake. He dashes around the corner and sees me doing this weird dance, hopping back and forth on spread feet, trying to get away from the monster that is trying to crawl towards my crotch. Of course, he can't see the spider from where he is, but just thinks I'm trying to avoid being bitten again by a snake. Then he sees me grab a long stick and start twirling and twisting it in a circular motion between my still-spread legs. He thinks I've lost it. That the stress and heat have simply made me snap. And of course he laughs his butt off when I finally relate what happened. I should have kept the stick with the spider attached to it...I could have hit =HC= with it.