My cousin just posted this picture on Facebook and it reminded me of a story from my time in Twentynine Palms, CA.
I am NOT a fan of spiders. I no longer panic and scream at the sight of one, but I will never be able to just calmly ignore one. I don't even like the little ones, let alone super-size spiders. *shudder*
When I first moved to Twentynine Palms, I got settled into my apartment. It was a nice little place. Part of a tri-plex and it even had a back yard!
I envisioned putting a little grill in the back yard and using the provided clothesline to dry my laundry and save on quarters at the laundromat. It was even fenced in so it felt like my own little space, though I shared the yard with the other two residents in the tri-plex. They were very nice so it wasn't a hardship.
And then came the day that I came home from the laundromat with a basket of clothes to hang on the line. As I headed for the clothesline, I waved at my neighbor, who was outside having a cup of coffee at the tiny table she had by her back door. She waved back and then told me to "keep an eye out" because she had seen a snake over in my part of the yard earlier and she wasn't sure where it had gone. But no worries, she was "pretty sure" it was just a harmless bull snake.
Yikes! But okay. I would be alert. I would be vigilant. It would be fi.... Holy crap!!! Is that a scorpion?!?!
"Oh, sure," my neighbor informed me. "We get those around here. Just keep a broom around and you can kinda sweep them outta your way."
Ahhhh... ok? So... when in the back yard I need to keep my eyes open for probably harmless snakes and have a broom with me to sweep away the occasional scorpion.
This was sounding like less of a great idea.
And then came the clincher. My helpful neighbor let me know that I should be sure to shake out my clothes "really, really, really good" when I took them off the line. Because sometimes tarantulas would crawl into the hanging clothes and if you didn't shake them out, you would take the tarantula inside with you.
No amount of quarters saved was worth the possibility of tarantulas in my laundry.
I thanked my neighbor for her helpful advice, picked up my laundry basket, and went right back to the snake-free, scorpion-free laundromat to use the spider-free dryer.
And I (quite literally) never set foot in that backyard again.
If you think that's bad (I do, but you might not if you are a braver person than I am), come back tomorrow for an even more horrifying story of spiders in the Twentynine Palms desert.