People with phobias of spiders should not read past this point (if the picture hasn’t already killed you). I now have a phobia of spiders and didn’t even re-read this next section after I wrote it…
Practice makes perfect apparently, so I was out on the streets chatting after dark at the window of some new friends. I must have been totally engrossed in the conversation, because when one of them pointed at a spider near my foot, I could only remember to curse in Portuguese. I am ambivalent about the existence of spiders. I don’t necessarily have them around the house or anything, but I also don’t have a huge fear of them – Australian spiders that is.
Black, hairy and lethal, this tarantula was at least 10 cm in diameter – that is, if you squeezed all of its legs together and then tied it up with string into a ball. With its legs stretched out I would estimate the diameter would have had to have been double that. I didn’t get much time to admire the size of it, as the owner of the house threw some liquid on it followed by a burning match. The blaze was a beauty and made some headway in diminishing my growing fear of spiders.
Seeing the charred corpse the following day cemented my newly discovered phobia and now I tend to roam the streets at night, jumping with terror at the slightest movement by pieces of appropriately sized litter blown by the wind.