Leaving Okinawa

This one needs a bit of a set-up before I get to the day the packers (not the Packers) and the inspector came to pack up, inspect and send all my stuff on to my next duty station, Guam.

The Set Up

I came home early one morning after a night out (maybe 3 am or so) and went to the fridge and grabbed the milk for a swig or two before going to bed. I only bought half gallons back then because a whole gallon usually went bad on me before I could drink it all. Anyway, I was taking a drink out of the carton when I noticed this grey sort of shapy thing out of the corner of my eye on my left and turned to see what it was. What it was, was a freaking cane spider about the size of my hand.

Now, it’s possible (and even probable) that my mind has exaggerated the size of that spider over the years, but the damn thing was BIG I’m telling you, and it scared the shit out of me.

Cane Spider

This is not the actual spider from then; I never consciously let it crawl on me. This photo does approximate what was in front of my face that day, though.

I’m pretty sure I teleported to the middle of my kitchen, because I don’t remember actually moving there. I just know that one second I was standing at my refrigerator with a giant spider a couple inches from my face, and then I was ten feet away with milk coming out of my nose and coughing “HOLY SHIT!”

I considered, and immediately dismissed, any thought of squishing it for two reasons:

  •  Because it would have been really ickily messy, and

  •  I wasn’t sure what might happen if I missed

Instead, I got out my handy dandy can of Raid (Okinawa also has a fairly large species of cockroach that can fly, so I always had a can of Raid around) and sprayed that thing thoroughly. In fact, I emptied about half a can on the thing but it didn’t move or react in any way. I’d swear the damn thing just gave me a sort of ‘meh’ shrug.

So, with the Raid being ineffective and me being unwilling to squish it, I made a deal with it instead. I said, and I did literally say this out loud. “If you leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone.” I said a lot of other things too, but I don’t remember all of the exact words. As far as I know, it accepted the deal because, while huntsman type spiders aren’t dangerously poisonous, their bites are very painful and leave a noticeable mark (so I’ve read) and I never woke up with a bite. It went about its business of eating the occasional cockroach, I’m guessing, and I went about mine.

And that’s the setup.

Leaving

The navy sent some local company to pack up my things a few days before I was to leave, and the air force sent an inspector to make sure I wasn’t taking anything I shouldn’t (such as local flora and fauna, etc.)

I was in the bedroom with the movers watching them pack up the stuff the inspector had already approved, and she was in the kitchen checking the rest of the stuff I’d already sorted through and decided to take with me. Suddenly there was this very high-pitched scream from the kitchen, and – I really really didn’t mean to, but – I could help laughing just a little, because I knew what had happened.

I said, “I take it you met my spider.”

There was only silence for a few seconds, and the a very soft voice said, “Yes.

The two movers were saying, “Nan de? Nan de?” which is essentially “What? What?” so I tried to tell them what happened, but I didn’t know the Japanese word for spider and they didn’t speak English. Finally I just made my hand run across the floor and said “Oki.” which means big.

It wasn’t exactly the proper word or context, but they got the idea and both ran into the kitchen to see it. I followed them. I guess her scream startled the spider enough that it ran back behind the refrigerator where it lived, though, because it was gone when we got out there.

The inspector was still standing in the middle of the room, looking kinda shocked. I said, “I’m sorry. I probably should have told you about it, but it doesn’t usually come out in the daytime. I don’t know why it did today. It scared the crap out of me, too, the first time I met it.”

I told her the full story behind my first meeting with the spider, (which I never named in case you’re wondering). She got a hold of herself pretty quickly after that, and even smiled a little bit when she saw that the movers were trying to crane around behind the fridge to see the spider, (I’d shown them where it went).

So even a plain old ordinary thing like moving ended up having a story for me to tell, all because my spider chose then to make a rare daytime appearance. 🙂

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R. S. Leergaard

US Navy veteran and writer of stories. Blogger of things.

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