Spidey Sense

The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page devoted to “Spiderman’s Powers and Equipment, specifically focusing on his “spidey sense.”

“Spider-Man’s “spider-sense” manifests in a tingling feeling at the base of his skull, alerting him to personal danger in proportion to the severity of that danger. For instance, a little tingling such as a happenstance passing by of an enemy would prompt Peter to be alert, while a strong tingling, sometimes to the point of being painful, is interpreted as a need to take immediate evasive action on a deadly threat. It appears to be a simultaneous response to a wide variety of phenomena”

It’s now, as I sit at my desk two days before I embark for Japan that I develop similar symptoms and premonitions of danger and doom. The tingle, strong today, spasms in my neck, the “phenomenon” eliciting the “spidey sence” was this sentence, seen on another website:

“Until quite recently Japan had no spider species that could be deadly to humans. That changed around 1995, when the first redback spiders were found in Osaka.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a number of pre-travel rituals. One of these is a study on the arachnid population at my destination. This was perhaps spurred by a run-in with a terrifyingly large wolf spider or a junior tarantula (we didn’t ask it) in Mexico. As we coolly shrieked for it to leave, I decided to never travel again without knowing what family members of my arch-nemeses’ class were living there.

This greatly aggravated my cousin Alex, with whom I did a camping and fishing tour around the west when I was twenty. Still somewhat fresh (3 years) from my Mexican spider standoff, I eagerly quizzed each park ranger about the eight-legged residents of their particular national park. This was in the back country of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and the temperate rain forests of Washington, not to mention a placed reassuringly called The Badlands, so there was a real possibility of running into a big scary spider. It should be mentioned that the only dangerous spider we saw on the trip was a black widow in West Virginia, about 8 hours from our home. This did little to fill me with a confident ease. The bastards were everywhere.

To be honest, my relationship with spiders has developed over the years. I know that spiders are a great part of the ecosystem, they get rid of other pests, and have no real ill will towards me. For this and other reasons, I no longer kill them in my house, I simply let them be as long as they are not in my bed or on my person. When Bela the Cat eats one, I feel a little sad, but celebrate the permanence of the circle of life by patting her on the withers.

Still, none of this has stopped me from looking into the arachnids in the Middle East, India, and Sicily, of Germany, England, Lyon, and, now, Japan. Due to my obsessive research, I have an in-depth knowledge of what sort of spiders live on four continents, though I haven’t seen one in person. Actually, make that six continents, since spiders are why I have veered away from South America and the sole reason I would never consider visiting the nest of arachnid death and terror that is Australia.

Not that that matters anymore, because the redback spider has recently moved from Australia to Japan, where its beady-eyed legions are spreading through the cities no doubt killing people in droves.

It’s clear: they’re coming for me.

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