Before I move to a tropical climate, I dream about all the positives of the place: sunsets at the beach, pina coladas, a cool ocean breeze. It’s only after I arrive that I remember what I don’t like about beach-side dwelling: things that crawl.
In our first day in Costa Rica we saw a scorpion. It was hiding in our neighbor’s reusable grocery bags—the ones I was sitting next to in the back of the jeep on the way to the grocery store.
That night a cockroach flew through the window while I sat at the kitchen table writing. Luckily, Jordan’s powers of observation are more powerful than my own and he had already killed it by the time I realized what “it” was.
Later yet, a spider the size of a small monkey appeared on the family room floor. It was as if a third person had walked in the front door and sat in front of the TV. This thing was so big I could have combed its hair. I didn’t. And not because it was too fast for me to catch. I would not have touched that thing with King Kong’s comb.
It was the kind of spider that sinks low when it crawls but perches up on all eight legs so it appears twice as tall before it runs. Actually, run isn’t the right word. I run. Spiders scurry. Its that light-on-the-legs movement that makes you feel like it’s scurrying right up your pant leg in the time it takes you to process that it’s moved from its original location.
I assumed a squatting position on the couch while Jordan grabbed the broom. The spider poised itself for a scurry. I made some ridiculous girly noise that even I didn’t know I was capable of while Jordan killed it with the broom. I briefly wondered who kills a spider with a broom other than housewives from the fifties but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to distract him from the objective.
Just moments after the incident Jordan was sprawled back in his original horizontal position on the couch half asleep. I, on the other hand, remained in a squat and wished Jordan wasn’t a geezer who falls asleep at 9 p.m. leaving me alone with all the creepy crawly things.
Now I crouch on chairs and put my feet up when sitting at the kitchen table, because I know more spiders lay in wait. It’s only a matter of time before I let my guard down and accidentally put a foot on the floor or get tired enough to lean back on the sofa, maybe even resting my neck against the back of the couch. I know as soon as I get too comfortable, that’s the moment the spider people will take their revenge and crawl across my shoulders or scurry over my toes.
At least now I have Jordan. When I used to travel alone, a spider sighting meant at least an hour of squealing and failed attempts at killing it before it ran into a corner that I spent the rest of the night staring at. Now, all I have to do is gasp and Jordan is on his feet, broom in hand.
Lucky for me, he’s up for the role of hero.