Change Yourself…Change The World.


A PCV’s Memoir: Insects Beware
October 21, 2011, 8:00 am
Filed under: Paraguay

Tonight as I was lounging on my sofa chair, chowing down on green olives and watching Arrested Development, a GIANT something suddenly darted across the room. Half spider, half scorpion, this crazy black beast skittered across my tile floor with the agility of a deadly ninja, body arched back menacingly in attack position, with one goal in mind: to scare the living hell out of Brittany, who is mortally afraid of spiders alone- add those that move at lightning speed, and we have a near apocalyptic break-down.

Did I clutch my chest and have a heart attack? Did I give a blood-curdling scream that surely would’ve attracted the neighbors? Did I burst into tears and call my nearest Paraguayan man-friend to take it down? No, my friends. I kid you not, there was one thought, and one thought only that entered my mind: It’s Go Time.

In the past three weeks I have killed more spiders, cockroaches, beetles, and ANY weird creature than I care to ever kill in my life. I’ve stomped on slow-moving caterpillar spider critters as big as my palm, long spindly grey spiders lazily chilling on the wall, and cockroaches lurking in my dresser. And when I say kill, I’m talking calculated, swift, and ruthless assassinations. Yes friends, I have become the U.S. Navy SEAL of killing whopper insects.

It’s interesting that my out-of-control (and completely irrational) fear of giant spiders has not deterred me in this massacre. When I would before encounter jumbo arachnids (usually in the wild, though I’ve had my fair share of them while living in places like Northern India), I would immediately freeze up and some giant ‘panic’ mechanism would unleash in my system, rendering me incapable of doing anything except scream and hide.

I don’t know what’s turned around, but now that I’m in Paraguay and am preparing my new house,I’ve adopted this one rule: without shame, fear, or guilt, all bugs that enter my house will immediately die. Perhaps this mindset has turned off my panic mechanism (or maybe more the realization that if I let a giant spider hide somewhere in my house, I will never sleep again), because suddenly I have no fear when it comes to colossal monsters that enter my home: after an initial ‘Holy Mother of God’ exclamation, I grab my nearest favorite pair of shoes and smash down on the varmint with the swiftness and dexterity of a lion pouncing on his prey. And then with complete nonchalance, I grab my broom and sweep that baby off, out of my house and into the night.

I have to say, my reckless abandonment of killing giant bugs has been a skill I didn’t expect to acquire during the Peace Corps. But while I am a little pleasantly surprised with this development, I’m far from happy about having to go through with it each time. Fingers crossed that I haven’t cursed myself with this post and now there will be three tarantulas in my kitchen tomorrow.


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