Spiders and I are not friends. I think as I get older, the way I react to them gets worse. You'd think it would be the other way round - desensitisation - but nope.
Something I've loved so far about living in LA is the lack of spiders to deal with. Maybe there seems to be more of a contrast because our apartment here is fairly new and lacking cracks and holes, whereas in Australia, we'd always lived in much older homes. But in general, Australian creepy crawlies win hands down over American ones.
So the other day, when I was about to open our patio gate and saw this stripy red spider, my heart jumped up into my throat. I had no idea what kind of threat it posed - I mean, look at it. Its colours and markings scream to back the fuck away, right?
Being an Aussie, I've been conditioned to expect the worst from spiders - given the lovely variety of venomous ones that exist across our continent. However, that doesn't explain J's rather casual Buddhist approach of capturing and releasing them outside. I love him, but he's a freak. These things need to die if they're on my turf, and - preferably - someone needs to do that dirty work for me.
J wasn't home and I needed to know what I was dealing with, so I grabbed the camera (for perspective, the bar it's perched on is 2cm wide).
Then began my task of googling spiders - no easy feat, when my physical response to every hideous image on the screen was to break out in a sweat and almost vomit. No exaggeration.
After feeling a whole lot of queasiness, I finally found it - a Phidippus adumbratus (some call it a red back jumping spider). Harmless, apparently. The jumping bit, I don't like, though. Also - I challenge any Australian to relax around a spider that has red back in its name.
Call me heartless, but I'd have probably dumped half a can of insect spray on it, like I would in Australia... but we didn't have any. A situation that (gasp!) would have been unheard when I lived there. Toxins be damned.
I guess you could say I have arachnophobia...