Tuesday, January 12, 2010


At the end of the year it is customary for workplaces to throw an end of the year party at a nice bar or restaurant. We planned to have ours at an "Italian" restaurant. (I say "Italian" because very little of the food, including raw beef, and vegetables with blueberry sauce, could really be counted as real Italian food. They didn't even have garlic bread for crying out loud.)

For every school hosted drinking party, also known as enkai, one teacher is put in charge to organize the occasion. Loud second year gym sensei was set to the task, and to help make the night fun he had a trick up his sleeve.

He distributed to everyone a sheet of paper in which we were to list important pieces of news. He would then create a humorous power point for our evening of Italian decadence. If you don't understand the concept don't worry, neither did I. "Like, world news?" I asked my English teacher. "Anything" he replied. So I took a guess, wrote my list and handed it in.

The evening arrived, filled with raw meat, and anything and everything but real Italian Cuisine. Gym Sensei spun up the projector and started the night off. Apparently only I handed in my paper willingly. And I would have been the only person to hand it in at all if hadn't asked English Sensei about it. If I handed in this paper then English Sensei, my superior and adviser, HAD to do it too. And he did, and so we were the only ones to do so at all.

The first slide was all me. Point number 1: Obama was erected into office. .........ERECTED? I and the vice principal (who is very gifted in English) burst into laughter. "I know, I know! I'll make him change it."

We were the only ones who caught the mistake. But at least now we know how Obama won. He was erected.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Halloween is a relatively uncelebrated holiday in Japan, though they still use it as a consumer selling point. No one really goes trick or treating, but we foreigners still do our best to put our scary feet forward and out the door to disturb the general population.

It really is a shame that Halloween isn't very big here though, especially because the Japanese love to dress up for fun. I mean, their every day clothes are pretty much costumes, so I can't even imagine what wonderful things they would come up with to dress up as if they were to try.

I, out of the kindness of my heart, felt it was absolutely necessary to bring Halloween to my children. I'm here to bring the culture of the outside world in, so why not freak them out a little right?

I only had one class the last school day before Halloween, so I gave my last class for the week and then disappeared into the teacher's dressing room. I reemerged fully dressed as a student. This may not seem like such a big deal to us Americans, but to dress like Japanese student means wearing something that makes you look like a sort of strange sailor jacked up on cute drugs.

I emerged pigtails and all, bouncing down the halls squealing "Happy Halloween". When I returned to the teacher's room I saw the looks of pure confusion cross all their faces. "What is a student doing in here? OMG! IS THAT JONES SENSEI?!" This was followed by raucous laughter. They told me that if they didn't know me they would believe I was a foreign student who's father was here on business. It really freaked them out, and continued to freak them out throughout the day as they passed me in the halls.

The students were even more confused, especially because up to this point I had kept it a secret that I can speak Japanese. Yet suddenly I appeared, fully dressed as a student, demanding that they say "trick or treat" in Japanese so I could give them a special Halloween sticker. Mostly they shrieked with laughter at the sight of me after they got over the shock, but I could tell some were genuinely irked. The sudden realization that I probably understood anything and everything they had said in front of me (or about me) for the last three months was probably not a pleasant realization.

When I made my way to the Gym teacher's (the one afraid of bug's) homeroom during lunch (he hadn't seen me dressed up yet) he looked up from what he was doing as I was handing out stickers. He looked right at me, and looked back at the work in front of him, there was a pause, and his head snapped back up with a look of utter shock. Then he broke into laughter so intense I thought I might be in danger of killing him.

All in all, it was a really great day. I felt like I had broken down the barrier between myself and my students because I had put myself on their level for a day. Furthermore, I was allowed to speak Japanese all day, so the language barrier was greatly weakened. We are all definitely on a friendlier basis now. The down side was....well let me put it this way. I am a size 8 in the US. That is the equivalent of a Japanese XL, so you can imagine how well a skirt made for a 100 lbs Japanese school girl fit. Needless to say, I was relieved to change back into my own clothes.

Ever since that day, my students have been trying to get me to speak Japanese again. However I just insist that the uniform was magic. Only when I'm in it, am I granted the powers of an average Japanese student.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stage Two

When we arrived in Tokyo for orientation, every single presentation on cultural adjustment (of which there were way too many) warned us of the 4 steps of culture shock. 1. Euphoria and excitement. 2. Critical pessimistic rejection of the culture 3. acceptance and adjustment 4. (optional and rarely done) assimilation.

They warned us and warned us about stage two. I have found that some people hit stage two and never leave. However, I think for most people stage two is a series of days or moments, instead of a chunk of set time. Stage two crops up from time to time, but if you are a reasonable person, you can pretty much skip the whole "hating the culture you're living in because you do it better" phase. The following is a list of my stage two moments.

1. Why, why why can't Japanese women walk in high heels? And if they can't why do they ALL insist on wearing them? I'm not talking about the sort of clunking high heeled walk of the unskilled western women. I'm talking a pigeon toed, teetering, dangerous inability to walk in heels. It's just a friggin' safety hazard.

Don't believe me?

There is a 4 lane wide cross walk in the center of Kobe city that I walk frequently. It's always packed so it's pretty close quarters when you cross the street. I was making my way across one day, and I happened to be walking in a horizontal line with this girl in the middle and her boyfriend on the opposite end. She, of course, was wearing high heels and was teetering across the street like some sort of crazy circus balancing act when she fell.....into me. There wasn't even a pothole or a thing she tripped on. She just sucked so badly at walking in high heels her legs just gave up.

It's a good thing I was there because her boyfriend would not have been fast enough to save her from a tragic sideways crash in the middle of the street. Though he was fast enough to stop her from knocking me over. (I was not wearing heels, because I'm practical.)

2. There are these vans that project audio advertisements for anything from electronics stores to home services, political campaign announcements, and so on. They usually consist of a recording of someone yelling the message in shrill honorific Japanese, and a catchy song that later gets stuck in your head, even though you don't understand the lyrics.

They like to drive around, blasting their audio message to anyone within earshot. That doesn't bother me so much when I'm walking around the city in the middle of the day. The city is inherently obnoxious, what's one more thing? What bothers me (which is happening as I type this) is when these cars drive out to my apartment complex at 8 p.m. and stop outside each set of buildings over the course of 30 minutes or so blasting their recording.

WHY IS THAT NOT LEGAL?! ESPECIALLY because this is a country that doesn't believe in insulation and many of your walls are, quite literally, paper.

3. Which brings me to my next stage 2 moment. Why is there no insulation or heat in homes? My home has no heater. It also has no insulation. Why? I don't know. I thought Japan loved efficiency, but I got proven wrong. Bummer.

4. Walking in Japan in general makes me want to scream. If you get behind an elderly person, a girl in heels, a snuggley couple, or any sort of group of people you are doomed to be late. OH WAIT! That's like the whole country, because this is a group based, group minded society with the largest population of elderly to youth ratio in the first world. AGH!

I seriously wonder on a daily basis why NO ONE can walk here. It's shockingly incredible. Young, old, middle aged, sneakers or heels, no one seems capable of walking normally. They all walk at a snails pace, and considering this is the first world country with most underweight people, they sure know how to take up a whole lot of space while they do it. They have this special talent for weaving, so just as you think you can pass them, nope. They weaved the other way. (They also have no scruples about cutting you off either, or running into you while they do it.

The part that's most confusing is that everything runs painfully on time here, so shouldn't we all be rushing to get to our destinations on time?

5. Little old ladies from Osaka. They only come up to my bust so they are out of my range of vision. If you are on a packed train near one you best guard your sides and get out of the way. They are not afraid to elbow jab you in the side to get off the train 2 seconds before you, only to walk at a snails pace and wobble so you can't pass them. I'm not kidding. I've actually be jabbed in the side by one, on purpose so she could get by me. Oh, and if she's got purple hair, you better run for the hills. The purple haired ones are the most vicious of all.

6. People who stare at me who deserved to be stared at. I often get stared at on the train, especially if I am outside of Kobe city (where there are a lot of foreigners). Old business men are the biggest offenders. I generally lean forward and stare back. It takes them a minute to realize what is happening before they look surprised and quickly look away, only to wait ten seconds and try again. Don't worry I'm still staring back.

My favorite is when someone who really deserves to be stared at themselves stares at me shamelessly like I have two heads. The other day I got on the train and sat across from this modestly dressed housewife. She was dressed in old lady clothes typical of her age and status. She looked normal in every way, with the exception of the giant teal patch in the front of her hair near her brow. It literally looked like someone had poorly taken aim with a can of spray paint and just gave a squirt. Yet she was staring at me.

My absolute favorite is when someone is walking towards you and they realize you aren't Japanese. They are so shocked and busy with staring at you that they forget that matter can't pass through other matter and they run into you. This is despite the fact that you are trying to get out of the way, but they are weaving so badly that even from the front you can't pass them.

7. Almost all the men have gotten a sex change.

Enough said.

P.S. That announcing truck is still outside.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Case of Strangers

So over the last week our students have been taking mid-term exams. That means they only have tests during the first half of the day, and there are no classes after lunch. On our first half-day, the teachers informed me in broken English that we would be having a teacher event in the afternoon. They described it as training "in case of strangers".

In case of strangers? "Oh, like self defense?" "Yes, self defense. Middle aged gym sensei will attack us." (I don't want to name names. There are 3 gym teachers, young man afraid of bugs gym sensei, middle aged man gym sensei, and woman gym sensei.)

The description of self defense made me assume we would be learning to physically defend ourselves if attacked. We had something similar in high school. We learned how to punch an attacker, get out of a headlock and other useful tricks. I figured we would be taught, and then we would teach the kids, and middle aged gym sensei was our test dummy. It all made sense.....or it would have if I had guessed correctly.

Around 1:30, three men from the government arrived at the teacher's room. We all stood and bowed in greeting, and they began to give an introduction of the afternoon's activities. All I could catch of their honorific Japanese speech was that we would be role-playing. Some teachers would be students, some teachers, and middle aged gym sensei would be "the criminal".

I was given an orange gym pinny to signify my student status. The "students" migrated upstairs to the first year classrooms, and we broke down into pretend classes. My group did not include any of the English teachers, so my instructions on what to do were really handicapped.

Music sensei told me were were having pretend music class, as froggy looking art sensei sat in the back of the class. We saw "the criminal" walk by and he (I guess) entered another "class" and "attacked" a teacher. At the time, I had no idea what was happening. Music sensei and art sensei got up to leave the room. I went to follow them but music sensei said to wait. They left, and I sat down.

The dead silence that followed struck me as odd, so I left the room only to realize that EVERYONE had left the floor. "What on earth am I supposed to be doing", I thought. I started walking towards the stairs when I heard music sensei yell something.

"Itai, itai" .......Itai means it hurts,or ouch. I thought that this was all part of the act so I decided to not go downstairs. I figured the villain was just waiting for a poor defenseless Japanese middle schooler like myself to cross his path.

The only problem was that music sensei was saying "I-kai", which means first floor. She was yelling to me to come to the first floor, but confused I remained upstairs, when suddenly cute English sensei popped up. She led me downstairs where the other "students were hanging out near the teacher's room, "telling" the vice principal that there was some sort of attacker on campus. Then they yelled at us to run. So we all ran outside to "safety" where we met Japanese sensei, who was supposed to watch out for us. Then the demonstration was over.

I was so confused. I was really unclear as to what had happened. I wasn't even sure that the demonstration HAD happened. I thought they were running through the motions once for practice, because we never saw our attacker after the official start of the demonstration.
I had also expected really specific instructions on what to do, but it had all seemed like an experiment just to see what "might" happen if you were totally unprepared. No one, including the teachers seemed to know what was going on, or what to do. It wasn't like a fire drill where you are told what to do, and then you practice it. It didn't seem to make any sense, but I wrote it off as a problem with the language barrier.

Afterward, we were led upstairs to the library where we all sat around a circle of desks, and each teacher told the nice government men their experience. Only catching every other word, it seemed middle aged gym sensei had a "knife" and had attacked cute English sensei's class first. I still don't know what happened after that.

Poor music sensei had to fess up that she screwed up her duties in protecting her students because she had no idea how to explain to me what to do. Everyone had a good laugh at our expense and they continued to moved around the circle of teachers, each telling their role, and what they thought.

The government officials then (I think) critiqued their performance and gave advice so they would know what to do if some random stranger walked into the school with a knife. Then they told us they were going to show us how to fend off an attacker.

One of the three men got up and fetched this ridiculous looking stick. It was probably about 6 feet long, black, and the end had a crescent attached to it, so it looked like you could pin someone up against a wall with it. They made poor m.a. gym sensei get up to be the target of the demonstration. They explained that this special stick was used to fend of attackers, and it was good because it put a lot of space between you and the villain.

They then gave a demonstration on how to go for the attackers head or feet. They showed that if you went for his body that he could easily grab the crescent and turn this ingenious invention against you. (Which just proved a regular stick would have been better in the first place.) Everyone oohed and aahed enthusiastically like these men had just invented a time machine or turned aluminum into gold.

Puzzled, I turned to one of the English teachers to ask a question quietly, and this drew the attention of the government officials. They thought it would be a really good idea to make me come up front and practice attacking poor m.a. gym sensei.

I knew they were going to get a kick out of making the foreign girl have a go at "defending herself" and were probably asking me to come to the front purely for entertainment purposes. So I made a couple of pretend jabs at our mock villain and everyone had a good laugh. Then they made the English teacher I was talking to go up. She experimented with the stick, holding it different ways, all while making comments like "wow, this is amazing".

After the government men went on their way, we returned to the teacher's room and I took my seat at my desk. Young afraid of bugs gym sensei was making ridiculous comments in English to me all during the walk back. "Wow. Eliza is such strong woman. She can fight with sticks, and she can touch creepy bugs. She is much stronger than me. Amazing desu ne. sugoi sugoi (wow, wow).

Once back in the teacher's room and at my desk, I asked young gym sensei if we had one of those sticks at school. He said we didn't. Were we going to get a stick like that at school? Was it something they were going to issue to us later on? No, no we don't have one now and we won't be getting one in the future.


This was a real stumper.

If this was a GOVERNMENT demonstration given to all the schools, why wouldn't they GIVE us the very stick they propose we use? Why isn't the school required to have one? Furthermore, what if that ridiculous pole isn't nearby and some random man walks into school with a knife, what do I do then? Plus, what are the chances that some random guy is going to take a kitchen knife and walk into a building filled with over 400 people to try and commit a massacre. I mean, does someone even think that's going to be a success? You can only really stab one person at a time, and chances are a whole bunch of people are going to try to tackle you while you have a go at it. Its not like America where you can get the job done right with some sawed off semi-automatic something or other you bought at Walmart. Stabbing lots of people is really hard work, especially when a whole school's worth of people are trying to stop you and half the kids take a martial art. You're pretty much doomed.

When I pointed out the problem with the whole not actually having a self defense stick thing I could see the Japanese brain circuitry cross in gym sensei and music sensei's heads. The Japanese have a strong reverence for authority, which often defies reason and logic. This was one of those cases, and I could see pointing it out had struck a nerve. Music sensei curtly explained that some of the other schools had that stick.

Realizing I had crossed some ridiculous cultural line, I agreed that the demonstration made perfect sense then, if some of the schools had the stick (which of course did not make ANY sense whatsoever.) and dropped to subject. I got a drink of water, returned to my desk and asked music sensei about how her marching band's practices were coming along. It was all smoothed over in a flash.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Living Turd

So most of our kids have been sent home because a third of the school has swine flu. This has left us teachers with lots of time on our hands to return to our summer ritual of looking busy. But that doesn't mean that we won't take every opportunity to openly do nothing as long as we can do it together.

This led Kyoto-Sensei (this means vice-principal) to take a stroll around the school grounds. She returned with a dust pan and on that dust pan was an object which looked distinctly like a turd. "What the heck is this?" She said to us in Japanese. The gym sensei, English sensei, Kyoto sensei and I all stared at it a moment when suddenly it moved its little turd head to look at us.

"WHAAAAAA! CREEPY" screamed our 6ft, 26 year old, in shape gym sensei as he launched himself to the other side of the island of desks. His reaction was ridiculous. "Scary! What the heck is that thing? It's so gross and creepy!!" he rambled on in Japanese. After examining it for a while and poking it safely with the butt of a pen, Kyoto sensei trotted off with the living turd to show the principal. He also didn't know what it was so she came back to us.

"It's a caterpillar"I said, but no one could understand what that was, so they continued to poke it until they discovered the turd's head was actually its butt. Frustrated that no one could understand me, I took to the internet to find a picture. Luckily, gym-sensei was way ahead of me and screaming about creepy bugs like a school girl all the while.

"Yuck! What is this thing?! Ugh, it's so creepy. SCARY SCARY SCARY!!!!" (Show some samurai dignity for crying out loud.)

Science sensei came back to the teachers' room and we showed him the moving turd. He poked and prodded the now thoroughly harassed moving feces. We finally determined that the poop was indeed some sort of caterpillar, but its ongoing torment caused the turd to become far more animated, and it was rapidly moving around the piece of paper we had it on, in constant danger of taking a plummeting fall onto the floor.

Gym sensei had since left, since he was tired of the other teachers harassing him with the bug, since we all thought it was funny to see him freak out. We had took over his desk as the turd's stomping ground and the other teachers commented on how funny it would to plant little Turdy in gym sensei's gym bag.

It was getting more and more difficult to control the poop, and that's when it happened. Little Turdy made a run for the edge and I reached over, picked him up, and moved him inland to safety.

Everyone screamed, and then gasped as I put Turdy down on the desk. "Wow, Eliza is such a strong woman." "Ew, I can't believe she picked it up! She's stronger than me." "Wow, maybe it's because she's a foreigner." When gym sensei came back they all told him of my feat and he wailed again at how gross that thing is and how on earth could I bring myself to pick it up. I must be really strong. (It's ONLY a caterpillar for crying out loud.)

Turdy is now living in a bottle in the teachers room. We feed him leaves and give him water, and whenever someone feels like it, they pick up the bottle and torture gym sensei some more. But as a result of my picking up the caterpillar they have started to bring my other creatures to see if I will pick them up and handle them too. Today, I received a small black lizard. It was actually pretty cute. The same wailing of disbelief ensued as I let the little guy run around my hands.

I don't understand how people in a country that used to think ritual suicide was a really great way to defend your honor could be afraid of a little lizard and a turd like caterpillar. It's just kind of silly.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sports Day Part One: Rehearsal

The Japanese school year begins in April, so when the children returned to classes on September first they were already half way through their school year. It didn’t seem like much of a break for them, because during vacation they still had homework to complete and they had club activities almost every day at school anyway. Japan doesn’t seem to really believe in a true vacation.
The start of school also meant the start of regular Sports Day practice. Sports day is a national holiday in Japan. It happens during Silver Week, which is a week that has a few other national holidays like Respect for the Elderly Day and so on. The point is it is nationally required time off for the over worked salary men of Japan.
Sports day, however, is not a day of rest for the youth of Japan. In fact it is something that requires copious preparation. Upon the students’ return to school I was informed that starting that week we would be having Sports Day preparation, so we would have a special teaching schedule for a while. A normal day consists of six, 45 minute classes. Instead we would have four 45 minute classes and the last two periods would be used for practice from the first week of September to the third. Furthermore, I would need to buy a track suit for sports day itself and the last week of preparation for our two all day sports day practices, in which two school days would be dedicated to a full dress rehearsal of sports day and a second day would be all day practice and the setting up of the field for the event itself.
Of course, I was not immediately informed of all this, and so one day all of a sudden everyone just disappeared from the teacher’s room. I turned to my Vice Principle and asked her where everyone when. She told me that the students were having dance practice and the teachers were helping run the practice. All the female teachers had gone to the gym to help the girls with their dance. Then she says to me, “Maybe you don’t have to go because you can’t really understand what is happening.”
Now, if I had never been to Japan before I would accept this at face value. They were letting me off the hook because I wasn’t here in the previous semester when they organized the dance so I don’t know what they are doing. Furthermore, even if I DID know, I’m not really supposed to use Japanese on the students and telling them what to do in English would just be painful. This is a super reasonable idea. BUT, because I have lived here before, I knew that the use of the word MAYBE means that they aren’t saying what they really mean.
In this case “maybe you don’t need to go” is Japanese for “You should go because it shows the teachers and the students that you are a team player and you want to really be a part of our school, and frankly, it’s just expected of everyone to go.” So after my vice principal said “maybe” I replied, “But, it would be better if I do, right?” At last I got the direct answer of “yes”.
Since that first day, I must have seen that dance at LEAST 100 times. For the Japanese, if you are going to do something, it is better to do it right, and if you can, it is even better to do it perfectly. When the boys and girls were not practicing their respective dances separately they were out on the field together learning to march. When they weren’t marching they were running from point to point in different formations, prompted by a whistle. March, march, march, run, run, run , all in the blaring shadeless heat for two hours every day.
I think the worst part of it all is I COULD understand what was going on. Previous to sports day, the month I had spent in the teachers room had given me the impression that my teachers all super sweet. But put them in charge of large groups of children, and a few of them in particular turn in to super strict monsters. Three in particular were just outright mean. A kid would be slightly out of line with his row and it would earn him or her a savage yelling at in some of the rudest Japanese I’ve ever heard, ever.
When it was class time there would still be sports practice during their gym periods. Other things were practiced during that block of time. Teachers who didn’t have classes had their free periods assigned to standing outside more in the blistering heat, overseeing the gym practices. I was mercifully spared this duty. They just didn’t even put my name on the schedule.
So what was my duty in all of this? All I had to do was stand at the side of the field and watch. In that blaring Japanese sun I would burn in about 15 minutes, so I began brining sun block to school. Even so, during longer practices I still managed to get a little singed, so I began shamelessly standing in the shade. No one seemed allowed to sit down, so I stood, and watched, stood and watched and stood and watched. Occasionally I would sidle over to one my equally bored looking English teachers and they would complain about how those three vicious teachers were way too strict with the kids, but don’t say anything because it’s a secret.
The whole school became fully engulfed in this physical activity celebration. Children ceased to wear their school uniforms and wore their gym uniforms to school instead. Teachers gave up wearing real clothes to school and changing into sportswear and just came wearing their track suits. Kids and teachers all became tanner and tanner after hours of vigorous practice outdoors. And then one day, they went too far. (as if they hadn’t already)
I was sitting at my desk putting nametags together when I heard a crack. I looked up and out the window to see children running around the freshly laden track outside to the cheers of other students sitting at the sidelines. “No.” I thought to myself, “No it couldn’t be, that would just be too crazy.” I turned to my English sensei and asked “Are they practicing the relay races?” Sure enough they were. They were actually practicing the relay races during class time. I guess if you want to do something perfectly, you have to practice.
Our full day rehearsal came and went. The day before Sports Day was upon us and the students had just finished their last set of practice. They were called over for their inspirational speech from the gym teacher running the event. He would give them a talk and then they would rake the field and lay fresh lines down for the morrow.
He began (in Japanese of course), “How many of you thing you’ve tried your best?” Almost every hand went up, and frankly I agreed with their assessment. “Oh no. Here it comes.” I thought.
“You may think you’ve tried your hardest, but I don’t think you have. Your marching really isn’t energetic enough and you don’t run to your positions fast enough.” Etc etc etc. And then he drew some comparison to the famous Japanese baseball player, Ichiro, who apparently always gave 100% and sent them on their way to set up the field for the next day.

Spiders Continued

I’ve never really liked spiders. They are creepy, gross and just well….ug. But, I can handle American spiders for the most part, and the ones I can’t I can easily vacuum away. In short, I did not live in fear of spiders the way I do now.
I always knew I had an illogical fear of spiders but I never realized how bad it actually was until I was forced to face the creepy crawlies on an everyday up close and personal basis. It became most obvious to me how deep this fear ran on a Sunday evening when I was invited to one of the other English teacher’s apartments for an evening of junk food and movies. My apartment building has an elevator that stops at the first, fourth and seventh floors, but for whatever reason hers did not……and she lives on the top floor. That meant there were seven flights of insects between me and a pleasant evening.
I got to the apartment building and started up the stairs. The spiders were in mass, but most were overhead, and a constant ducking position was all that was needed to avoid a collision course with their webs. I rounded the corner to start up the 5th flight and came face to face with six or seven spiders who had built their webs across one of the apartment entrances and directly across the main stairwell path.
I could have slipped by the webs by scooting sideways around them, but it would be a close call, and failure would earn me a vicious attack by five or six writhing, wriggling, potentially deadly spiders. Okay, they probably weren’t deadly, but they sure look it.
Face to face with my enemy, I stared them down for maybe a full five minutes, broke into a cold sweat, clenched my fists and turned around and went home. I walked back breathing heavily and started to loosen up the muscles I had worked into a serious knot of stress just thinking about braving the spiders.
At home I picked up the phone and called the girl I was supposed to visit. “Tina, I can’t get to your place. There are too many spiders and they are blocking the stairs.” The response I got was a fit of laughter from the other end. Not really what I was looking for. “Well knock them down with something then. Use an umbrella or a broom.” “Oh, okay”, I replied. Right, like I can just knock down an army of killer monster spiders. Piece ‘o’ cake.
After hanging up I probably sat on the couch for a full 20 minutes working myself into a tiz over how on earth I was going to get by those spiders. I didn’t have a broom, and an umbrella was certainly not long enough to risk it. Plus I’d have to clean them off, I couldn’t just smash them with the umbrella.
I forced myself to get off the couch and I made my way back through to stairwell and reached the nest of creepy crawlies. Have any of you seen the movie Entrapment with Catharine Zita Jones? She is trained by Sean Connery to acrobat and bend her way through this impossible web of laser beams so they can steal something really awesome. Well I felt like her. I observed the near invisible webs, changing my angle to use the light like these super thieves would use an aerosol can to detect their obstruction. Then I bent and slid past those menacing spider’s webs like I was Catharine Zita Jones. Once I got past, I booked it up those stairs. Thankfully I had past the worst of the spiders and I reached my friend’s door safely. Once there I pounded on the door and entered hyperventilating, soaked in sweat and tears welling up in my eyes. They took one look at me and burst into laughter. “We didn’t think you were going to make it!”
Needless to say, after our movie I made someone walk in front of me so they could knock the spiders down and I could wait at a safe distance.