The Year: 1999
The Place: Lakeland, Florida
The Scene: A group of college sophomores set out for a fun evening of dancing at Bongos in Downtown Disney
It was a beautiful fall evening in Florida and as we head toward my 95 Nissan Altima my friend Vasti asked if she could drive. I gladly handed her the keys and hopped in the passenger seat. Since the weather was so nice we opted to ride with the windows down and the sunroof open. I pop my Ricky Martin CD into the player and we headed toward Orlando to dance the night away at Bongo Cuban Cafe in Downtown Disney.
Just a few stoplights away from I-95 the girls in the back seat scream, “SPIDER!” Being the fearless one in the group I turn around expecting to see a tiny spider that I will have to kill. However, when I turn around I see the largest spider I’ve ever seen. It had just crawled in the back window and was now on the ceiling of the car headed in my direction.
Now there are 4 hysterical girls screaming and totally freaking out. Our red light turns green and the cars behind us are honking and trying to figure out why we are screaming and flailing about. Just then the spider runs toward me and positions himself on the ceiling between my open window and the open sunroof. I bravely, attempt to swat it out the window only to have it fall directly on me. IT FELL ON ME! I fling the door open and attempt to jump out of the car into the on coming traffic, which luckily was slowing down for the light had once again turned red. Unfortunately, I’m a law abiding citizen and wear my seat belt so my attempt to immediately leave the car was thwarted by my safety belt. After fumbling with the seat belt I finally exit the car along with the 2 girls from the back seat. Vasti, the driver, remains in the car uncertain of what she should do as our stoplight has one again turned green. She decides to make the light and pull into the McDonalds parking lot on the corner. We, however, decide to walk across the street to meet her.
This is not the actual spider but it looked a lot like this guy
Once in the parking lot she quickly exits the car to join us outside of the car where it is safe. After much warranted freaking out we all catch our breath and try to decide the best plan of action. We search the car, in the dark, for the giant beast and can’t seem to find it. We discuss weather or not he fell out when I jumped out of the car or if he was just well hidden within the depths of the car. We all agree that he must have fallen out and decide to bravely get back in the car and continue with our night as planned.
Just as Vasti is getting into the car Mr. Spider dramatically makes is appearance from underneath the steering wheel column. *Insert more screaming! Standing helpless in the McDonalds parking lot (this was in the days before everyone had cell phones) we jokingly make pleads with the Drive Thru patrons to save 4 helpless college girls. Surprisingly a gentleman pulls around to ask if we need any help. Of course, we are a bit skeptical of this stranger but know that we need someone to help us evict this spider from my car. It turns out he was a nice dad (ND) taking his kids to McDonalds for a late night treat.
We explain our situation to ND and he agrees to help us find Mr. Spider. He opens his trunk to find a “weapon” with which to kill the spider, he chooses his wife’s shoulder pads?! Apparently, he thinks we are exaggerating the size of this sucker. He searches all around the interior of the car and just as he’s proclaiming the spider must be gone it reemerges from behind the driver seat. ND jumps back and yells, “that sucker’s huge!” He grabs my MagLite and attempts to hit the spider but it’s too quick and runs into Vasti’s purse. He then begins to beat her bag with the MagLite and she cries out, “not my bag! not my camera!” But the clever spider exits the bag and jumps onto the door and then moves outside the car. We quickly close the doors as the spider heads under the car. A few moments later the spider HOPS out from under the rear of the car and DH steps on and kills the spider. (As he steps on it he slips and almost falls into the spider guts) Cheers all around for ND.
After rescuing my purse I took this quick pic of the final minutes before the spider died.
We assure the kids that their father is a genuine hero and repeatedly thank ND for killing our spider. After a few moments we decide to get back in the car and continue with our plans to dance. Understandably, Vasti decided to relinquish her duties as driver to me. We safely made it to Bongo without incident but every time the keys brushed my knees I flinched.
We made it safely to Bongos and had a great time!