How to Get a Tarantula Out of Your Shoe
So you don't think I'm just some loser out of college who learned how to get a tarantula out of a shoe from a text book, now attempting to claim credit for someone else's work let me assure you; I have first hand experience. I experienced face to face the dilemma of what does one do when one finds a tarantula napping in their footwear and feel a responsibility to pass this knowledge on to you.
A brief backstory may be necessary before I divulge the steps required to remove the not so proverbial tarantula from the unproverbial shoe. I flew into Belize on a warm, sunny late afternoon. I don't possess exact details on time, temperature or what I may have eaten on the plane on the way. My apologies. If those kind of details are important or fascinating to you there are myriad bloggers out there who thrive on them and will offer up a bite by bite update on every calorie imbibed. But if it's that important to you let's say I had a bag of peanuts.
I walked out of the airport, duffle bag in hand. Bypassing the rest of the passengers opting for the customary taxi into town I chose the less mainstream walk. I even felt a bit smug as I sauntered past my less adventurous travelers spending the few dollars I was so cleverly saving.
An hour or two later I began to question my decision and wondered just how far it was from the airport into the city. Perhaps a bit of research ahead of time might, I thought, as I meandered distracted through the countryside, have proven useful.
I finally made it into town long hours after dark and slightly sodden from a poor (through the power of hindsight) decision to climb around on the roots of some banyan trees and realized that "Belize City" was not as specific a destination as, say, the Belize Motel might have been. Thus, realizing I had nowhere to go.
Fortunately, as it would turn out, just as I was getting discouraged someone attempted to mug me.
I was walking along a rather questionable street, duffle bag (another poor choice) draped around my neck, when it suddenly went taut like a fishing line which had just hooked an unfortunate PETA member who got a little overly enthusiastic attempting to rescue a fish only to wind up stuffed and mounted upon the proud angler's wall. My head, having narrowly avoided detaching from my body turned to see what I had caught. A knife-wielding assailant suggested a reasonable transaction: my bag in exchange for not impaling me and leaving me for dead in a dumpster. Under normal circumstances this trade might have taken place. Instead the thought that went through my mind was "I just carried this damn bag 20 miles. If you wanted it, you should have mugged me at the airport." Therefore, I suggested a rather different direction for our relationship. I had just walked passed a police officer I lied - but under the circumstances didn't feel too guilty about - so here's what we can do. "I'm listening," said the mugger. But only in a non-verbal way.
"You can try to take my stuff but I am going to fight you and scream like an eight year old girl." (No disrespect intended toward the bravery and fighting prowess of eight year old girls intended. I was regularly beaten up by them myself up until about the age of 14.) "Or," I held out a five dollar bill, "you can take this and we will both get on with the rest of our lives."
He debated his options for a moment before running off with the fiver thus relinquishing any claims to be the proud owner of a couple of pairs of shorts, shirts, and over two dollars and fifty cents in assorted toiletries. Fool.
A short while later I met Sheikh. Our relationship began - as so many do - in an attempt to sell drugs and/or women. The drugs I turned down because I don't do them. The women I elected against because I didn't wish to deal with the headache of attempting to get them back through customs.
Sheikh inquired as to why someone as unimposing as I would be wandering through a foreign ghetto at 2 am. After I concluded telling him about my night he simply looked at me for awhile the way I am sure a scientist looks at a mouse who fails to find the cheese even after the maze has been removed from the equation. He then gives me his professional diagnosis: crazy. And declares us friends. Because when given a choice always befriend crazy as opposed to making them an enemy (Paraphrased slightly). Likewise, when in an unfamiliar city it is always a good idea to befriend the seedy underbelly. Having Sheikh as a friend proved a good thing as he chaperoned me to a hotel and declared me off limits to the rest of the underbelly.
I awakened in the morning upon my small cot and sat up reaching for my shoes to go explore. My hand, however, pulled back as my brain registered the sight of the brown fur sticking out of my shoe which I was certain had not been there previously. I sat back on the cot and watched, horror-struck, as an NBA basketball player hand sized brown arachnid slowly unfurled itself while climbing out of my shoe. I heard the noise from Invasion of the Body Snatchers emit from between my lips as the beast extricated itself from our disputed property and crawl under the cot upon which I sat.
I grabbed my stuff and darted out of the room in as bravely and dignified a way as possible by a man mumbling incoherently and tripping over his own feet while carrying his shoes out in front of him like, . . . well, like a tarantula might crawl out of them at any moment.
Later that day I would get on a bus to San Ignacio beginning one of the most fun and memorable journeys of my life.
So there you have it. There is only way to get a tarantula out of your shoe. Don't be afraid to put yourself in a situation where a tarantula has an opportunity to get in your shoe. After that things will just sort of take care of themselves.