When ignorance really is bliss.

3 Aug

Whenever I travel, I try to read a book set where I’m visiting. Usually I lean toward a novel and supplement it with guided walking tours so I can get a blend of fact and fiction. In preparation for my upcoming trip to Australia, I picked up something I read years ago, a non-fiction travelogue by Bill Bryson called In a Sunburned Country.

I remembered enjoying it (from the comfort of my couch in DC), so I thought it would be a nice primer.


Oh sure, it’s as funny and educational and telling as I remember. The problem? Bryson is fixated on takes great joy in regaling readers with tales of all the dangerous/poisonous creatures that inhabit the land Down Under. As someone who is a bit of an arachnophobe, this is NOT helpful.

(Separately, what does it mean that I’ve managed to weave phobias into EVERY post this week? I’m scaring myself. Is that a phobia too?)

As a result of reading this book, I’ve constructed an elaborate plan to strip my hotel bed and check it for spiders before crawling in at night. And you may call me crazy, but I’ve decided to cover my shoes with shower caps to ensure those little assholes don’t spot my little Size 6’s and think they’ve found their own custom-built bunker for the night.

I realize this sounds ridiculous. I am going to Sydney, not the Amazon. I’m going to stay in a hotel in the business district, not in a tent. Never under-estimate a phobia.

I emailed one of the women I’ll be visiting and asked her to assure me I’m being paranoid. Her response was to send this photo:

Um. I wrote back immediately, assuming she had found it online and attached it simply to pull my leg. NO. She actually TOOK this photo.

Had this been me, the next photo would be of this same car, spewing flames and black smoke. And there would probably be an impressive trail of excrement leading away from it.

Oh, don’t worry: I’ll pack my camera.

11 Responses to “When ignorance really is bliss.”

  1. laurahartson August 3, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    oh god that would freak me out too!

  2. melissasharples August 3, 2011 at 6:42 am #


  3. thesinglecell August 3, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Okay I’m suing your “friend” for putting me through that. PS Autophobia = fear of oneself. You’re effed. But you’ll love Sydney!

    • pithypants August 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      I don’t even know how that qualifies as a spider. Looks like a crab hiding in there!

  4. Ms Mary August 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    That one had me guffawing. Thanks.

  5. skippingstones August 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    That is horrifying! Truly horrifying! And I’m not really afraid of spiders – but that is going too far.

  6. Julio Ibanez August 4, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    I’ve read somewhere that even the platypus has venomous spines in it’s hindlegs. That’s right. EVEN THE MAMMALS ARE POISONOUS!

    But hey, the Australians seem to survive somehow, right?


  7. Danielle August 4, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    I encountered a “wolf spider” in Alabama hiding behind my dorry. The thing was bigger than my hands and had about a hundred baby spiders on its back (lifting feet off ground now). Needless to say I am petrified now.

  8. Doug August 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Ya, well I’m in big trouble! I have arachnophobia & podiaphobia (fear of shoes) – I won’t be visiting Australia anytime soon! LOL

  9. Watching Seasons August 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Yikes! Your fear is contagious!

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