“Um, you have a spider on your shirt,” she said.
“Oh, that’s just fuzz,” I said, about the piece of fuzz I had seen earlier but elected, for whatever reason, not to remove.
“No, I can see it crawling on you.”
Oh yes, there was a spider crawling on me. Not a particularly large one, but not microscopic either. “Hello little guy.” And then, ever so calmly, I flicked it away.
Let me put this in context. Last year, a similar incident happened: I had put on a scarf that had a large spider on it (in fairness, it was actually a really big and hairy spider). I did not notice the tarantula-esque spider until it started crawling up my neck to my jaw, at which point I screamed, swatted the spider to the floor, and stomped on it. A lot. My scream was so loud that the bus driver (I was on a bus) screeched to a halt in the middle of the road and looked back at me to check on me. Perhaps to see if I was still alive because my scream had probably sounded like an axe murderer was chasing me.
Maybe this bike trip changed me more than I once thought. I am definitely calmer about local wildlife crawling on me now. Also, whenever I meet someone from elsewhere in Canada, I can now have an intelligent conversation with them about their place of origin, rather than saying, “I hear it’s nice.”
Additionally, I am far more tolerant of terrible weather. I was working on a tour bus yesterday, when it poured rain. Poured. All day. It wouldn’t be so bad had I been on the inside of the tour bus, but tourists wanted to sit on the top of the open-top tour bus, so I had to be up there as well. Before this trip, I would have been really unhappy, cold, wet, and full of complaints. (One time, a fellow tour guide said that the tourists braving the weather upstairs were troopers. I said, what about me? She said no, I was not a trooper because I was complaining too much. Which I was.) But yesterday, all I could think was, “I’ve had worse.” It wasn’t that cold, I was dressed OK, and I could go home after my shift and take a hot shower and put on warm, dry clothes. Also, I was getting paid for this. Paid poorly, but still paid. Why complain?
I wonder how long these changes will last? In a few months, will I freak out because I find a house centipede? Next year, will I complain for 30 minutes straight because it’s chilly and I didn’t dress appropriately? Probably. But by then I’ll be ready for another trip to increase my tolerance for such inconveniences.