My unreasonable, out-of-proportion-to-reality fear of spiders started when I moved into a little studio in a very woodsy area. I probably kill half a dozen spiders in my house on an average day. Big ones. Little ones. Fat ones. Skinny ones. Spindly ones. Squatty ones. I suppose it’s better than, say, a crocodile infestation, or a plague of locusts or burning hail. They’re small. Ish. I’m bigger than they are. I can squash them like the bugs they are.
Even though I know all of this I always have the same reaction when I see one.
Not a little girly squeal, but a bloodcurdling shriek that would land me the lead role in any number of slasher movies. It’s a totally involuntary reaction and it’s embarrassing.
When the initial panic subsides, I search frantically for an implement of destruction. A shoe, a rolled up magazine. A priceless figurine. It doesn’t matter. The collateral damage is of no concern so long as it dispatches the 8-legged demon to spider purgatory. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Spiders are fast. Really fast. And they can keep running until they’re down to about two legs.
Spiders appear to get into my home via some Hell Mouth portal that opens directly into my bathroom – which is apparently some sort of arachnid day spa destination. They meet with friends for a drink in the bathtub and then like to cozy up for a little nappy-poo in my bath towels. I have learned to carefully shake out all the towels and the shower curtain and peep into the tub before I climb in. Invariably there are those I discover only after I am naked and defenseless.
I am probably the only person I know who keeps a baseball bat in the shower. If that dude from “psycho” ever sneaks up on ME he’s gonna get a very unpleasant surprise.
My phobia has progressed beyond fear of anything that IS a spider to fear of anything that MIGHT be a spider.
I over-react if I see the slightest hint of motion out of the corner of my eye. I’ve hurled my body out of my office chair and to the floor when a light on my modem blinked. I’ve thrown plates of food in the air when a piece of lettuce shifted. If I feel a stray hair brush my neck unexpectedly I start pummeling myself like a spastic. I can only imagine the catastrophe if I were to find a spider in the car with me while driving. I’d like to think I could keep my wits about me, but who am I kidding? They’d be pulling my car out of a ravine on the side of the road and I’d be running down the middle of the highway screaming.
Somewhere, in the spider afterlife, little critters are swapping stories of their demise.
“How’d they get YOU?"
“What about you?”
“I dunno what happened, I was just crawling around in the car and suddenly, CRASH!”
Yeah, well I’m not your chauffeur. Next time just shoot a web out of your butt and let the wind take you where you want to go.