In which Deb Kristina gets over her fear of spiders (no she doesn’t)

liarscoverthumbnailWhat’s to fear about a spider, really? They’re small (mostly) and not really aggressive. I mean really, have you ever been charged by a spider? (If you have, I don’t want to know about it, and Deb Eve, I’m talking to you, here…) If nothing else, I’m pretty sure I can outrun a spider.

But all those legs! And they skitter! Oooh, how they skitter. I can almost tolerate a non-moving spider but when it starts to move my hysteria-meter tips into red. And you don’t want to be anywhere near me if I perchance to walk through a web. I will scream and start hurling myself about, flailing all my limbs in an effort to get that stuff off me, while also wondering: where is the actual spider? Is it in my hair? DEAR GOD IS IT ON MY SKIN?

Here are my top three spider trauma memories:

1) As kids, our bikes were stored in a backyard shed which was apparently the favorite location for spider hoe-downs. I would hold my breath, jump into the dark, spidery shed, extract my bike, then throw it on the ground to hopefully jar loose any spiders. Then I would gingerly pick it up by the handlebars and inspect it very, very carefully, using long sticks to remove any bits of web. If I had to extract an actual spider, I would do so, with the stick, but I would usually scream in the process. At least once I remember an overlooked spider dropping from my handlebars onto my knee while I was riding. I got a pretty good road rash when I shrieked like a banshee and fell over.

Gosh, I must have really loved riding that damn bike.

2) I visited my friend’s family cottage out in the wilds of northeastern Michigan. A great place, a good time, only the spiders love to colonize your car while you’re splashing in the lake. My friend always takes her car through a car wash when she leaves, just to be sure. I neglected to do this, and one day a spider came ambling out from my ventilation system somehow and strolled across my windshield at eye level. While I was driving on a highway. I was nearly an arachnid-related road fatality.

3) I actually learned to endure the relative near presence of spiders for the sake of camping. I know, given stories one and two, that’s astounding. But I love a good campfire. One day, out collecting firewood, my husband and I found this excellent 12-foot long dead tree. I rolled it over with my foot before picking it up, checking it for slugs. (Not as scary, but gross). I deemed it slug free, but damned if those spiders don’t have good camoflauge. I found it as we were walking, shrieked and dropped my end, which didn’t make Bruce too happy, considering he was carrying his end up on his shoulder.

You’d all be proud of me, though. The other day a spider cruised across the bathroom mirror, scaring my oldest. (I tried not to pass on my fear to him. Alas.) Despite a severe case of the willies, plus some mild heebie-jeebies, I squished it and flushed it.

Hey, anything for my kids.

15 Replies to “In which Deb Kristina gets over her fear of spiders (no she doesn’t)”

  1. Thanks for the memories Kristina. I do remember the screams of “terror” whenever you spotted the little critters. Growing up on a farm as I did I could never understand your fear of something so tiny, even though you were sure they weren’t tiny at all. The shed still contains your beloved “friends” and I think of you each time I see one. I do wonder, do you still check your bike before you ride?

  2. Gosh, that sounds just like me. lol. I hate spiders. I think more than snakes to tell you the truth. Although they are both about the same. I do the same thing when I walk threw a web or if I see a spider. lol. Wonder how silly I look..
    I am new to this blog just dropping in to say Hi and that you are not the only one out there! lol

  3. Hi Trish and welcome to the Ball! We should start a support group.

    Hi Mom! Although our garage doesn’t have near as many spiders as that shed (gives me a shudder just to think of it) yes, I do give my bike a once-over before mounting up. Also, the little red wagon when one of the kids wants to play with it. And did you know spiders like to hide in sand toys in the sandbox?

  4. I live in Spider, USA. But we have GREAT reasons to be afraid of spiders. We have black widows and brown recluses and even some tarantulas. My mom was bitten by a brown recluse, and the wound wouldn’t heal for almost a year. I HATE spiders. My husband thinks I’m a baby, but he’s English and has no concept of poisonous spiders. Just doesn’t compute.

  5. Kris,

    When we moved to our new house out in the relative wilds(compared to our previous city living) of Pittsburgh’s North Hills I was very displease to find that it appears to be in an area inhabited by some very large brown colored spiders. I don’t know what a brown recluse looks like, but I was not happy. One on them was big enough it made an audible “squish” when it met its demise under foot.

    (I’m guess you and Bruce will never come down for a visit now, lol)

    Fortunately, they have yet to make a reappearance this year, but I have a nice fat copy of ESPN Magazine ready and waiting to be rolled up for home defense.


  6. Don’t you guys know it’s considered bad luck to kill a spider? Fear not, Kris, I was never “charged” by a spider (Killer African Ants, yes. Spiders the size of my entire hand, no, probably since when you see a spider the size of your entire hand – I am NOT kidding. And yes, I have the video to prove it! – you just back away, eyes averted, very, very slowly …)

    St. John WAS bitten by a scorpion when he lived in Burkina Faso. And even now, he says it was “excruciating pain.” And then of course, there was my run-in with the Portuguese Man-O-War … talk about EXCRUCIATING PAIN!

  7. Kris:

    My arachnophobia began in the cradle … during the Blitz, which will tell you I’m older than dirt, but still an infant when it comes to spiders. In 1940, London was being bombed nightly. My dad set up a makeshift shelter in our concrete garage which was built into the side of a slope and offered the best protection at that point. This is where we slept … until my mother discovered spiders the size of Brillo pads. She snatched me out of my crib and ran back into the house, declaring she’d rather face Hitler’s bombs than spiders. I feel exactly the same way.

    A study has shown that phobias such as this are based in how an animal moves. The winding wiggle of a snake, the skittering of a spider, the undulating movement of whale and dolphin that some guy was traumatized by, never mind he was unlikely to wander across Flipper’s path. He apparently couldn’t watch movies of them.

    For me, it’s definitely the way a spider moves. Eight legs propel a critter differently than do six legs. I have no problems with beetles, even cockroaches. I’ll pick ’em all up with a tissue and chuck ’em down the loo, but a spider? No way. I had a huge wolf spider in my sink last summer that was rattling spoons and cups … had to call my neighbor’s husband in to remove it while I remained firmly outside waiting for the all clear.

    Phobias can be crippling. I live in fear of finding a spider in my bed, and I even have a small, but powerful vacuum cleaner in my bedroom that I only use for sucking up the spiders that seem to love living there. After the spider gets whizzed down the vacuum tube, I follow up with spider spray to make sure it’s well and truly dead. Don’t want the little buggers living inside the canister, breeding, and planning their next attack.

  8. OK, blogging about this was clearly a tactical error on my part. What was I thinking? I’m sitting here getting goosebumps and yes, more heebie jeebies, reading about all this.

    Yikes Tiffany, and I haven’t even pondered actual spider bites. I’m afraid of them just on sight! I’m not sure we get the poisonous ones in Michigan, maybe it’s too cold. One of the only blessings of our climate is the bugs are smaller.

    Mike, an audible squish? You’re killing me, here…

    Eve, I knew you were going to creep me out! I just knew it! And oh yes, I’d forgotten about the Man O’War. Another benefit of Michigan: the lake wildlife isn’t so scary and poisonous.

    Mags…I KNOW! It’s the way they move. Bleahhh….

  9. Kris, as long as your next topic isn’t snakes its all good. While I’m sitting here writing this at work I just noticed a small black 8 legged critter on my wall..the spiders are clerly out to get us. OK, gotta go take car of this one before he becomes a large 8 legged critter..if I’m not back in an hour, call the SWAT team!

  10. Ooh, Mom Riggle is here! Yay!

    Kris, a few living situations ago, we were in a rented condo that was butted up to the garden at the front of the building. Consequently, we always had spiders around. (Usually during dinner parties, when one of our guests would shriek, “What’s THAT?” and we’d all turn to see a giant spider crawling across the white carpet… no doubt thinking his dinner party invitation had gotten lost in the mail.)

    But the WORST was the time I put on a pair of jeans and thought, “Oh, there’s some loose thread in these jeans.” And then I stopped. And grabbed the thread through the jeans. And took the jeans off. And a spider fell out. I had squished him, so he was curled up–even curled up, he was the size of a quarter.

    So I screamed my bloody head off and sat around sans pants for the rest of the day. And as long as we lived there, I would iron my pants, inside and out, before I’d put them on.

  11. Larramie, I’m sure they are, but more in the: “AAAAH! LOOK AT THE GIANT THING SCREAMING AND SQUISHING ME!” sense. Not so much a phobia as a legitimate fear…

    Mike, you haven’t reported back yet, SWAT is on the way.

    Katie: OH. MY. GOD.
    At least you had nicely pressed pants.

    I knew this topic would draw out my mom…

  12. What a great topic. Me, I am terrified of snakes. Ugh. If I see one anywhere, I will start to cry. Really, I can’t overemphasize that.

    Spiders? They don’t bother me at all. I can kill them with my thumb on the kitchen table while you sit there and watch me.

    I wonder if I was in The Shining.


  13. I always though I wasn’t afraid of spiders because we had so many daddy long legs in the house when I was a kid. I really appreciate that they eat bugs, so I usually trap them with a glass and escort them outside. Doesn’t mean that I would enjoy having one in my hair, though!

  14. I’m pleased to report the spider is no more. He was just a little one, but all the better to get him before he got bigger. Cancel the SWAT team.

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