What’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.