It never fails. I’ll be going about my day, minding my business, when out of nowhere, my heart leaps into my throat and my scream can be heard for miles. I’ve encountered a spider.
Spiders of any kind or size never fail to make my skin crawl. I am afraid of them because of their scary appearance and the fact that they bite. I don’t care that they are allegedly more afraid of me than I am of them, or what their reasons for biting are. Even the dead ones, typically victims of Bella’s late-night play sessions, send me reeling. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I have arachnophobia, as the fear doesn’t affect my ability to function in life, and I certainly don’t feel it is irrational in the least. I could have really done without the knowledge that “you’re never more than six (or whatever) feet away from a spider,” too.
I am a die-hard animal lover,
and will never kill any living creature unless it’s a “them or me” situation. I can’t even handle knowing my husband sets mouse traps in the basement. The only way he has successfully appeased my anger at these planned kills was by reminding me that mice chew wires, which could ultimately lead to a house fire. A fire that would harm my Bella. I still refuse to participate in his pest control, and we have an understanding that I am to be left “in the dark” about any catches. Anyway, despite warnings of “they will come back inside, I pick spiders up with a tissue and put them outside, or supervise my husband as he rescues me from having to do it.
I’ve had a lot of spider scares in my life, but in the past four months, I’ve had two major events that I’m fairly certain I aged a year or two from.
During my drive home from work one sunny afternoon in May, I was pulling out of a parking lot when I reached for my Iphone earbuds just in time to see a giant, FAT, and juicy (yes…he really was) brown spider crawling hurriedly up my shoulder towards my neck. My immediate response was to scream loudly (of course) and fling him off of me and across the car. I pulled over to the side of the road to perform a search and expel, which ended in defeat. The rest of my drive home was spent nervously wondering where he went, jumping at the slightest skin sensation. My husband reassured me that, with the hot weather, the spider would make its way out of my car quickly.
The next day, my sister and I were out shopping, and she did a good job messing with me about the spider, telling me he was still in my car, and went as far as to place strands of her own hair on my arm as I drove, causing me to jump and scream at the fear of my returned creepy friend. As we returned to my car after visiting one store, she opened my back passenger door to put her bag in and suddenly screamed. Twice. “Come look!” she yelled, and I quickly moved to the side of my car to see what the fuss was all about. This is what we saw, and what she nearly put her face into as she leaned into my car.
Clearly the spider not only hadn’t crawled out of my car, but had moved in, and was planning on staying awhile. Needless to say, the rest of the time spent in my car was spent on edge, and my sister, who is ever more fearful of spiders than I am, was not pleased. I must say, I enjoyed this given the torment she had provided me earlier. My husband told me to leave the web there so we could catch the spider when it came to feed, but it was too late. We had already torn down the web. Darn. I hadn’t thought of that.
Later on that evening, my sister and her husband were packing up for their early departure for home the next day. Her husband calls out to me to come to the guest bedroom to see something, and I hear my sister scream again. I rush to see what the commotion is, and look down at the floor where they are pointing. There it was. The big, juicy, brown spider, resting in my sister’s flipflop. My brother-in-law asks “is this the spider you were talking about?”
I was elated that the spider had been located, and he was promptly thrown outside. As for my sister, she was traumatized that the spider had been in her shoe, for who knows how long of a ride. I feel it was karma’s way of returning her a favor, and really got a kick out of it. Several weeks later, I discovered another web in the back window of my car, but it was clearly from the same spider since it had become more of a cobweb at that point. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
My other experience wasn’t as close a call, but still disturbing. I was on one of my early morning runs while vacationing in Mexico when I saw a fist-sized black pile on the road up ahead. Upon closing in on this form, I realized it was something I had never seen (and hope to never again see). A TARANTULA was lying on the road, not moving. A huge, black and orange, hairy, wicked-looking tarantula. I squealed and put on the brakes, immediately fleeing in the opposite direction. My heart was pounding the entire time, and I couldn’t help but look back occasionally to make sure I wasn’t being followed (hey, you never know). While I loved visiting Mexico, I am so glad I don’t live in an environment where these creatures frequent. I don’t know that my heart could bear regular encounters like that.
I still cringe at the memories of my younger sister’s pet tarantula. She would allow it to crawl all over her, and didn’t seem to care that it would bite her at times. She thought it was funny to put it under the bathroom door while I showered, but that stopped quickly when I threatened to stomp it. One night, despite my warning that she needed to put the spider away, she fell asleep in the living room chair, spider resting on her face (EW!). Apparently, it went for its last exploration that ended when my dad came home late and stepped on it.
I have some rituals I use to help ease my mind. Monkey balls placed around the house (aka fruit from the Sweet Gum tree) have seemed to keep them away all winter, but they returned in the spring. Every night before I crawl into bed, I flip the comforter back to ensure there are no bed mates waiting there. I will continue to do this because there have been a few times when there WAS a spider there. My husband makes fun of me sometimes, or complains when Bella leaves, annoyed at the disturbance. He didn’t think it was quite as funny when a spider crawled out from under his pillow one morning, or when he felt a lump in his work boot, discovering the biggest spider he’d ever seen hiding there. We now check our shoes before putting them on.
I strongly feel that spiders need to exist somewhere I don’t, but since I know that’s not going to happen, I deal with the reality we must coexist as best I can. I sincerely hope that concludes my spider experiences for a long time to come. Wishful thinking. Shudder.