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I have a phobia.  A pretty common phobia, I might admit, but a phobia nonetheless……I have a deathly fear of spiders.  I think it’s a pretty rational fear really.   Let’s face it,  anything that can turn your innerds to goo and suck them out like a strawberry smoothie is just plain creepy!  And all those eyes!  *shudder*.                

 

I am not squeamish really.  I grew up playing with garter snakes and frogs.  I owned a couple of iguana’s.  I love everything reptilian and amphibian but I have issues with insects and arachnids.  6 legs or more and I am just creeped right out. 4 legs or less and we are a-okay.  I love to look at butterflies and bumble bees but they still have six legs so please don’t perch yourself on my shoulder or we are likely to have issues.  But I don’t think my phobia for spiders is without some validation.  I have had a number of run ins with spiders over the years:              

  1. When I was somewhere around 9 years old or so (maybe a little younger) by twin sister loved to torment me by chasing me with Daddy Longlegs (Yes I know they are technically not spiders but they are still creepy nonetheless).  I only started liking her again somewhere around the age of 35… I jest…or do I?
  2. At about 19 years old we had a flood in our family home.  I had taken up residence in the basement bedroom when my brother got married and vacated the most desired room in the house.  Ahhhh, the secretive, private basement bedroom.  If only I had something secretive and private to do in that basement bedroom (which I didn’t – I was terribly uncreative in the whole acting out thing).  After having discovered several “baby” spiders I embarked on a thorough investigation to determine the origin of these tiny little fluid sucking, carnivorous arachnids that you just know aliens must have created and deposited on our planet for the purposes of mental torture. Upon pulling away all the furniture from the wall I discovered, literally, thousands (and I do not exaggerate) of spiders blanketing the baseboards.  Apparently several  mama and daddy spiders had laid eggs which had subsequently hatched.  If this does not bring on a picture of some bad science fiction movie, I don’t know what does!  It still sends shivers down my spine thinking that I had been sleeping amongst all those creepy crawlies.  How many may I have unwittingly swallowed?  I read somewhere that statistics indicate that you have a 1 in 5 chance of unknowingly swallowing a spider in your sleep sometime in your lifetime.  You can well imagine my hysteria at that thought!
  3. Then when I was about 23 and visiting my parents cabin I set up shop in their van for the night, being that there wasn’t enough room in the cabin for me.  Because it was very hot and stifling in the van I had left the windows open.  BIG mistake. In the middle of the night I awoke to the feeling of creepy crawlies all over me.  Yes, you guessed it, spiders.  Spiders in my hair, spiders in my sleeping bag and spiders in my jammies.  That scream you heard 20 some years ago that you have never been able to place?  Well, that was me.
  4. My last significant run in with spiders was when I was living in Vancouver.  I think everybody can agree that spiders in Vancouver are some mutant strain of the ones left here by fear-mongering aliens that have grown to gargantuan size.  I made sure to keep the windows at the back of my basement apartment closed.  There was a woodpile there and I knew for darned sure if I left that window open I would be infested with my worst nightmare (Vancouver windows do not have screens).  However, one day while doing a little business in the bathroom, I turned around to find a black spider behind my toilet bowl.  The body was literally 2 inches long and legs out about 4 inches….OMG.  Really, how the hell do you kill those things?  You can’t pick it off with a kleenex and stepping on it? Out of the question!  Besides I couldn’t even reach it.  I didn’t have any insecticide so I sprayed the thing with bleach until it shrivelled into nothing.  I don’t know where it went after that.  It scurried in behind the vanity never to be seen from again.  Shortly after that while I was in the shower (and blind as a bat at that time – pre-corrective eye surgery) I noticed I had dropped a face cloth at the bottom of the tub.  When I bent over to have a closer look……..yes, you guessed…..SPIDER!  and not just any spider, a Wolf Spider!  I was sharing my morning shower with a wolf spider, ME!!! I’m surprised my neighbours did not call the fire department with the inhuman screech that came out of me.  I was out of the shower in a shot!  Luckily, or unluckily because that is likely how that spider got into my tub in the first place, the shower drain was just a big gaping hole and I was able to use the shower head nozzle to wash it back down into the depths from whence it came!  Be gone with you oh demon of the dark!

   

So, you may be able to now understand my terror of spiders. I have made progress over the years.  Firstly because I have small children who I don’t want to pass my paranoia on to and secondly because I live on an acreage and spiders out here are just part of life.  Until last night I really thought I had made progress in the whole arachnophobia department.  I have been able to pick off the ones that have made their way into the house without the worry of feinting at the thought that the thing might escape my kleenex, crawl up my arm and bite my head off.             

Last night though I discovered the re-emergence of my phobia. While in the midst of trying to get my 3 kids to bed by myself (my husband was off working to pay for my requirement for extensive psychotherapy due spider induced hysteria), I noticed something moving out of the corner of my eye.   I wasn’t entirely sure because the light in my room at night is  not the best but I would have sworn I saw a little black thing dart under the dark recesses of my bedside table and when it comes to spiders you just can’t leave anything to chance.  Regardless of whether my kids were asleep or not I just could not crawl in bed knowing that a vile creature such as that could be lurking so close by.  I pulled all the furniture away from the wall looking for this thing.  I vacuumed the vents and the carpet, I turned the night table upside down (just in case) but could not find it.  I was not to be stopped in my search to discover and pummel this creature from the underworld.  Nope, what if it was hiding just behind the baseboards?  I pulled the baseboards away from the wall (nails and all) to get a better look.  You can imagine the state of my bedroom.  The kids were now awake (thanks to the vacuum).  The furniture in disarray and the baseboards pulled off the walls.  It was a war zone!            

I never did find it.  I vacuumed everything for a second time (can’t be too sure you know), put everything back in place, put the kids back in bed and tried (with some difficulty) to get myself to sleep knowing that there might be a spider somewhere in the vicinity of my bed.  Unless, of course, it never was really there in the first place.           

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