Thursday, July 24, 2008


They say a "phobia" is an irrational fear of something. My fear of spiders is not irrational... they really are out to get me. And no, they're not "just spiders", they are highly intelligent and are conspiring against me, plotting to bring me down.

Lately these little buggers have really hunkered down and I can tell they're getting serious. I think they got really pissed off when I wrote about spiders in my "things that must go" blog entry. Soon after I'd written that they launched a surprise attack that lasted for several days.

Seth and I were lying in bed one night, trying to go to sleep, when I felt a little tickle on my shoulder. 99% of the time when this happens I figure it's just my skin feeling buggy or a strand of hair, so I brushed my shoulder and waited just to make sure it went away. Not only did the tickle not go away, I felt it go back up across my chest... there was something on me! I screamed and grabbed at my chest latching onto something about the size of a large pea. I sat up and threw it off and started brushing off the sheets in a panic. Seth, thinking I was having a bad dream, grabbed me and said "it's OK!" but I was like, "No! There was a bug on me!"

I didn't see whatever had been crawling on me, even after looking around the room the next day, but I knew it would turn up sooner or later. I was no longer safe in my own home and continued to feel as though there were bugs crawling on me throughout the week.

Because of my fear of spiders, my mind is unconsciously on continuous lookout for them. I call it my spider radar, because usually if there is a visible spider in the room, I'll see it. Growing up the rule was that if you saw the spider you had to kill it. This presented a problem for me as I was ALWAYS the one to see them. I came up with multiple inventions to try and kill them from a distance including a telescoping pole with a paper towel on the end, spraying them with strong bathroom cleaner or just plain stomping on them. I WILL NOT simply grab a spider with a tissue and throw it in the trash. I know for a fact that if I do this, the spider will jump on me as I'm about to grab it. Or, as has happened before, I'd squish the spider in a tissue and check to make sure it was dead only to have it start to crawl out after me. My sisters always thought my fear of spiders was funny, so they never helped me out. I'd beg them to kill the spiders for me and they'd tell me to do it myself, which they knew that I always would. I could never just let a spider go, otherwise he'd disappear in the house somewhere and pop up on my towel or something. There is nothing more frightening to me than an escaped spider.

So, a couple nights after the bed bug fiasco I decided to take a nice bath and read before going to bed. After I was done, I dried off and headed back to the bedroom to get dressed for bed. There it was up high on the wall, guarding the closet. I quickly scanned the size of it's body and realized that this little spider was the one that'd run across my chest just a couple days earlier. I stood there frozen in fear, hair bristling on the back of my neck, goosebumps covering my skin from head to toe. Here I was faced with the one spider that I had vowed my revenge on and I was naked and helpless. I couldn't even get into the closet to get dressed first because he was blocking it. If I sprayed him with a strong cleaner, he'd definitely fall behind the large boxes that were directly below him and scurry into the closet to wait for me in a pair of shoes.

I was on the verge of burning the place down when an idea flashed into my head... the vacuum!!! It was genius! My treasured super suction Dyson vacuum with the extra long telescoping wand would demolish this little bastard! I quickly ran down the hall into the living room where the vacuum was ready and waiting. Like lightening I dragged the vacuum down the hall and stopped in front of the bedroom door to get the wand ready. My eyes flashed back to look at the power cord to make sure it was still plugged in... it was... spider here I come! Slowly I pulled the vacuum behind me as I went back into the bedroom... the spider was still in position. I raised the wand up until it was just inches away from his black hairy body and then WHAM! I slammed the power button on and my nemesis was sucked into a dusty whirling grave.

Still skeptical that the spider was dead, I made sure to run the vacuum over the entire apartment sucking up big chunks of dirt that were sure to pummel him on their way into the canister. As a final piece of insurance I emptied the canister into the trash and sprayed down the spoils with the strongest cleaner I had.

Those spiders started to panic when they found out I was moving out of that apartment before they could kill me. On the last day of my move, they sent in the Green Beret. I was doing a last check for small items when I opened the door to the bedroom. There on the end of the bare mattress was a giant wolf spider. He started to hide, but it was too late... he'd been spotted. He had hoped to make a permanent hiding spot out of my bed so he could crawl on me and get me while I was sleeping, but he'd gotten sloppy and now his cover was blown. Immediately my mind turned again to my super spider sucking vacuum. In one fell swoop I had the wand out and my trigger finger slammed down the power button. DIE!!! Up the vacuum he went to join his other buddy in the spider graveyard. Once again I ran the vacuum for several minutes to drain the life out of him and then sprayed the canister contents with a strong cleaner. Take that damn spiders! See you in hell!


Rachel said...

Wow. That's intense. Haven't you ever watched Charlotte's Web? Spiders are our friends!

heidi said...

Oh, poor Karen! I think I'm starting to get how entrenched your arachnophobia really is! Phobias aren't fun... even if we know, with part of our brains, that we're safe... the phobia still has its cold icy grip on our hearts, squeezing 'til we yell "uncle"! And it sounds like you probably would not much enjoy Charlotte's Web--and that your sisters did not help the situation, way back when!

I wonder how it started? Perhaps before you can remember. (One of my student's brothers was super-afraid of spiders, because his mom was... I think the fear can be contagious! I was partly neutral, partly a little nervous around spiders, 'til I started dating Paul. His love for spiders--he quite convincingly declared them our FRIENDS, because they kill the yucky bugs!--won me over. And he's very compassionate towards them. He takes an interest in their little lives and takes them outside if he thinks they'll starve. One large lady spider kept ending up in an abandoned sink downstairs, so, he trapped her under a glass, pushed a piece of paper under her, and took her outside. SHE FOUND HER WAY BACK! So he escorted her to the backyard again. In the end, he had to take her in a car ride, ACROSS THE RIVER, to liberate her! I hope all that didn't creep you out. Just saying... if the fear's contagious, then, I think, the friendliness can be too... and Seth's quite the vanquisher of spiders, so... You're in good hands! But, it's no fun to feel like prey in your own home!)