I’ve got a thing about spiders…and when I say “thing”, I mean I don’t like them…at all. I guess you could say I have a bit of arachnophobia. Speaking of, have you ever seen the movie by that name? I just had a mini flashback and it wasn’t pleasant! They billed the movie as a “thrillomedy” – “Eight legs. Two fangs. And an attitude.” I don’t remember much of the “omedy” part of the movie – I just remember those damn spiders scared the shit out of me. If you can handle the creep-factor, you can check out the original trailer here. Go ahead, I’ll wait – it’s only a few minutes (and it will give me a second to pop a Valium to calm my nerves).
Are you back in one piece? Didn’t the shot of the spiders pouring out of the sink drain just make your skin crawl?? Take a deep breath – I’ll join you – it’s hard to get rid of the heebie jeebies once they start.
When we moved into the dream house when I was in second grade, the basement wasn’t finished. My sister and I played down there often, as it was a large, open area; cool in the summer and away from the cold and snow in the winter. However, spiders also loved the basement – probably for the same reasons. While I hated spiders even then, I could always flee the basement if I felt overwhelmed by them. However, that changed in fourth grade, when my sister and I moved to our new bedroom suite…down in the basement.
The bedroom was lovely – two small, individual sleeping areas with cool Dutch doors that opened into a larger, shared common area that had built-in desks and bookshelves. In that common area, there was one window that opened into a deep window well…and that was where the spiders loved to congregate. We never opened the window and rarely parted the heavy velvety drapes that covered the window (because there wasn’t really anything to see…except for gravel and spider webs), but that didn’t keep the occasional spider from finding their way into our bedroom.
Several times, I would be at my desk, listening to music as I did my homework and, as I reached for a different pencil, I would see movement out of the corner of my eye. It would always be a small spider with HUGE legs – what we called a “daddy long legs” (but also known as a cellar spider or Pholcids). Those damn spiders were in MY house…in MY territory…but I was too terrified to smash them with a shoe, let alone grab a tissue and dispose of them in the toilet. I totally bought into the myth that these particular spiders were more poisonous than a black widow and while the same myth said they could not bite a human, I wasn’t taking any chances!
I got into the habit of keeping a stash of empty water glasses on my desk, and when a spider had the audacity to make itself known, I would quickly grab one and invert it, trapping the spider underneath. There they spider would stay. Each day, I would peek through the glass, checking to make sure the spider was still there and if it was still alive (and therefore a threat). It took weeks and occasionally MONTHS for those spiders to die! It wasn’t until they had dried out and their legs had curled up that I felt safe in knocking them into the trash can with a pen or a piece of paper.
Sound cruel? Yes – it was, and I knew it. I didn’t LIKE killing the spiders in that fashion, but I couldn’t fathom any other method of dealing with them. My conscious bothered me…to the extent that I had horrible nightmares of the spiders’ families and friends banding together and storming the basement to take their venomous revenge on me. Even as a teenager, when I knew it was irrational, I still had thoughts that spiders were out of get me, for very personal reasons.
While I no longer think that spiders are organizing to take me out, I still don’t have a very good relationship with arachnids. When I see one, I usually holler for Doc or my son to deal with the situation. If I happen to be alone, I reluctantly grab a shoe and take a whack or two, usually letting out a high-pitched scream or two in the process. I don’t advocate arachnocide as a rule – I’m a believer in the concept of “all God’s creatures” and that sort of thing. But there is just something about those tiny, leggy, fanged bodies that sets me on edge. After the deed is done, so I don’t have to touch the body of the beast, I grab one of my cats and try to convince them that spider-bits are a delicious treat…but they usually don’t buy it unless the body is still twitching