10: spider season

So, I missed yesterday. I can totally and validly blame daylight savings for that. Oh well.

It’s getting warmer and hasn’t rained much in like a month in these parts, which heralds spider season, aka months of doom and distress. I’m squeamish about buggy things at the best of times, but spiders are fucking terrifying to me. I have some sort of deep primal fear bound up in their very image — the legs are so threatening, somehow. This evening I saw two within twenty minutes both crawling on the same picnic bench I was attempting to study on. One was black and squat and hairy, the other was white and long-legged and sinister, and I couldn’t decide which arachnid physique is more frightening. After the first sighting, I tried to explain my leaping and skittering response to the friend I was with, who commented that Freud, or maybe someone else, she couldn’t remember, said that fear of spiders was linked to fear of sex. We then conducted thoughtful psychosexual analysis of Little Miss Muffet and the Itsy Bitsy Spider and for a little while I was distracted, and thus just fine with the idea of a scary huge spider in my vicinity. Then I saw the second and it was all over — I had to retreat to the marginally safer indoors.

There was another in my bathtub just now and I was paralyzed for almost twenty minutes as I tried to figure out a way to deal with it. One thing I can give spiders credit for is that they really have a way of throwing me into deep almost moral dilemmas which I go through quite creative somersaults to resolve. You see, frightened as I am of the awful beasties, I hate to kill them. Part of this is simply the dislike of being the direct agent of any creature’s death, even one that I intensely dislike. The other half of this reluctance is tied to the fear: I can look at a spider just fine without hysterics, but if it gets close to touching me? Boneshivers. Killing a spider with my own hands demands far too much proximity, which comes with the logical possibility that it will evade the descending tissue or shoe and jump on me in its escape attempt. At my parents house I would usually sic my cats on any spiders, and in the dorm I would sometimes knock on a friend’s door and get them to wield the instrument of death, but even then I was sometimes forced into creating elaborate death traps. The most famous incident, which my parents and certain circles of friends love to bring up from time to time, involved multiple hours of stalking and plotting and trying not to blink, and culminated in me knocking the spider into the bowl of my floorlamp and then pouring a glass of water into the (plugged in, turned on) lamp. I intended to drown the spider — which was just a daddy long leg, not even as awful as some! — but the bulb exploded and it was electrocuted before it had a chance to meet a watery death. I stand by my actions that night as perfectly logical under the irrationalizing pressure of fear. Drowning spiders is really the way to go — you don’t have to come near touching them or deal with the sickening, guilt-inciting crunch of their little bodies beneath your fingers. In this sense, shower spiders are actually the easiest — they can be dealt with by just turning the hot water faucet on full blast. So the last (I hope) spider of the day wasn’t nearly the trauma it could have been, though I did have some trouble knocking it down from the side of the tub into the fatal torrents. But still, three in one day? Is it an omen, or just a taste of what my life will be like for the next indefinite period of time — constant vigilance and the eternal sense of spider legs tickling at my scalp?

I do exaggerate, a bit. My arachnophobia could be much worse. I once read a magazine article written by a woman who was so afraid of spiders that she actually once turned a blowtorch on one even though she was indoors. Set her house on fire, I think. So long as I don’t feel compelled to buy a shotgun just to deal with the arachnids, I feel I remain within the boundaries of a (paradoxical, I know) rational phobia. Perhaps I should consider mastering the slingshot, though. That would be a handy way of dealing with the little bastard who has set up permanent residence in the top left corner of my room.


~ by Not Alice on March 10, 2008.

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