Thursday, July 22, 2010

Irrational Fear

There was a spider in my bathroom this morning. It ruined everything.

For those that aren't aware, I have a terrible fear of spiders. I'm not entirely sure where this comes from, but I have vague memories of a spider crawling across my face during my childhood. I've tried to block that out. It still gives me the creeps.

This fear has deeply rooted itself into my psyche. Those that have read my fiction work might recall the short story "To Kill a Spider" where I spend several pages of prose wrestling with this fear. I have also passed the fear along to one of my favorite characters in my novel ReGifting Ava - Kimmy is petrified of the little menaces.

Technically, I'm arachnophobic. But saying (or typing) that word makes me think of the movie Aranchnophobia... and even though the spiders lose in the end, that shower scene (and the damn LAMP) still scare the bejeezes out of me.

So this spider in the bathroom this morning was cramping my style. I saw it from the shower... it was perched at the tippy top of the wall above the toilet. A toilet I had recently used. Where I was sitting beneath this carnivorous, ravenous (obviously) being. Honestly, I could've been eaten alive. I suddenly felt incredibly vulnerable... standing there, naked in the shower, with this monster only feet away.

I rinsed faster than I ever have in my life and sprinted out of the bathroom. Mike was downstairs feeding Ellie, there would be no quick death for this guy. And I'll be damned if I was gonna climb up on that toilet, face it eye-to-eye and bludgeon it to death (as it deserved). No. I was going to keep an eye on it and go about my routine.

This plan went well, and I was fully dressed and on my way... Until I remembered that I hadn't brushed my teeth yet. Dammit. I stood outside the bathroom and wound my arm around to the sink to grab my toothbrush and toothpaste. The idea of brushing my teeth - just having my mouth open- in the same room as a spider made me cringe. I brushed in my bedroom but I had to rinse in the sink. I crept back into the bathroom, eyes plastered to the unmoving spider (brown, but not a brown recluse... trust me, I've memorized what all the really poisonous ones look like), and tried to act nonchalant while I rinsed. Instead, I felt like the unsuspecting gazelle, visiting his everyday watering hole, not realizing a crocodile is ready to eat him alive. (Do crocodiles eat gazelles? I don't know.) And for the record, it's hard to rinse your mouth in the sink if you're simultaneously trying to look up.

So I survived. I sent Mike to slay the demon spider and then tried to go about the rest of my morning. But I couldn't help feeling just a little like an idiot. A spider? Come on, Steph. Be a woman. Kill the damn thing yourself. What if Ellie was in danger?

Ok, I guess if Ellie were being threatened by the know, at fang point or something, I would definitely kill it. Maybe that unlikely scenario will cure me forever. Until that happens, however, I will continue to hit the panic button every time I see 8 legs.

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