I first addressed this theory when I was five or so. My older sister and I were playing on the floor at Grandma’s house. She looked at me and said, rather calmly, “There’s a spider on your leg.”
“Nuh-UH!” I replied. I figured she was just trying to scare me.
“No, there is! There’s a spider on your leg.”
“Really, there’s a spider on your leg!”
Then I turned and looked at my leg, and there was a spider on it. It looked like this:
I know where you live...
I think I must have blacked out or something, because the next thing I knew I was in my Grandma’s arms screaming bloody murder. She tried to reassure me, but what did she know? That spider was out for blood.
Based on this encounter I staunchly avoided all arachnids until second grade. That’s when I found out my friend Sarah LOVED spiders. One autumn day we came across a spider web with a large, but colorful, spider in it.
“LOOK AT THAT PRETTY SPIDER!” Sarah gushed. “Let’s name it ‘Beauty’ and catch grasshoppers for it to eat!”
I was onboard with this plan, as it meant I had an excuse to run far, far away from the spiderweb. All autumn we caught grasshoppers and moths and placed them in the vicinity of Beauty’s web. I slowly developed a cordial relationship with my spider friend. Perhaps some sort of reconciliation could be made
Eventually we were forced inside by sub-zero temperatures. We waited anxiously all winter for the snow to melt, so we could reunite with Beauty. Alas, when that glorious day came, Beauty was nowhere to be found. The peace negotiations came to an abrupt end; I still hated spiders.
My third proof that spiders were not the harmless helpful creatures they claim to be came when I was 13. My parents left my sister and I at home alone one night while they went out with friends. Late in the evening, I wandered into the back of the house to use the bathroom when I saw a giant black spider right next to the bathroom door. It looked like this:
My sister and I ran around in a state of panic screaming, “WHAT DO WE DO???? WHAT DO WE DO??? Finally, we collected ourselves and formulated a plan.
My sister took a large plastic cup and placed it over the spider. I then used masking tape to quickly secure the cup to the carpet. The spider was now sealed in an impenetrable chamber, imprisoned until Mom and Dad got home.
When Mom and Dad got home, we showed them our spider holding cell. But, like the doomed opening of Al Capone’s vault, when Dad removed the masking tape and lifted the cup, the spider was gone.
It’s still out there looking for me.
But now I have a problem (other than my irrational fear of spiders). I stay at home with the children. Sometimes there are spiders around, and since I’m the adult (or at least the oldest), it is up to me to do something about these trespassing arachnids.
Screaming isn’t appropriate - I don’t want to frighten my children.
Touching the spider isn’t appropriate - I might die, and then who will make dinner, WHO?
Lifting the spider into a container to take it outside isn’t appropriate - I’m a klutz, and the spider would probably end up falling in my mouth, where it would get all urban-legendy and lay eggs that would hatch in my sleep and I’d find thousands of tiny spiders crawling all over me. And we can’t have THAT, can we?
No, the only thing I can do is politely greet the spider, and then ... avoid it. Which maybe is what I should’ve been doing all along.