Friday, April 09, 2004

An Arachnophobic's Nightmare... now updated

I have been terrified of spiders ever since I was little. I know, boring phobia, everyone's got it. Go near me with a spider, and I will explode into a deafening scream, but not scream as in silly-girlie-standing-on-a-kitchen-chair-pulling-her-skirt-seams-out-of-reach, but scream as in utter, bone-bleaching, blood-curdling, hair-whitening terror. Serious business. And be warned... I can lose it if someone teases me with a spider. Maze, karate, scratch your eyes out, give you a good thrashing. Take your pick, buddy.


dial 0800-N-O-T-F-U-N-N-Y.

I have no idea why, but that's the way it is.

When I was four, I begged my great aunt, in tears, to remove all spiderwebs from the sheds and the house. She told me it was pointless as they would be there again the next day, I told her I don't care, then she'll have to clean them off the next day, too.

I flinch away from spiderwebs to this day. That sticky stuff is the most horrible feeling.

When I was 9, I emptied a box of legos onto my bed and a HUGE grey spider ran out and scuttled into my sheets!!! I could not find it, but I was in terror for the next few nights.

That same year my family went camping, and they hung up my robe into a branch or something after we went swimming. I wore it and when I took it off on my bed, this HUMONGOUS cross spider (they are the worst, and I actually had to squint when I got a link to that pic... made me physically sick) ran out of it - into my bed!!!

I ran full-face into a spiderweb when I was a kid.

I remember seeing Boy (in the old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies) getting caught up in a big web full of horrid tarantulas when I was 5-ish. Marked me for life.

Or film clips of some strange African tribe ritual involving people and tarantulas. ICK.

When I was about 15 or 16, I talked to a friend on the phone and played with my shoe. My fingers found something strawy and dry, and I absentmindedly fumbled around with it. Eventually my gaze dropped down on it to see what it was. I found something that looked like broken mini-twigs. At closer look, it turned out it was legs. The striped, crushed legs of a cross spider. I didn't have to inspect the lumpy strawy bit to see that it was the dead, dried out body of a pretty big specimen of a cross spider.
Terror, adrenaline rushed through me as recognition hit me, and I dropped the phone in mid-sentence and screamed. At the top of my lungs. I could hear my friend shouting on the other end of the line what the hell was going on. My dad stormed into my room where I sat curled up on the chair, sobbing and screaming hysterically. He was terrified, he thought I had cut my hand off or something. I swear, I could not calm down for another hour. It's like I switch into utter panic mode. And I have no frickin clue why.

I once found out I had slept in the same room, less than a meter away, from a huge wolf spider in the corner. It was as big as my hand. It couldn't have felt worse to find out that the sandwich you have just eaten was rotten and moldy.

Another time in the same year, I sat on my bed as I spotted a spider in a web in the corner of my room.
It moved about a bit. I think there is nothing worse in the world than the creepy look of a scuttling spider.
I saw it twiddle around in the web, and I froze. Literally. I sat on my bed, crying, and I could not move. I never knew what it was like to be petrified until that day.

Today I listened to The Cure's "Lullaby" for the first time since the 80s... and I flashbacked. I dunno who of you remembers the video, but I remember seeing it when I was a kid. Robert Smith was strategically wrapped in cobwebs and then devoured by a giant tarantula. It inhaled him!!!

And today I also "heard" the song properly for the first time.
Dude, it was a blessing I did not understand the lyrics back then.


I just have to mention this, though. When I lived in Texas as a live-in nanny, Cory, one of my littluns, played a prank on me. You gotta know, Texas got some icky spiders. Cross spiders are Germany's version of a poisonous spider, but there is truth to the saying that everything is bigger in Texas. Or more poisonous. They've got Black Widows, Brown Recluses, big wolf spiders and tarantulas. Icky icky.
Cory, Chris and Caitlin were about 4 back then, and were starting to develop a proper sense of humor, which is hella cute in a kid. And they started playing all those pranks on me.
They knew I was mortally afraid of spiders. So one day I walk into my room - and my heart stopped.
On my window pane sat a huge bulgy icky spider. I was so freaked out that I only realised at second glance it was one of those toy rubber spiders of the kids. And then I heard Cory giggle behind me.

Cory, you know you are forgiven. :) I really really treasure that memory. Along with your Barney prank (I still have Barney!) :D But that is another story and shall be told another time.

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