Origins of Arachnophobia
I know, they’re so tiny, right? And they are more afraid of me than I am of them, right? Wrong. They terrify me.
It started when I was maybe five or six years old. The memory is burned vividly into my brain. One night, I woke up from a bad dream. Like most kids, I went to my parents for comfort. I padded down the hall in my PJs toward their room. Pushed open their bedroom door. Stepped into the room. But they weren’t in bed. I don’t know what prompted me to look up, but I did. And there they were. Encased in spider silk cocoons over the bed.
Okay yeah, so it was a nightmare. But you tell me what kid wouldn’t be deathly afraid of spiders after that?
Of course, the dream may have been sent to me by Teotihuacan as revenge. I’m told that I ate spiders when I was a toddler. ::shudder::
It’s not just the nightmare though. For most of my life, I’ve had frequent hypnagogic hallucinations. Lately, I’ve been seeing ants, but for a couple of years as a child, it was spiders and spiderwebs. Once in the third or fourth grade, when I headed to bed for the night, I opened my bedroom door to “see” a giant spiderweb spun across the doorframe. I didn’t understand then that it was just a product of my overly-tired brain.
Then there were the babies. Do you know how many baby spiders are in a spiders egg sac? I do.
Ask me how I know this.
Go ahead. Ask.
Because I walked through a spider web with a freshly-hatched egg sac in it.
I didn’t realize there were hundreds of baby spiders. I didn’t even realize there was a web there until after I ran through it. I saw the gossamer thread break away and float down. That’s when I knew I ran through a web.
It wasn’t until about ten or twenty minutes later that I realized there had been baby spiders in the web. When I saw them crawling all over me. Hundreds of them.
Spiders and I do not get along. We live in the country though. With lots of bugs. Boxelder bugs. Asian ladybird beetles. Stink bugs. Gigantic ants. Microscopic ants. Pseudoscorpions. And of course, the state bird. So, I let them live. (As long as they aren’t in my shower or on my body. Then all bets are off.)
She built her web right outside our front door. Since she was outside, and not in my shower, I let her live. We decided to name her Charlotte and got into the habit of saying hello and good-bye to her every time we went through the door.
One day, I got to watch her envenom a fly and wrap it up for later. It was fascinating. I got used to seeing her curled up in the upper left hand corner by our door when I came home from work. I was actually starting to like the old girl. Even started to worry about her comfort with the cooler weather coming. The notion actually crossed my mind to buy a big cage for her and feed her flies over the winter. Insane? Yes. But I didn’t want her to die. This is probably the only spider I’ve ever met that I have actually grown fond of and not wanted to kill on sight.
All Good Things…
This afternoon, the cleaners came. (Impressed that we have housecleaners? Don’t be. It’s because I am a miserable failure as a housewife. I can barely keep the laundry clean, nevermind the entire house. I don’t know what possessed me to want a house bigger than our old condo.) After they left, I went out the front door to pick up the mail. As usual, I looked up and to the right to check on Charlotte.
She’s not there anymore.
Neither is her web.
I think the cleaners killed her.
And oddly, I am very saddened by this.
But I’m glad she didn’t leave any babies behind.