It is widely known that I have an acute fear of all things with more than four legs. Some insects (six legs) don’t freak me out, and the occasional slow-moving, extremely fuzzy Caterpillar won’t raise much more than an eye-brow when I spy them inching along. But dude, when it comes to spiders…we’re talking full on, heart thumping panic. The bigger they are, the worse I react.
So of course, I end up with a job that has me spending a lot of time in a space cluttered with various items under and around which you can find all sorts of multi-legged critters setting up housekeeping. I find that I am able to handle most of them because they are rarely moving when I come across them. In fact, there tend to be quite a few with whom I have established an “I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me” deal. They stay in the shadows, I stay in the open space of the warehouse.
But occasionally, you get one whose out for a stroll, perhaps on its way to finding a suitable spot to lay its eggs or something and we cross paths. Yesterday was such a day. I open the door to the warehouse and as I’m taking that first step across the threshold, I see it. A spider of light brown with darker brown or lightly black streaks, maybe two inches from the tip of the front legs to the tip of the back, it sat still perhaps thinking I wouldn’t notice. I couldn’t jump due to my sprained ankle so I instead shuffled awkwardly into the warehouse, letting the door close behind me. I turned and opened the door to confirm I’d seen what I thought I’d saw and of course, it was gone.
That’s when I almost re-injured my ankle. I started to tap dance, making sure that the arachnid in question hadn’t jumped on my foot and was now making its way up my pant leg. It was the pain in my ankle and the small rational voice in my head that told me I was being foolish and to stop this childish nonsense right away. I did, only long enough for me to cross to the side door out of the warehouse to make my exit. Once I calmed down a bit, I went back around the corner to the main door. The spider had made its way up the hallway a bit toward the break room thus relieving any lingering anxiety that it might have hitched a ride on me somehow. Mind you, my skin still crawled and there was that remaining desire to strip of all my clothes and get in a shower immediately, but I held it together.
I spent the rest of my shift tapping my foot, brushing at my legs, and checking under my desk just in case. Sigh, I really hate spiders. I’d like to learn more about which are poisonous and which aren’t but I can’t even see pictures of them without wanting to cry. Seriously, full on tears. Those I come across here in the warehouse range from the spindly legged, small bodied web dwellers to the plump, almost colorful monsters (like the one yesterday) which are big enough for me to see if they have fur or not.
I’ve often wondered if there was some way to get rid of the fear, or at least dampen it down so the mere though of a spider didn’t cause such a strong reaction but I’m afraid it’s going to involve some weird form of therapy in which I have to subject myself to images, or Goddess FORBID, having to actually touch a few….repeatedly until my system overloads and renders the fear moot. Or I die of fright.
Side question – why do those without a fear of bugs think it’s funny to tease and or frighten those of us who have it? I used to work with this one person who, upon discovering my fear, would leave bug carcasses on my desk. Yes, you read that right, they would find the whole carcass of a bug (usually some type of beetle), bring it in to work and leave it on my keyboard or pinned to my cubicle wall. I always reacted with an inward screech of pure terror, quickly followed by a stream of profanity that would have made any self-respecting sailor blush; language so colorful a rainbow would have doubted it’s splendor; words so ‘blue’ they shamed the clear summer skies. Mind you, none of that questionable language left the sanctity of my head. No – my outward reaction was ever so professional. I’d quietly ask one of the guys to remove it, then wipe down my surfaces with a sanitizing wipe. Afterward, I’d carry on with business as usual. On my current job, someone thought it would be funny to attach one of those big spiders you find during Halloween to the gate on the equipment holding cage where all of my inventory was kept. Again, I didn’t freak out, just had someone cut it down for me. Mind you, I was plotting how to disconnect the culprit’s truck breaks without anyone seeing me. I was that pissed off…
Oh well. Did I mention how much I dislike spiders?
Was quietly informed that the arachnid in question was most likely a wolf spider. Let the skin crawling begin…Ugh