Arachnophobe on the loose
Monday, May 20, 2013 4:42 AM
I did a little research for this topic, in part because I wanted to find some way to validate my opinion. Actually, it's not so much my opinion as it is who I am and what I'm afraid of. Even while typing the keyword into the search bar, I became more tense and wary of my surroundings.
I decided to go to the source of all information: Wikipedia. Directly quoted from the page, "Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization."
Looks like I'll be moving to Antarctica in short order.
I bet you can already see the headlines: Arachnophobic reporter living in fear! or News writer comes clean: Spiders source of paranoia! or Adamek spins stories, swats spiders!
Of course, within any sensationalist storyline, there is a boring one dying to get out. The truth is, I'm not deathly afraid of eight-legged creatures. I just get taken aback by their sudden presence way too often. There is a difference. Trust me.
I can't remember when I started becoming alarmed by spiders. I believe it is an innate fear. For some reason, when my eyes see a live spider, my brain associates the long spindly legs and quick scuttling motions as life threatening, thus necessitating a yelp, cringing and running away.
Scuttling spiders are the worst. These are the ones which you try to squash, but they move too quickly. In fact, as you miss killing them, they go on the offensive and climb up your leg. Spiders that scuttle can out run you and, in a sense, hunt you down. There is no sleeping in a room with spiders having this dexterity. The only relief comes when they are two-dimensional and even that brings tepid assurance.
I've battled with spiders which have refused to die. Just when I thought I had flattened them, they would suddenly pop back into full activity and move even faster than before. It required heroic strength and courage to continue fending them off until I could deliver the final death blow.
I understand my aggrandizing of these episodes is ridiculous. It's interesting how I've managed to cull this trepidation of spiders throughout my entire life without any sign of desensitization. If anything, I'm more jumpy now than ever before. Thankfully, I have many people who sympathize with my anxiety, some real and some not.
In the Harry Potter series, the character of Ron Weasley has arachnophobia. This fear stemmed from his brother turning his teddy bear into a very large spider. Talk about pure terror. References to large, hairy, and scuttling spiders occurred elsewhere in the series. A colony of mutant spiders lived in the depths of a forest next to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If I lived close to something like that, I would get myself expelled immediately.
I don't think Harry Potter contributed to my fear of spiders. Perhaps it came from the random fact I learned in elementary school about humans unknowingly eating seven spiders in their sleep per year.
I've also had nightmares with spiders featured in them. Recently, I dreamed I was sleeping and had woken up to see several large spiders scuttling across the carpet. In reality, I woke up yelling, threw on the light, and made sure they weren't there. I fell back asleep angry at my dreams. But nightmares can happen to anyone about anything so I don't think I can blame them for my fear.
No, I think I gradually built up my fear over many years of spider surprises. There I would be reading a book when I would see something in my peripheries. After jumping out of my seat and becoming an executioner, I would grab a tissue to clean off my book. Killing a spider required brute force. My parents would tell me to just take a tissue, grab the spider, and crush it. However, this action would bring my hand much too close to the spider; the farther removed I was, the safer I felt.
To this day, spiders appear out of nowhere. Whether it is on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, or underneath a pillow, they always know how to turn your stomach to ice and your heart to hammering.
I once had the misfortune of opening a barn door, only to see a spider the size of my hand resting on the other side. It's a fine memory to keep until the next spider surprise scares it clean out of my mind.