On spiders: arachnophobia and motherhood

I am afraid of spiders.  To be honest, I’m not terribly keen on most bugs–ants freak me out, crickets are not OK, and those crazy pincer bugs can just rot as far as I’m concerned–but spiders are the worst.  I know what you’re thinking.  If you’re also an arachnophobe, you’re thinking, “That’s right, sister!”; if you aren’t bothered by spiders, you’re thinking, “They’re so small, and you’re so big… what’s there to be afraid of?”  I really hate that latter response.  Seriously, all of us are insecure about or afraid of something, sometimes many things, and how helpful is it when someone belittles or invalidates us because of our fears?  Here’s my reality: spiders are evil, and they are always plotting to jump on my face and kill me.  I don’t care if they’re the harmless (to me) kind who eat other spiders or the evil soul-sucking kind.  They’re all bastards, and I’d be happier in a world where they continue to exist (else we’d be overrun with other bugs) but have all been served a 10-foot restraining order against coming in my presence.

Ugh.

Lately, there have been a few too many spiders disregarding that restraining order.  On Tuesday, a big one decided it would be awesome to climb aboard a box that I had to carry out to my car, and I still don’t know if it originated in the box (which came from my boss’ garage) or crawled out from underneath the reception chair in my office.  I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that there are full-grown spiders lurking in the dark corners of my office, but I can’t think about that right now.  On Wednesday, I killed a tiny one on my desk.  It was on my correction tape.  Yesterday afternoon, I killed a tiny one in my car.  It was swinging perilously close to my face, and I’m sure the guy in the car behind me thought I was absolutely nuts when I completely freaked out while going 40 miles per hour up Indian Hill Blvd…  Finally, last night a spider had the audacity to confront me in my own home, crawling along the arm of the sofa on which I was sitting, reading.

That last one is the worst, because I like to think that I’m safe at home, but now I know for certain that I’m not.  I couldn’t kill it.  I couldn’t even turn the light off before I finally crept to my bedroom to lie awake for an hour, in a full but desperately silent panic (I was, frankly, too ashamed to risk waking my husband).  I couldn’t kill it, and now it’s in my house, alive, angry, and very close to the area where my children play. I couldn’t kill it, and I feel like a failure as a mother, because isn’t my concern for my children supposed to overcome my fears?

Anyway, if I were a better person, I’d be more on top of cleaning my house.  Didn’t my mother always teach me that spiders like dark, neglected spaces?  I know this, and I still fail to keep my house clean.  It is my fault both that my children are at risk today because I failed to kill the spider last night and that the spider was even in my house to begin with because I’m a lazy asshole who can’t be bothered to keep a clean house for her children and husband.

I know I’m being unfair, but I’m also being honest.  Spiders suck, but even I cannot attribute to them the blame in the situation.  If I kept a clean car, I wouldn’t have had to deal with a spider dropping down on me while I was driving.  That was my fault.  If I kept a clean house, I wouldn’t have been surprised by that awful couch buddy.  That was my fault, too.  So today is, obviously, one of those bad days.  I really hope I don’t make any mistakes at work… I doubt I’ll be able to respond rationally.