I was attacked by a spider this morning. Again.

I went out of the porch to smoke a cigarette, and a skinny pale spider bigger around than a quarter dropped on my forearm and started running up to my shoulder. I knocked him off before I even realized what it was, thank goodness.

They’re out to get me.

When I was younger and exploring New Age, I learned that the spider is one of my totem animals. Apparently the appearance of spiders is supposed to remind me to indulge my creative side.

Since I live in rural North Carolina, I get lots of reminders. Which really freaks me out, since spiders scare the bejeezus out of me.

I have a theory. I think spiders look out for each other, like a mob family or a backwoods clan. Kill one, and you’ll never be safe again. His cousins and allied family members will be after you forever, stalking and slyly attacking until one finally makes the fatal bite. Spiders have shifty eyes.

I was just a kid when I killed the one that started their lifelong quest for revenge. In my defense, it bit me first, the little triangle house spider that somehow got into my shirt and bit me while I was walking out by the barn. But in the tangled web of blood, kin, and revenge, who started what has never mattered to anyone but the person on the defense stand.

Spiders have come after me numerous times over the years. Some of them friggers have been pretty danged big.

I was brushing my teeth one morning while my mom was at church. This would have been back around 1994, I guess, as I was recovering from a wreck. I straightened up and looked in the mirror, and there, right on the front shoulder of my frilly white nightgown, was a huge, bulbous red spider.

I was paralyzed. The thing about spiders is this – if you swat at it and it doesn’t let go, it might bite. Basic wildlife defense – don’t bother it and it won’t bother you.

But I couldn’t let it just sit there! It might already be planning to bite me, thwarted so far only by cotton too thick to get its fangs through!

I finally leaned forward so the gown was not laying directly against my skin and swatted downwards. The spider flew off, landed right-side-up, and immediately took refuge in my bedroom shoe. I called my cousin from the cordless phone I had with me. By the time he got there, the spider had disappeared.

But I had watched the whole time and never saw it leave!

Mom swore up and down that I was only hallucinating because of the codeine, and that there were no red spiders. I had never seen one before, but I knew it had been there.

Years later I moved to Charlotte, and guess what built a web from the corner of the garage to the trash can to my side view mirror every damn night?

Yup. A huge, bulbous red spider.They were everywhere around there.

In Asheville, I lived in a rundown old house where spiders came out of the ceiling and descended down the wall next to my bed. Brown ones, with black triangles covering their backs. Not small. A pack of three to five at a time, traveling together.

I found one of them in my bed one day when I pulled the comforter off to change my sheets. I dragged my mattress into the den to sleep in the middle of the floor, where I could see what was coming.

Unfortunately, the spider that lived in the den was a giant. It had long legs with bands of black and brown. The legs arched up and back down, and the body was suspended halfway between the knees and the floor. A true scurrier, that one.

Even Suz, my fearless spider-warring friend, couldn’t take this one on. A truly hilarious story, that deserves more room than I have here – like maybe in a standup comedy act. Lots of misunderstanding, screaming, and running around like a chicken with its head cut off was involved.

Finally, however, Suz hit on the idea of trapping the spider with a wicker wastebasket and letting Heaton take care of it when he got home. After the wastebasket started moving across the floor in the same path the spider had been following, we put a huge dictionary on top of it to make it too heavy to move.

I’ve blocked the rest of that experience out of my memory.

Several months later, however, because I’ve always been able to pick truly wonderful guys, my ex-boyfriend Chris A. chased me around the house with one of those same types of spiders trapped in a large plastic McDonald’s cup. He had turned it upside down over the spider, shoved its legs under (since the leg span was larger around than the bottom of the freaking cup!!!), slid a piece of paper under it, and picked it up to chase me around.

When I finally collapsed into a corner, sobbing, Chris said, “Oh – you really are scared, aren’t you?”

Yes, I have a complex. Allow me one irrational fear.

Oh, and the spider that ran down my arm and across my book last Thursday night as I was laying in bed reading before lights out? A brown one, with a black triangle covering his back.

At my scream, Brad rushed in to save me. The spider had disappeared, but Brad finally was able to kill it when it leapt onto his leg.

Finally, I’ve given them another target. I feel just a tad bit safer.


~ by gypsyjonga on August 4, 2009.

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