Wednesday, September 27, 2006

AJWP vs. arachnophobia

Once upon a time way back when I was 7, my mom noticed a big spider in our house. She picked up a shoe and whacked it, but it didn't die. [Cue horror movie music.] Instead, hundreds of babies swarmed off its back and scattered around the foyer; they went into our shoes and rug and made a beeline for the stairs. I nearly died when I saw that, and I've been freaked out about spiders ever since. They scare the shit out of me, and I go all lightheaded and twitchy when I see them.

A couple of weeks ago, Petunia and I were getting out of the car when she was all, "I've been meaning to tell you that there's a really gorgeous spider in our garden. It has the most beautiful web." I twitched a bit and said, "I don't want to know anything about it," but thought to myself, "AARRGGHH! Ix-nay on the ider-spay discussion, Petunia!" But she kept talking about it, and finally my curiosity was piqued. I screwed up my courage and told her I wanted to see it. Petunia led me over to the corner of the garden right by the compost bin (the very same compost bin I use every day, folks!), and pointed to a GINORMOUS evil-looking yellow and black spider in a web. When I saw it, I could barely breathe. Seriously, I thought I was going to fall down. The fucker is huge and evil and scary and BIG, and it lives right by the compost bin in a gigantic web with fucking ZIGZAGS in it. Once I'd stopped shaking, I vowed not to compost again until it was gone. Petunia told me she'd relocate it, but I couldn't stand the thought of her near it.

But every day since then, I've checked on that fucking spider. It freaks me out, but I need to be sure it hasn't moved and gone into the house and crawled into the pantry or something. It's so scary, but it's better to know where it is. On Friday, one of the kids' dads saw me looking for it, so I showed it to him. "Oh my GOD!" he yelled and jumped backwards. "What is that thing? Is it poisonous?" he asked. And then I had something new to freak about--I hadn't even considered the possibility of poison. "I doubt it," I told him, pretending to be brave, "It's just a big garden spider." But what the fuck do I know?

So I googled "big black and yellow spider" until I found my nemesis, and here's what it turned out to be: an Argiope Aurantia, aka Golden Orb-Weaver. Not poisonous, beautiful web reinforced by zigzags cuz it's so fucking huge, eats insects, yada yada. By this point, the spider hadn't moved for 2 weeks or more, preferring to stay right in the center of its humongous web and eat mummified gnats and shit. I decided to try not to fear it, and also to take a photo of it for posterity's sake.

And so this morning found me outside with my camera some 3 feet from the spider and its hideous web of doom. I managed to get a blurry photo of the damned thing's underbelly, for which you know I used the zoom lens (and also, I could only take a picture of its stomach because looking at its back made me feel faint). However, the kids got all excited when they saw me taking pictures of it and they shook the garden fence, which made the spider drop off its web and run away into my neighbor's yard. Holy shit!!! Now there's a ginormous spider on the loose and it's all my fault! I liked it better in our yard, because at least I knew where it was.

Dear Huge Scary Spider,

Please come back soon. I need to know where you are.



Stupid Blogger won't let me post a photo right now, but I'll add one soon.


Blogger Hashbrown said...

Everyone at work loved your post. You are so freaking funny, A. I love ya. Petunia

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

Oh my God, I know exactly the spider of which you speak. As you know of course, but your readers may not, I was always a baby about spiders too and my dad was always enlisted to kill them, until I had a CERTAIN ROOMMATE at college who was even MORE scared of them than me, and I became The Spider Killer.

Then I somehow ended up with a boyfriend who is also More Scared of Bugs Than Me so I'm still The Spider Killer. And also The Silverfish Killer, the Centipede Killer (another of my nemisis - these creep me out on the same level as gigantic spiders) and the Giant Cockroach From Hell killer. I'll tell that story another time.

Anyway, we had those spiders around our property in PA and they freaked me the fuck out and ONE TIME THERE WAS ONE IN MY ROOM. Holy crap I almost died because before my dad could kill it it RAN AWAY AND HID and I never saw it again. It probably crawled into my stomach while I slept. Oh Jesus they are scary.

You are very brave, Miss AJWP. Very brave indeed.

5:42 PM  
Blogger squasha said...

oh my friggin GOSH. i am a huge baby when it comes to spiders too, and when i saw the picture i totally cringed... the only time i ever hyperventilated was when my dad made me go into our barn to get our lawn mower out. we had HUGE barn spiders all over. i knew they were harmless, but they still freaked me the eff out. if you knew my dad, you'd know that i really had no choice in the matter... i started crying before i even got inside the barn door. and then when i got in, i looked back outside and saw webs EVERYWHERE and promptly started hyperventilating. my dad eventually found me in a soggy puddle of tears outside of the barn, had a smidge of pity on me, and took out the mower for me. but oh my gosh, spiders are my downfall.

and when i went to the bodyworlds exhibit with my teens, a couple of 'em took GREAT pleasure in showing me the black widow spider downstairs. i really didn't think they had a live one-i thought it was a plastic model. so when i realized there was a REAL LIVE one inside the tank, i jumped back and yelped.

all this is to say, i think you have great courage to even attempt to take the picture, and i totally understand your need to know where in the hecky-hoo the spider wandered off to. hopefully it will return to its web very soon!!!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

i'm a Spider Wuss too. i name them all "boris" and try to stay as far away as possible. because they want to bite me. or lay eggs in my hair. or my brain. or some other urban legend.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Clementine said...

Oh no, Squasha! And poor JPP, having to be the brave spider killer for all of us spider-fearers. You were awesome when we were roommates--you just up and killed them without a word to me. You set a great example for Petunia, I tell you what.

Barb, our betta fish is named Boris! It's funny to me that you call all spiders by that name. And PLEASE don't talk about spider eggs to me--that's SO CREEPY! (I always heard that urban legend as spider eggs in your EAR! EWWWWW! I feel faint just thinking about it.)

I'm putting out an APB on that damned spider. It's not back today, and it has a fly all mummied up in its web. Do you think it'll come back soon to eat it? Do spiders know how to find their webs?

2:31 PM  

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