Shaken Phobia

I have always been afraid of spiders. They used to fill me with a kind of paralyzed terror. But after moving into our basement suite, I discovered that I’d better get over myself quickly, because we have quite a few of them. I got a lot less scared of the Cellar Spiders very quckly. I can squish even the biggest of those with ease. We call them ‘spindlies’, because they’re skinny and weak and not scary. But the other species scared the hell out of me. Tegeneria Domestica, the House Spider. They’re the ones people usually call Wolf Spiders around here, even though they’re not. They’re dark brown or grey, fast and ugly, and can get very big and hairy and beefy.

I decided to start a campaign to overcome my fear of them. I named the one outside the window Thelonious, the one outside the doorjamb Pepe, and the one in the wall of the house beside us Raoul. When we talk about them, we call them all “Thelonious”. I got a bit used to them, but sudden Thelonious spottings scare the hell out of me. If I have to kill one, my adrenaline goes into overdrive and I start shaking and gasping for air.

Or, I did.

Tonight, as I was idly gabbing with Gen’s mom on the phone, I looked over to see a rather large Thelonious spider running gamely across the living room floor. I leaped back from it and cast about for somethng to squish it with.

But wait: What’s this? Baxter came leaping over to pounce on it. He played with it for a few minutes, batting, cornering, gumming, but the thing was tough. It just kept going. As he was playing, I grabbed a shoe, just in case he got bored and I had to squish it. But the little guy badgered that thing until he broke its back as he flung it against a wall.

The thing that interested me was that as he attacked it, the spider wasn’t scary to me anymore. It was wierd and creepy, but not scary. Because there was a bigger predator (Thousands of times bigger than it) killing it. And that bigger predator purrs in my lap and tries to lie on my neck in the mornings.

That bigger predator, that fanged killing machine, is my cuddly pet. That makes me the baddest-ass badass I know. Sweet.

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