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.

5 Comments to “Shaken Phobia”

  1. By Queen of West Procrastination, May 10, 2006 @ 9:53 am

    We also get Giant House Spiders and wolf spiders (the Giant House Spiders get capitalised) in our basement suite. I still haven’t gotten used to them, especially since they’ve been gone all winter. I hear that the house spiders are territorial and predatory, and actually keep deadlier spiders (like hobo spiders) away. But they creep me out, nonetheless. My husband and I always nickname them “Shelob” (as in the giant spider thing in LOTR). Oh, and Giant House Spiders are also the fastest “real” spider on earth (everyone says it’s sun spiders, but they aren’t real spiders, somehow).

    This is what I’ve learned, since I’ve moved to the West Coast. I wish I wasn’t allergic to cats. But, better spiders than rats. I know people around here who have rats in their basement. I don’t think I could handle that.

  2. By Liz, May 10, 2006 @ 10:08 am

    Having lived with both, I can say spiders are better than rats, hands down. Just creepy and gross.

    Also, apparently, rodents and arachnids won’t co-habit. My brother had a mouse problem in Philadelphia and the exterminator (one Dr. Death, I think) told him this. So if your spiders isappear when they ought to be around in abundance, you may have a rodent problem. Ew.

  3. By Queen of West Procrastination, May 11, 2006 @ 9:57 am

    Ew. And now my paranoia kicks in: “You’ve only seen ONE giant spider since it warmed up. And that was more than a month ago. What if that squeak you once heard was a rat and not the neighbour’s freezer?”

  4. By Pomodoro, May 11, 2006 @ 5:10 pm

    This post made me very itchy.
    As a many year basement dweller, all I can say is never live with someone who has the same phobias as you do. I do ok now with the spiders because I wont sleep until JLo finds them and kills them. I am such a pussy. (and not like Baxter)

  5. By Liz, May 11, 2006 @ 11:18 pm

    (soothing)QoWP, sorry to freak you out. It’s not rats. After all, the other night was the first time I’d seen a giant spider this year, and we’re in the same climate.(soothing) They’re just slow this year. Or maye there aren’t many of them? (Hope springs eternal)

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