Night of the Long Spiders

Last night I managed to sleep through the entire night (except for when I woke myself up by snoring – just one of the many unattractive side affects of pregnancy) which was a pleasant change. Mind you I don’t feel any more rested now. In fact I had to have a nap at 11am. But it was good to sleep through. The lack of wild winds certainly helped – for the last few nights gale force winds have been rattling against the roof and howling through the tree tops. I have been lying awake waiting for branches to come crashing through our front window, or a power pole to topple and electricity to arc across the road, or even our roof to be peeled away leaving us exposed like a tin of sardines. This is a new thing for me, this fear of winds and storms. It was much easier when we lived in the flat – we were completely disconnected from nature and felt safe and secure and tucked away. The only fear that occasionally crept into my late night paranoid mind was that an earthquake might topple the flat above us down into our flat and in turn we would be buried somewhere down in the basement.
So I add fear of gale force winds to my list of fears: fear of driving, flying, sharks, public speaking, crowds, swimming, strawberries, dogs, junkies, snakes, the unknown, being underground, the ends of escalators, audience participation, the relatively new fear of labour and motherhood. Oh, and spiders of course.

I was ok about spiders until I stayed down in a beach house with a friend one Summer just after we had finished high school. The place was absolutely crawling with the largest huntsman spiders I had ever seen. I was used to small, slow, chubby huntsmen who liked to spend time sitting quietly in a corner of the ceiling waiting for insects to come to them. These seaside cousins were spindly and large (I remember them being about bread and butter plate size) and ran with great speed across the floors and up the walls. Being big chickens and not wanting to deal with them properly we had upturned bowls and ice-cream containers dotted through out the house with a spider crouching under each. I remember sitting up in bed by the window and the spiders outside, who must have been attracted to the light or the other insects who were attracted to the light, kept leaping out of the darkness and landing splat against the glass, so that my face was only centimetres away from their weird spider underbellies. That weekend really destroyed my trust in the humble huntsman and all other arachnids.

Living with so many fears is sometimes a little debilitating. Learning to drive was a big step in all of this but the fear of driving has yet to disappear all together. Baby steps I guess. There are some common fears I am proud to be untouched by. Very rarely do I feel confronted by heights – although occasionally when walking across a bridge that goes over water I have to hand Big-P my wallet because I get afraid of the sudden urge I get to toss it over the edge and into the water below. Despite this I like to think I am a pretty normal person, but I do wonder if these fears and behaviours stretch it a little, and I end up falling into the “she’s a bit artistic” category or even directly into the “she’s downright neurotic and needs hypnotherapy” category. Quite possibly.