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.

27 Responses to “Night of the Long Spiders”

  1. sfg@peak.org

    And here I feel all brave for squishing a tiny black spider with a shampoo bottle last night. EWEWEW!
    I’m afraid of large dogs… probably because a huge black dog scared the bejeezus out of me when I was about 12.

  2. brelan96@aol.com

    I THINK I MUST NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP. I HAVE A LOVELY HOME AND LAST YEAR WE HAD MICE IN OUR HOUSE. WE HAVE BEEN HERE 6 YEARS AND REALLY IS MY DREAM HOUSE. I NEVER THOUUGHT I WOULD HAVE A HOME LIKE THIS, COMPLETE WITH IN-GROUND POOL, HOT TUB IN A GAZABO, I CANT EVEN TAKE CARE OF IT ANYMORE. IA UNNATURALLY SCARED OF MICE AND WONT EVEN GO IN A ROOM BY MYSELF. ITS IS SO IDIOTIC TO FEEL THIS WAY. WE HAVE A FIELD NEXT DOOR AND I GUESS THATS WHERE THE MICE CME FROM. I CAN NOT EVEN DO HOUSEWORK ANYMORE THE FEAR IS SO GREAT. I HEAR NOISES AND THEY PROBABLY ARE JUST HOUSE SETTLING NOISES LIKE MY HUSBAND TELLS ME AGAIN AND AGAIN. I EVEN SEE THINGS MOVING, BUT AFTER THEY ARE CHECKED OUT BY NY HUSBAND, THERE IS NOTHING EVER THERE. I USED TO SAVOR MY TIME ALONEAMD THATS HEN I WOULD CLEAN HOUSE. NOW I CANT EVEN DO THAT, IAM 48 YEARS OLD AND HAVE NEVER ACTED THIS CRAZY. THE FEAR IS SO STONG, I NEED ANY COMMENTS I HAVE TO GET OVER THIS. CAN ANY ONE OFFER ANY ADVICE?

  3. marrije@eend.nl

    haha, wait until your litlum get very interested in all things creepy crawly and starts presenting you with lovely finds from the garden!Any more BH contractions or other mysterious pains? Glad you slept well!

  4. loobylu@loobylu.com

    marrije – I had one more BH on wednesday afternoon but nothing since then. It may have even been the baby putting pressure on a nerve. Not too exciting…

  5. paul@funkwit.com

    YOU’RE scared of wind now? You didn’t have a tree fall on YOUR house, baby!
    And it was a big tree too, and everything.

    Oh, and I am also scared of mice. Not pet mice or anything — that would be lame — but the sort of mice that live in your walls and eat your food without you knowing. I don’t know why; they just creep me out.

  6. jbr@ntlworld.com

    I don’t think you’re strangely strange, I think you’re just a bit more aware of your strangeness than some people. When I was a banker I met some *very* strange people who thought they were completely normal. What could be stranger than dissembling your feelings for other people all day?
    I really like it that you have the urge to throw your wallet off a bridge. Do it! – I mean, don’t do it, obviously, for sound practical reasons; but in the larger scheme, a subterranean urge to free yourself of money and ties must be healthy, no?

    As someone with a pretty strong fear of spiders I’m staggered by the bravery of Australians. I’m glad those Huntsmen are on the other side of the world.

  7. mail@petal-head.com

    Cheer up Claire, things could be worse. My pal Caro has a fear of vomiting. If she hears someone being sick, she has to put her fingers in her ears and sing la la la.
    Now that’s artistic.

    Actually, this isn’t really a story i should be telling you under the present circumstances is it…

  8. ste@wanderlost.org

    It’s funny, I’m not really afraid of the usual things either – not heights or enclosed spaces or crowds or creepy crawlies, but for some reason, I’m afraid of driving. Or at least I think I am. I keep telling myself that I just can’t afford to get a car yet so there’s no point in having a license, but I continue to put off getting a license. I wonder if fear of driving is a common thing that some people just get over better than others?

  9. melaniewilson@sympatico.ca

    Okay, I looked at your Aussie spiders and you have every reason to be afraid. My skin is crawling off my bones as we speak. They are horrid things!
    But dogs? Please don’t be afraid of dogs! I love and adore dogs, especially large ones. And most of the time, the bigger the dog, the bigger a baby it is!! ! If you’re going to get hypnotherapy for anything, do it for the dogs, Claire! Do it for the dogs. Baby X will thank you!

  10. soul_echoes@yahoo.com

    I think you’re not the only one with a lot of fears. We all have them in varying degrees. I guess we mostly just hear about the “common” fears (fear of heights, dark, closed spaces, etc) because people are afraid to share the ones that would sound silly to others.
    I’m afraid of spiders too, although we don’t have huge ones like your huntsman spiders. Eversince we moved into our house 7 years ago, I think I must’ve run into about 15 different species of spiders (small, regular sized ones, mind you) living inside and outside our house. It’s really freaky having a spider lowering itself down from the ceiling to about eye-level about half a foot in front of you while you’re sitting in the toilet or while you’re in the shower. Or if you see ’em crawling in the ceiling right above your bed and about to fight with another spider. (That would’ve been interesting if they weren’t right above my head!)

  11. theresa@dandelionwine.org

    I think a lot of people have or had at least a small fear of driving (even if they won’t admit it). I remember when I was first learning to drive being very intimidated by the fact that I could make this several ton vehicle go very fast and very likely kill someone. The more you drive, the more confident you become and the less fear you have. Well, except for that fear of other bad drivers.
    You know, I used to think I wanted to visit Australia when I got the chance, but now that you’ve reminded me about the gigantic man-eating spiders there, I think I have changed my mind. It’s not that I’m scared of spiders really. I’m extremely repulsed by any bugs, but I think my fear is that they will touch me. If the bugs are happily existing outside of my living space, I’m fine with that. It’s when they get near me that I freak out.

  12. macbebekin@yahoo.com

    I read the last sentence as “…needs hydrotherapy” for wanting to throw things off bridges. 🙂

  13. naomi@petals-art.ca

    Um I hate to tell ya this but snoring does not just come with pregnancy…..my daughter is deathly afraid of spiders which is so weird cuz she’s 6 feet tall, go fugure… we’ll have to send the Crocodile Hunter after ’em.

  14. grandefille_2000@yahoo.com

    It’s not just you, darling Claire. I figure as long as I never see a hammerhead shark *at* the end of an escalator, I’ll be able to muddle through with most of my wits about me.
    *Why* I am afraid of hammerhead sharks, as opposed to any other sort, and especially since I live in one of the most landlocked states aside from Kansas and therefore would rarely see one while casually strolling through my neighborhood, is completely beyond my ken. I once shrieked and threw a Smithsonian magazine across the room, inadvertently striking Le Jeune Homme Beau quite a blow upside the head, because I turned the page and there was A. Hammerhead. Shark!

    I’m getting scared again just typing that. Eeee.

    Maybe we can get some group rate on the therapy, eh?

  15. maneoffire@sympatico.ca

    oh man. spiders scare the crap out of me. i don’t know why. maybe it’s the eight legs, the fuzzy bodies, the way that some will bite you in the night if you irritate them. mind you, we don’t have spiders like that in canada. that i know of anyway. and i think i’d prefer to NOT know if we do, because those spiders just look CREEPY. i could not imagine being in a room with one of those. i’d probably die of fear.
    i had a conversation with a friend once about spiders having feelings too, and how they must be depressed because nobody likes them. it turned out to be pretty amusing, spiders on prozac and going to group therapy. but even thinking of it that way, it doesn’t make them less creepy.

    well, at least you know now that people share your fear. spiders terrify me. and i’m not ashamed to say so. hah.

  16. vibegrrl@hot995.com

    k, I wanna know too…Why are you afraid of strawberries??!?!
    I’m not afraid of spiders, but I WOULD BE if I had THOSE F’ERS crawling around MY house!! my GOD! I AM afraid of these wierd BIG brown jumpy bugs that are all over the place here. Thankfully, my kitty eats them for me…the only thing is, she always leaves behind the legs…

  17. lisajoannestewart@yahoo.co.uk

    I am so far from being artistic you wouldn’t believe it yet I share many of your fears. Spiders are the reason I don’t want to go to Australia ever. The wallet and bridge thing? I’m there too (it’s usually my camera) only I want to throw myself off to follow it. Dogs, check. I’m OK with snakes and strawberries though (but you know the tops of tomatoes? They are spiders to me)And I’m a scientist!
    PS Hello! Have been lurking a while but not introduced myself. Love the design of your site.

  18. pabilheira@yahoo.com

    Good LORD, woman!!! THOSE are the spiders you consider NORMAL in your area??
    I’d probably FAINT or die of fear if I knew one of those were in the house. Also, given the fact that if one of them bites you it can cause vomiting – another fear of mine – I think I may actually MOVE the next day!

    Sheesh!

  19. gayla@fluffco.com

    I have a fear of driving and so does my partner Davin. My fear isn’t so much my own as a fear of other drivers. It’s a big responsibility! I have decided now that I will try and get my license by the time I am 30 but with graduated licensing I’ll be much older before I can actually drive. And since neither of us have a driver’s license I don’t know how we are expected to get practice (you need to drive with someone who is licensed).
    I’m an advocate for psychotherapy (no DRUGS). Ultimately it is an opportunity to get to know yourself on another, deeper level. I think we could all use a little therapy. Too bad there is so much stigma and shame attached to it.

  20. r@rowf.net

    Are you allergic to strawberries? I am afraid of capsicum, well I am afraid I will come across it in food and not know until I am sick.
    I grew up with Huntsman spiders *shudder*. Once, one lowered itself from the ceiling into the bathtub, where I was. Horrors!

  21. brooke@brookelyn.org

    I’m not afraid of much, but spiders would definitely be the one things I am terrified of. Although I’m not sure what caused my phobia to the eight legged creatures, it must have been something traumatic, because I can’t even look at photos of them. Once, I even attempted to jump out of a moving vehicle after a spider dropped down from the car visor towards my lap. The car was not going fast, mind you, but I suppose I was freak out enough to just want out, regardless.
    My phobia is probably why, while I think Australia is a lovely place, I could never live there due to the fact that you guys have some pretty hideous spiders. I don’t think I could handle finding of of those guys in the shower, or heaven forbid, in my bed. I’d die of a heart attack for sure. I’m still a tad uneasy about moving to Texas, because my fiance says there are spiders there that are about as big as my hand. I’ll need to carry a can of Raid with me – which I’m sure would place me in the “need therapy” population, but so be it.

  22. darian@unremembered.com

    I absolutely hate those huntsman spiders. Right before I had moved to Australia my ex-husbands brother cleaned up his room and vacumed up one of those huge spiders. We arrived in Lilydale a couple of days later and I was unpacking my boxes and suitcases. During that time I had the vacum in the room and I noticed this huge spider on the curtain about the size of a plum. I started screaming..it didn’t die when Mick’s brother vacumed it up and crawled out of the long hose attached to the vacum. eww!

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