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Showering with a spider

After work tonight I went for a run and then drove home. The minute I walked in the house I shed my sweaty clothes and turned on the shower. I turned on some music while the water warmed and then I stepped in.

He doesn't have a missing leg. He kept waving it so it's sort of hiding in plain sight.

He doesn’t have a missing leg. He kept waving it so it’s sort of hiding in plain sight.

There he was. Perhaps a she but I’m going to call him he. Just a small spider. Not so tiny that I could ignore him, but not so big that I would leap out. Shit. I don’t like killing things. Not even spiders. I wouldn’t say I have a phobia, but I don’t like them. I prefer they stay outside and not take up residence with me. Living alone requires me dealing with them myself. Mostly I ignore them and hope they go where I can’t see them.

I know where my fear comes from. When I was about five years old, my parents brought my brother and I over to their good friends house who also had kids. They hired one babysitter for five of us and went out for the night. At some point I sat down to watch TV with the sitter. She was watching an old black and white movie about a shrinking man who was trapped in a basement with a giant spider. I have a very clear recollection of watching this movie and the aftermath.The almighty Google helped me find it. Here’s a clip, but beware of nightmares.

I’ve also had a personal run in with that nasty spider called the Brown Recluse. While living in Arizona in 2006 I was bit on the back of my right calf. This was a four-month ordeal that only reinforced my fear and loathing of spiders. My husband at the time insisted we photograph the bite and then he added a dime to my leg for size comparison. I think it’s important to show this horrific picture for emphasis with my story. Sorry about that. The photo was taken about three weeks after I was bitten. I refused to allow any more pictures as the poison went through the slow process of eating away at my flesh. I now have a nice little bullseye scar and have actually considered a tattoo of a spider crawling toward it.



Back to the little guy in the shower with me. He was at eye level and on the back of the curtain to the right of the nozzle. If I turned my back and started shampooing, I was sure the water would splash him and then I didn’t know where he would end up. I feared it would be on me. He started to move upward and I was hopeful he would get to the top and go to the other side, but then he changed his mind and started heading downward. That was not the best thing for him. I really didn’t want him to die the death of the drain, but I needed to get on with my shower, so I turned the nozzle away from him and started to shampoo. I kept glancing back. He seemed okay. And so began my watchful 20-minute (not relaxing at all) shower, where I managed to shampoo and condition my hair and shave my legs, and we both survived.

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