I wrote this a few years ago for some reason. Enjoy!
What is it about a spider that can transform an otherwise rational person into an illogically terrified pile of uselessness? I like to think of myself as a semi-intelligent human being, but no matter how many times I ask myself that same question, the only answer I can come up with is: “They’re Icky!” Beyond the obvious ickyness, I am firmly convinced that spiders have an amazingly sinister intellectual capacity. They are capable of plotting, planning, scheming, and overall terrorism. The following account of one of my many “Spider Incidents”, as I have come to call them, will undoubtedly prove my theory.
For me, getting my drivers’ license was a trying process. I overcame serious nerves to take the Drivers’ Training classes I rode my bike miles every day to attend, and I failed the road test the first time. When I finally did receive the prized piece of laminate, I volunteered to drive everywhere. Groceries were getting picked up, sisters were getting dropped off, mom’s mini-van never saw so many miles! My confidence was rising, and soon there would be no stopping this drive-aholic. The feelings of bliss and cockyness came to a head the day I got my very own car. It was a shiny new (ok, more like rusty old) 1991 Cutlass Calais, complete with moon roof and red interior.
That moon roof was open all summer long, which in retrospect was a horrible idea for an arachnophobe like me. I thought nothing of my veritable “open door policy” until one fateful evening as I was desperately trying to make curfew. I was cruising along a major street in my hometown, on my way home from the mall. I was chugging along (a 91 Cutlass can do little more than chug) at a pace of about 60 mph, as this particular road slightly resembles a racetrack, and silently urges me to push the speed limit. N Sync was blasting from my speakers and I was in teenage girl heaven. For a brief moment.
Suddenly, I noticed a dark mass in my line of vision. A big one. I thought, “No, this couldn’t be what I think it is.” But alas, it was. A big hairy spider had just dropped down from who knows where, and was staring at me, from two inches away. Since my mind was paralyzed with fear, I can only hypothesize as to what happened next.
My first instinct was to slam the seat back as far as it could go. I was in no mood to get to first base with Charlotte (virtually every spider who confronts me will be called Charlotte , in an attempt to lessen the creepiness, and increase the lovable children’s book-ness). Once I was as far back as possible, ever further than possible, since I no longer had a chin at that point, I cranked the wheel to the right in an attempt to pull over quickly. I did not even glance (not even at my blind spot, as I had been so aptly taught to do) at the road to assess any potential danger from other vehicles. Once there is a spider in my vicinity, it is the only immediate danger as far as I am concerned. Luckily my thoughtless wheel-cranking landed me in a liquor store parking lot, and not somebody else’s drivers’ seat.
Once stationary, I leapt over the center console and into the passenger seat. Or, that’s what I would have done if the seatbelt wasn’t still fastened. Instead I managed a jerky flail and landed half of my rump on the gear-shift. I felt no pain. I was still in “get me the eff away from this spider” mode. Adrenaline pumping, I managed to get the seatbelt undone, and propel my body out the passenger side door.
I found myself standing alone at midnight in a liquor store parking lot. My cell phone was in the car under close surveillance by Charlotte . I couldn’t call for help and she knew it. We engaged in a stare-down. Eyes narrowing, (all eight of hers), we both made our move. She scrambled up her web of terror, and though I was outside the car and presumably safe, I flailed again. Seeing an opportunity in her position on the steering wheel, I cut my losses and flip-flopped that wheel harder and with more intensity than any flip-flop will ever know again. Once my eyes were once again open, I saw with great relief that Charlotte had met her demise. She was no longer a giant hairy threat. She was merely a curled up ball of gross on my floor mat.
What makes a spider choose (yes choose) that exact moment to make an appearance? A moment that could very well endanger the lives of other drivers and me? Malice. That’s what. That situation ended in one of two possible ways. Late for curfew or car accident. Either way, I was in trouble. Thank you Charlotte , from the bottom of my teenaged (and sarcastic) heart.