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Strange Encounters of the Eight-Legged Kind

Arachnophobia is an irrational fear of spiders, and that is exactly what I have.

Friends and family can vouch for the intensity of my phobia: my encounters with the creepy creatures are always met with hyperventilation, shrill shrieks or hysteric sobs. No matter the size, spiders scare the heck out of me.

But why?

After all, like my parents always tell me, they are just spiders, harmless little eight-legged insects that are at best 0.01% of my size.

I can distinctly remember my first encounter with the culprits…

I was quite young at the time, and we were having a family barbecue at my house with my dad’s relatives. I was quietly swinging on my swing in our backyard, eating a snack, when from up above came a spider, slipping down a single silky thread and stopping right in front of my face. (The nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet actually happened to me!)

Ever since that day, I have always been spooked by spiders, and have always carefully inspected any swing set before swinging.

Fast forward several years to today and here I was, standing in my room, petrified as a laid eyes upon a loonie-sized spider on my wall.

Generally, I yell for someone to come and help me, but my mom and sister were out and my dad was in the basement. Of course, killing it myself wasn’t an option, but leaving the room wasn’t either: I wouldn’t want to come back and not be able to find it.

So after 20 long minutes of panicking, I decided I had to swallow my fear and squash the ugly thing by myself.

But how?

My first plan was to grab a bath towel and smother it, but that involved getting too close to the enemy, and would result in the loss of a towel.

I then thought of stomping it to death with a gumboot, but I wasn’t sure I could kick that high.

I considered paralysing it with hairspray, killing it with Raid, smacking it with a spatula, poking it with a broom handle and swatting it with my B.C. Lions’ foam bear paw.

And as I continued to contemplate my various options, the spider began to scurry away towards my dresser, where I wouldn’t be able to reach it. So I acted fast.

I squished it with my towel, screaming the whole time and pressing firmly. I let the towel drop to the floor, where the spider made a break for under my bed. I repeatedly stomped on it with the gumboot, and then “shouted it out” with some Shout spray for good measure.

The adrenaline rush was too much to handle, so I fled the scene leaving my three weapons of choice strewn across my bedroom floor.

This was the first time in a very long time that I have actually had the guts to kill a spider. And in a way, I am quite proud of myself.

But next time, I think I’ll leave the whole confronting-your-fears thing to someone else.

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@HayleyWoodin

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