Sunday, November 25, 2012

Auto Arachnophobia

A friend recently described me as "fearless", and while that is a total exaggeration I like to think of myself as down to earth and resilient. I live alone, I have faced some real upheaval and turmoil in my life and more than once been in a situation of real physical danger... so it's more than a little annoying that I can still be reduced to a quivering wreck by a very specific type of creepy crawly. I was just lucky that the bl**dy thing decided to leap into my line of vision on a deserted country road instead of in the middle of rush hour traffic where my blind panic and illogical behaviour could have caused a serious accident.

So this is a big heartfelt thank you to the really nice unknown guy who temporarily abandoned his bicycle ride with his young son to help a rather distressed and embarrassed me on the side of the road today. Yes, he laughed himself silly at the fact that I had been evicted from my own car by the sudden appearance of a large spider bungy jumping unexpectedly from the sun visor directly into my face, but he also took the time to do a quite detailed inspection of the abandoned vehicle for the bright orange eight legged villain and assure me that it was safe for me to get back in.

No, I didn't get to see any evidence of the creature's demise but he assured me it was dead and I decided to believe him, because otherwise I would still be there, legs shaking, on that grass verge in the middle of nowhere. I suppose that says something positive about my efforts in recent years to get control over my stupidly OTT fear of spiders. Something, but not enough. I drove away, still feeling a little panicky, but determined to try and concentrate on the road. I felt ridiculously proud of myself for getting back in the car, even though the image of it falling into my line of vision so suddenly kept creeping back into my mind, all the way to my destination. That image flashed back again a few hours later when I came to drive home. It was dark by then and it was a little harder to ignore the many spider concealing shadows inside the vehicle and keep my mind on the moonlit road ahead. I did it though and felt relieved to get back into the flat.

Now I just need to go and inspect the bedding for wandering critters before I go to sleep... so much for fearless!


C said...

Ah, how lovely to find such a good samaritan!
I really wish I could help you - and others - with the fear of spiders! I love them, and have a fascination for them as well as a strange but very real affection for them, mainly I think because they are so 'misunderstood'! Plus they are so afraid of us... But I DO understand and it wasn't that long ago that I used to freak out a bit myself at the sight of one. Even now, in spite of my love for them, the big hairy house spiders make me jump and I can't actually touch them...
I started to get over my fear of spiders generally though after spending a night on a houseboat. By day it seemed completely spider-free. By night, all of a sudden, they came out, in all shapes and sizes, from every corner, every shadow, every crevice. The only way I would get to sleep that night was to evict them diligently one by one. After an hour or so of the upturned glass and postcard method and feeling really anxious, I was so tired I just had to accept there might still be some around as I slept. And... somehow... that got me over the worst. I've never felt the same since and I now actively enjoy watching them and I and can handle the smaller ones if I need to (but they are so vulnerable, bless 'em...)
That probably isn't much help I realise - but you could always try sleeping in a houseboat! ;-) If you can learn to love them, you won't look back!

Yve said...

Thanks for the tip, I would love to rent a houseboat so at least now I know what I am letting myself in for! Tee hee...

I have got much better (after much concerted effort)I actually find money spiders really sweet and can cope with the smaller ones now, even letting them walk on my hand... but there is definitely a size beyond which I can't cope. I did have a kind of bargain with a very large one that lived in the bathroom when I first moved to this flat, I was OK as long as it stayed when I expected it to be.

I think that is the thing, you can rationalize yourself into tolerating something that scares you (like on your houseboat) but if it takes you by surprise the phobic reaction seems to come back full force, well, that was my experience yesterday anyway!

Yve said...

PS: Yes, what a great guy! I like to think most people actually think about stopping when they see someone alone next to a broken down car, but I suppose guys must worry that a woman will think they are a weirdo if they stop and women no longer stop to help guys if they are alone in the car because of the same reason. Sad really.