I grew up in a high mountain desert, where spiders are a fact of life, like sunlight and gravity. Doesn’t mean I like them much, though I’m fond of tarantulas. They’re big and fuzzy and they stay outside where they belong generally, and the way they move doesn’t make my mammal brain tense like most other spiders do.
I am significantly less fond of other spiders, though how un-fond depends on the day, and the type of spider. My brother once woke the entire house up screaming because a spider had crawled onto his hand while he was asleep. I’ve never gone that far, but I have spent hours at a time quietly panicking over a quarter-sized spider on the ceiling. Too many quick little legs.
I’m not sure fast-moving spiders with sprawly legs are from this level of reality.
Sometimes, though, I’m pretty brave about the little beasts. You get used to them, after all, and if they’re not in my room or on my sketchbook or otherwise invading my space, they tend not to bother me much anymore. This isn’t always a good thing.
When I was thirteen or so, I was invited to a schoolmate’s birthday party in the summer. There were maybe a dozen other girls there, of which I knew three. There was cake, though, and pizza, so I didn’t worry too much about it.
For reasons that entirely escaped me, we spent the later part of the party outside in the August evening, on the sidewalk in front of my schoolmate’s house. All was well, until a large-ish spider skittered across the pavement, in the middle of the gaggle of tweens. Several of them were in flip-flops. There was quite a bit of shrieking.
I was near the spider, and wearing decent shoes, and decided to be a Super Hero and maybe endear myself to some of these girls by jumping on the spider. Unfortunately, in the cheap orange street lights, I couldn’t see that this particular spider was a mama wolf spider, with all her babies clinging to her back.
When I squished her, the babies went everywhere. The shrieks got louder. I was not a Super Hero.
This is why I avoid parties.