Friday, March 21, 2014

They're Baaa-aack

I've been feeding the next door neighbors' cat all week because they are out of town. I say "neighbors' cat", but it's really a stray cat called Hissing Syd, who won't come within 10 feet of people, but who will sit exactly that distance from his food bowls and look around in judgement if they are empty when he gets there much in the way of a normal house cat. I grabbed the cat food and was about to walk through my back door when crumpled in the door jam I saw the biggest spider I have ever seen in England. So big in fact, that I looked it over for some moments actually thinking "maybe it's not a spider. Maybe it's a scraggly piece of something that fell off of a bush." But nothing else in the world has leg joints in exactly those places. Nothing. I seriously didn't know they had spiders as big as this here. I think it must have followed me here from the U.S...from Texas probably (I'm made to understand everything is bigger there). It wasn't moving and looked as if it had been smushed by the door, so I made the assumption it was dead and closed the door on it. Then I grabbed the cat food, went out the front door (after very carefully checking the entire doorway for spiders, because if I missed something and then came back and there was one outside THAT door I wouldn't be able to get back in the house), walked halfway across the island to the common entrance to the marina, and then all the way back to their garden while muttering "ohgodohgodohgod" with my heart trying to escape from my chest the entire time to feed the goddamn cat. I am now back in my own house, have texted StereoNinja to inform him that I am NEVER GOING IN THE GARDEN EVER AGAIN. I am checking everything in the house for spiders before I touch it (I looked inside the Dorito bag) and experiencing a mild to moderate level of general panic that I know will subside gradually over the next few days UNLESS another spider appears.

What I hate about this phobia is not so much that it controls where I can go and what I can do - there are work arounds for that, obviously, as I've just walked clear across an island to feet a cat sitting 30 feet from my backyard - but the (I assume, I'm not a psychiatrist) post traumatic stress that I end up living with for days, sometimes weeks at a time. And the effect is cumulative: seeing another spider in that state doesn't just extend how long it lasts but heightens that feeling. I was already in that state before the incident today from a small spider I saw on the outside of my car a few days ago. I've walked the two miles into town twice since then rather have to face getting in my car. I tell myself I'm getting exercise, but I'm really just paralyzed by the thought that if it has gotten in the car I'll be trapped with it and no one can help me.

It's the worst time of year for me. Spring is when all the spiders come back, and just to reiterate, I live IN a river. In the past few weeks, I've seen StereoNinja lunge across a room to step on a spider I hadn't seen yet and go into the toilet and immediately come back out again to get the bug spray before going back in there calling over his shoulder "I didn't just see three spiders in there." I've seen two in my bedroom when he wasn't home that I had to spray myself before texting completely insane yet wholly serious messages to him: that I needed him to remove their dead bodies when he got home and then burn our duvet, or that I was moving to France. And now it's effecting him too. He used to see a spider and not have any sort of reaction at all but now when he sees one he has almost a fear response - not of the spider itself but more like "Oh god holy shit there's a spider in the house kill it immediately before Amber finds out AAAAGGHHHH".

Ugh. You guys. IT WAS SO FUCKING BIG and it was ALMOST INSIDE MY HOUSE. I don't know how to stop thinking about it. Even the "research" I'm doing on "extreme" pornography for my next paper isn't helping me. SINCE WHEN CAN I NOT CONCENTRATE ON PORN?