Spider Wars 2: Return of the Beast

Since returning from a family trip to Scotland (which you can read about over at victoriasvoyage.blog), nothing very exciting or notable has happened in my life. Having said that, on Saturday afternoon I headed into town to meet with an ex-work colleague/dear friend for a local music festival, Barge Fest. Hosted by The Barge, a great little pub on an actual barge on the River Freshney in the middle of Grimsby Town, it was a cool few hours of good heavy tunes and free flowing alcohol – but that is not what this tale is about.

Naturally, before I attended, I decided I should have a shower. I wasn’t alone. Tucked away in a corner above the shower head was none other than a spider, the creepiest critter in the world. Now it should be known that I HATE spiders, but I still don’t believe they deserve to die just for existing; I do have some morals. It was the quickest shower and hair wash I’ve probably ever had, and I found myself constantly talking to the spider, telling him not to come down or he’d drown. I’d like to think the message got through to him, but I doubted it and was just thankful he wasn’t feeling very adventurous.

Which brought me to the next day. Stepping into the shower for round two I glanced up. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The same spider was right there, in the same spot as the day before. I tried to steady my heart rate. He hadn’t bothered me the last time so there was no reason it should bother me this time. That’s where I was wrong. My desire to protect spiders goes out the window as soon as they come near me. If they want to sit in a corner and mind their own business then so be it, but I will NOT have one touch me – EVER.

As I stood under the cascading water, I tried to ignore its presence. I briefly stepped out from under the stream and turned to check on my little friend. He was on the move. I edged forward slowly, jumping back as it zipped downwards on the web, almost reaching the shower head. I stood frozen, eyes wide with panic. The little menace was teasing me. He climbed back up to the ceiling and I thought he’d learned his lesson, realised the risk of getting near a blast too powerful for it to withstand that would shoot him down the plug hole. Clever spider.

I was still dubious about turning my back on him again, and rightly so, for no more than a minute later he was gliding back downwards again. Unrinsed shampoo beginning to drip down the side of my face, I suppressed a scream and watched on in horror as it actually touched the shower head. Time was no longer an object. I would stand in that shower all day if that’s what it took to give the eight-legged monster a chance to move aside. He zipped back up and I quickly grabbed the shower head off the wall, sitting further back in the bath and rinsing myself off by hand, never taking my eyes off my nefarious nemesis.

Finally, after what must have been well over half an hour, he’d reached a point beyond the threshold of the shower screen. Finally, I could breathe again. What’s the purpose of this story? Well, when you think about it, it’s kind of crazy how the mind works. Seeing the shapes of their bodies and watching the way their legs scurry is terrifying for me, but at the end of the day, we’re not talking industrial sized mutants of spiders like you get in Australia. We’re also not talking about those tiny balls of powerful venom that can kill you in seconds. I’m merely talking about a typical common house spider. This is a relatively minuscule being that in reality poses no real threat to me as a massive human, and yet this encounter, bearing in mind it didn’t actually touch me in the end, was scarier than getting a letter to inform me they’d found some abnormalities as a result of my smear test.

It really gets me thinking, where do these fears come from? What is it in my DNA or my upbringing, in my mind, that makes me so afraid to have something as insignificant as a spider touch my skin? Fear is the biggest obstacle in our lives, with or without reason, but we have to try and find a way of conquering it or we’ll always hit that dead end. This time it meant delaying rinsing my hair by a few minutes, but it could have been a more urgent situation.

At the end of the day, as hard as it is in that moment, as I proved to myself in that shower, you need to ask yourself – what’s the worst that can happen? I’m probably not going to die if that spider brushes against my arm. It might just feel uncomfortable for a split second before I flick it off and it carries on its way. It’s the same with bigger issues. If we can get that right mindset of realising that the worst possible scenario isn’t as life changing as it might first seem, maybe, just maybe, we can actually achieve something great.

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