War against the insects

Rick Lowe

Let me tell you what the absolute hardest thing to get used to/learn how to do better since moving out of my parent’s house has been for me. You ready for this? You’re going to laugh but… whatever. Here it goes:

I kill my own spiders now.

That’s right. See what that implies? Yes. I used to NOT kill spiders. I used to, upon sighting a spider encroaching on my territory, lock my vision on it, yell for a family member to come running with a smashing implement, and then hover like a Little Bird Overwatch, never taking my eyes off the terrifying creature.

I’ll admit that “spiders” is only partially correct, because arachnophobia is a large-but-not-singular branch sprouting from my tree of fears. I happen to hate anything that buzzes, really…especially if it’s black and yellow and has the capability to sting or bite. I recall a horrendous late night encounter with a cicada killer, which (in case you don’t know) is a wasp about the size of one of my thumbs, and according to Wikipedia is “among the largest wasps seen in the Eastern United States” and is apparently non-aggressive to humans. And this thing was camping out on the lamp next to my bed. I was petrified, standing there at the foot of my bed feeling like a toddler, staring at it.

The reason I stare is obvious: if you look away, the bug/spider/insect/nightmare might hide somewhere, like last night when a spider tried to hide in my pillowcase. Seriously: I’m laying on my stomach, propped up on my arms and watching Game Grumps on my laptop. I feel a tickling on my upper left arm, roughly in the triceps area. I look over and see a booger-colored spider about the size of Tic Tac scuttling its way up into my shirtsleeve.

Now…I’m not a chiseled specimen of anatomy, but I’m proud to admit that of all my body parts, my legs have got a deceptive amount of power in them (especially when fueled by a sudden adrenal surge). I about jumped into the ceiling to get away from it, rubbing my arms all over because suddenly it felt like the spider was everywhere even though I clearly saw it against my gray bed sheets, climbing up my pillow and heading for the opening in the case where you slide your pillow in.

After swiping some tissues to use as a glove because (as you’ve seen) I do not like having any part of me come in contact with any part of them, I transferred the spider to my garbage can. The most amazing part, I think, is how I barely made a sound the entire time…just like a spider. My three roommates, one of whom is an infant, were sleeping in the next room over. I managed not to wake any of them up, and eventually went back to YouTube after shaking off the feeling that the spider had called hundreds of its buddies to crawl on me in self-defense.

I felt good about myself. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome on the road to being an adult, and many of the lesser ones I’ve already passed (maybe I don’t own a house, but I at least own a car…). It’s easy to face your fears when they decide to surprise you, though. I hope to encounter my next spider on friendlier terms, because I know grass spiders and house spiders are just chillin’. If I could talk to them, I’d let them know that as long as they stayed up in the ceiling corners and didn’t come land on me or my stuff, we’d be able to coexist peacefully.

[email protected]