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Monday, January 21, 2013

In Which I Almost Die

On Friday night I almost died.

I’m not trying to be all dramatic about it. Okay, maybe I’m trying to be a little dramatic, but for good reason. I mean, if facing death doesn’t give a girl the right to theatrics, I don’t know what does.

So back to my almost-death. It was Friday night and The Man was out. I’m cool with being alone. My mother thinks it’s a character flaw, but I tell her I’d be a failure as a writer if I spent all my time communing with other humans. That’s when she usually glares at my dad and says something like, “This is your fault.” Which is true, because my dad’s introverted and I guess half of my genes come from him, apparently including my disposition.

Anyway, I was alone and in bed, bundled under a mound of covers and watching a terrible movie on Netfix because I’d already watched all of the good free movies. And that’s when I saw it.

I should tell you now that I have incredible peripheral vision. It’s actually funny because my overall vision isn’t so far from a blind person’s. It’s something I truly worry about when considering my life twenty years from now.

So I was staring at the computer screen when I saw a black dot moving in my peripheral vision. I looked.

I screamed.

Here’s where you should know that I don’t scare easily. I have yet to be scared during a horror flick, even though I went through a period in high school when my ultimate goal was to find a movie* that terrified me. Instead, I watched my friends frighten and found ways to further freak them out by setting up elaborate hoaxes which, looking back, probably lost me more friends than I gained. So you know that my fear this Friday was 100 percent, honest-to-goodness, totally-freaking-out FEAR.

Maybe I can’t finish this story. Maybe I have PTSD. No, I most certainly do have PTSD. But here I go...

I saw a spider lower itself from the ceiling toward the bed. When I noticed, the thing was about an inch from my blanket, hanging upside down on that stupid clear string/webbing/whatever you call it,** it’s little legs moving all over the place.

First, I screamed. Then I started hyperventilating.

And in a split second I had a surprising amount of thoughts. I wondered if this was what it was like right before you died. People say they think of the most random things, like whether the local meteorologist got spray tanned or something.

I grabbed a napkin that I’d been using and for a quick moment I thought, “This napkin’s dirty,” as if this spider had to be killed on a pristine paper towel. As if using a dirty napkin was any more disgusting than touching a spider through two layers of thin paper.

The thing was an inch from my blankets—AN INCH!—when I squished it between the napkin. I ground that sucker so good I’m sure it was one with the napkin. After I threw it out, I called The Man.

“Hello?” he asked when he picked up.

“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness. I just had the most tramatic, most terrible, most—OH MY GOODNESS!”

Silence. “Trace, what’s wrong?”

“Something happened. OH MY GOODNESS something happened. I can’t—” I took about 347 tiny breaths but my mind was picturing that disgusting spider and my breathing was making me dizzy.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Did something happen?” The Man asked, and despite my serious lack of sanity, I knew enough to respond before he killed himself trying to drive home and save me from a psycho killer or masked robber or some other two-legged menace.

“There was a spider. An inch from the bed. AN INCH FROM THE BED!”


“This is not funny. I was in a perilous situation! I might need years of therapy after this! I should just kill myself now to stop the mental image I have.”

Laughing. “But you killed it? So you’re okay. It’s all gone.”

“Yes, this one is all gone,” I said, glancing at the trash can to make sure the napkin was still in the same spot. I can never be too sure when it comes to bugs. Part of my mind believes they’ll come back to life and start crawling all over me.

“But,” I continued, still partially hyperventilating, “how do I know this is the first spider to land in our bed? Have there been others? Have they touched me? Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness. They touched me didn’t they?”

“No, a bug has never touched you. Your skin is repellant.”

“Now you’re being ridiculous.”

“Yes, I’m the ridiculous one.”

I shut my eyes, then opened them fast. I needed to keep watch in case any of the spider’s friends descended on me at that moment. The Man laughed off my theory, but I had a sneaking suspicion this spider was just some sort of lookout and when he didn’t return, his entire battalion would drop from the ceiling and—

I can’t even finish that thought.

“But what if when we go to bed tonight,” I said, speaking faster. “The rest of them come down and go under our covers and crawl on us and crawl into our ears and up our noses and in our mouths?”

Laughter. “They wouldn’t do that.”

“And then we’d be sleeping so we wouldn’t know they were touching us and CRAWLING INTO OUR ORIFICES. And then they’d implant their eggs under our skin!”

“That’s an urban legend.”

“And then in however long it takes to incubate a legion of baby spiders they will hatch and CRAWL OUT OF OUR SKIN! Ugh, I hate my imagination.”

“As do I.”

And that’s the story of how I almost died. It’s not that I’m delusional and think the spider was a black widow or some other equally as deadly arachnid. It was more like my phobia almost killed me. At least, I think it’s possible to give yourself a heart attack. I pretty sure I almost did. 

There was a point to this, but my story kind of got out of hand. Not that it’s not true—it is, all of it. But I expected the recounting of my night of terror to be a lot shorter so I could tell you about this awesome book I read while attempting to take my mind off of a possible assault from a brigade of arachnids.

So my next post will be about that book, which was awesome and hilarious and so much better than a surprise spider.

Now that I’ve laid out my fears for you, what are you most scared of?

*Except for Arachnophobia. I knew that one would give me nightmares for years.
**You didn’t honestly expect me to look up the correct term, did you? I mean, you realize I’d have to LOOK AT PICTURES OF SPIDERS!

1 comment:

  1. I am SO SORRY that that happened to you. I can totally relate. A few weeks ago, there I was, sitting on the couch in the middle of the afternoon, and something caught my eye, I looked down and there was a spider, bold as brass, CRAWLING ACROSS MY SWEATSHIRT. Luckily it was a cardigan-style one that I had on over my shirt. I flung it to the ground, changed all my clothes, then hid in bed and gchatted my husband at work: "Hey, I live in the bed now. There was a spider on me in the living room and I don't know where he went so I guess he can have that room. We might need to move." THE WORST. We may need to form a support group for survivors of this kind of trauma.