O Lord, the story of Charlotte’s Web has always made this arachnophobe want to run in fear, yet bawl when the spider dies. But OMG, You know that when my grandson played Farmer Arable, no way would I miss a minute!
It is with great reluctance that I write this week’s blog.
Why? Because I am a confirmed, card-carrying, scream-for-my-husband arachnophobe.
Then why write about them? I am following current wisdom, which declares we should face our fears head-on.
Hubby protests, “But you’re writing in the family room. The granddaddy longlegs are in the half bath.”
“Like I don’t know that?” I glare at him. “What do you think I am, an idiot?”
Don’t answer that.
He doesn’t, because he knows a rhetorical question when he hears one. Also, he wants to live to see his grandchildren grow up.
My husband refuses to acknowledge my carefully constructed rationale regarding arachnids. He does not comprehend their plan to take over the world. These “harmless,” “helpful” hypocrites, à la Shelob in The Lord of the Rings, aspire to drag the whole human race to their lairs and turn us into mummified entrées for future spider victory dinners.
Perhaps a little background will help you understand my viewpoint. As a five-year-old living in Mexico, I woke up one morning, nose-to-nose with a tarantula.
My screams shriveled. Before it could bite, I airmailed sheets, blankets, and the ginormous spider across the room.
While others (sleeping on the floor!) snored, I conducted my own heart-pounding, stomach-flipping, cold-sweat-pouring search for the tarantula.
Never found it.
Perhaps when I encounter other spiders, no matter how miniscule, I am always afraid I will find it. If I ever do — even if the tarantula’s an old geezer with eight knee replacements — I will show no mercy.
Sadly, some teachers like spiders. When mine introduced Charlotte’s Web, I wondered what I’d done to deserve this. Read 184 pages about a spider?
To my amazement, the author, E.B. White, almost humanized Charlotte.
Not quite. Not even a master storyteller could convince me she was pretty, as Wilbur the pig believed. Even budding feelings of motherly concern about Charlotte’s eggs failed to triumph over the gut-clutching realization that one spider reproduced hundreds of offspring.
Now an adult, I dread family reunions Charlotte’s descendants hold in our pop-up camper each summer.
At least, I’m not as far gone as my niece. She firmly believes Internet wisdom that hundreds of spiders crawl into our mouths and ears while we sleep.
Meanwhile, I bravely continue efforts to face my fears and have granted the granddaddy longlegs a temporary stay of execution. This is (deep breath) a huge step.
However, I’m still writing in the family room while the spiders occupy the half bath.
And, um … duct-taping my mouth and ears shut at night.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you an arachnophobe too? Or has Charlotte converted you?