I glanced sideways as I drove my car to work this morning and saw a spider the size of my thumbnail swinging on a thread. His silk must have been attached to the ceiling as he swooped back and forth like Tarzan at my eye level. I waved my hand at him, blew him away from me and saw him land on the top edge of the passenger side door, whence he disappeared.
That set me on edge once again. Earlier in the morning a wolf spider landed in the shower a few feet away from me as I sat on the toilet. I had just stumbled out of bed, so his sudden appearance (and initial charge in my direction) startled me. Wolf spiders can get huge, have long legs, and move very fast. This one was double the size of a fifty cent piece and covered a yard in half a second. I threw a roll of paper towels at him as he crouched and glowered at me. I made contact, but Captain Arachnid sped off to a corner of the shower. I tried once again, failed, and the spider ran into the curtains and hid. I scrunched the folds together, but couldn’t spot him. I searched around the toilet, the curtain, the floor of the shower, but finally found him huddled in a corner formed by the bathroom wall and the outer edge of the shower. I threw a shoe at him and missed, but he didn’t bother to move. He was either exhausted or wounded. I delivered the coup de grace (juicy and sickening crunch) by pressing down with a piece of paper towel.
My wife and I had watched a PBS science show about memory the evening before. A psychiatrist in London had figured out a way to disrupt memory reformation in order to cure phobias. She frequently treated a fear of spiders and took patients to a room with a terrarium holding a tarantula. Their eyes widened as they confronted the furry beast, and they nearly backed out of the room when the shrink suggested that they touch the edge of the glass. After they managed to do her bidding, she took them out and gave them a drug that inhibited memory reformation. The disruption somehow shifted their attitudes toward spiders, and the psychiatrist soon had them petting tarantulas and cooing to them as if they were pets.
I told my wife about the spider after I fled the bathroom and said, “Remember that show last night? I think I need therapy! Where’s that drug?!”
Timeline: see a show about arachnophobia; wolf spider adrenaline fest the next morning; spider swinging at my eye level in an enclosed space an hour later. Are the gods sending me a message? Have I offended in some way? And is it time for me to build an altar, install a spider statue, and offer burnt sacrifices?