I sat on my basin
Reading my cares away
When along came a spider
I fled to the side...er...
And dribbled right down my leg
Arachnophobia: the irrational fear of spiders and spider-like creatures. It is my curse; the ball and chain I drag with me on my journey through life. I am terrified of spiders. I have unreasonable fears that they will jump on me or crawl on me. I have been known to hurt myself trying to escape them. This particular time, I was not injured. Just thoroughly humiliated.
I was sitting innocently on the toilet when the attack happened. I was chattering at my husband who was going about his nightly getting-ready-for-bed rituals and reading from a local paper (one I had actually picked up from a local store and carried with me most of the day). Suddenly, this enormous, butt-ugly wolf spider crawls out of the pages of my paper, right over the top corner and...HORRORS...almost onto my hand!
There was no time to think. I closed the paper (Big Dog said I actually folded the paper but I have no memory of this action) and flung it as forcefully as possible in Big Dog's direction. I simultaneously leaped from the toilet, into the shower, placing myself as far as physically possible from my attacker.
What happened from that instant on was a biologically primitive reaction that was completely beyond my control. My sympathetic nervous system took complete control of my physical body. My voice forced shrill pleas for assistance, my legs went numb and rubbery, my heart raced, and my bladder deflated like a busted birthday balloon.
Big Dog stomped cluelessly at the spider, missing it entirely, and causing it to flee in my direction. I continued to scream in sheer terror. Finally his big shoe found my attacker and with a final crushing blow the terror ended.
As I finished undressing and turned on the shower my heart descended from my throat and my bladder began to regain some resemblance of its former self. I felt so ashamed, so dirty. This ugly thing, this SPIDER, had taken my dignity from me. Like all victims of assault, I suffer PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I can no longer read newspapers and magazines on the potty. I am relegated to sit there on my throne, bored, eyes patrolling the perimeter for a possible attacker.
Little Miss Muffet, I have walked a mile in your shoes, I have sat where you sat, and you, my dear child, have my utmost sympathy.