For this month’s Writer Wednesday, we’re all talking about our phobias.
I’m not afraid of snakes or the dark, or even public speaking. But I do have one phobia. It all started the summer I turned 14.
My dad was a general contractor and always built the homes we lived in. We made one of these moves in the summer of 1974. During the four months my dad was constructing the new place, we lived at my grandmother’s house. I had been there plenty of times previously, had even spent the night, but it wasn’t until we moved in that I met all the other “residents.” Spiders. Big, hairy spiders that grow to be the size of your hand. My grandmother would never kill a spider. She insisted they were good to have around, that they kill the roaches. But for me, those four months were like something out of a horror movie. I never knew when I was going to run into one. One day, I pulled the jigsaw puzzle I’d been working on out from under my bed and headed toward the living room. I had reached the center of the room before I glanced down, and there in the middle of my puzzle board, staring up at me, was one of the biggest spiders I’d seen yet. Amazingly enough, instead of slinging puzzle pieces all over the room, I somehow made it to the piano bench with the board before going into hysterics. In September, my dad finally got our house finished and I was able to escape Spider Central, but the damage had already been done.
My husband Chris is very understanding of my spider phobia and tries his hardest to warn me if there’s a spider around, without instilling panic. The problem is, as soon as he says my name, I know. It’s the spider tone. All he has to do is say, “Carol,” and the panic starts to build. One night, after dinner and movies at my sister’s house, we got home at two a.m. I crossed in front of the car headed toward the front door, when, in the glow of the porch light, Chris saw a huge web with its occupant sitting in the center. Afraid I would walk toward him and through the web, he calmly told me to go straight to the front door. Unfortunately, I recognized the spider tone and in my panic ran to him, right through the web. As soon as I felt the sticky threads, I knew what I had done. Chris thoroughly checked my hair and clothes, but we never did find the spider. Eventually I calmed down, the neighbors got back to sleep and all was fine.
Chris isn’t the only one with the spider tone. I apparently have one, too. The moment I call his name, he instantly knows if I’ve seen a spider. I won’t get close enough to actually kill one. Thank the Lord, every time I’ve found one inside, my knight in shining armor has been there to protect me. There was one time, though, that I did have to deal with it. This one wasn’t inside. It was in the mailbox, a black widow. Chris wasn’t home and I was afraid I would forget about it and reach my hand into the box. I found a brick and hurled it as hard as I could. When he got home, he wanted to know why the mailbox was sitting cockeyed on the post. But the spider was dead.
All spiders are terrifying, no matter their size, but the wolf spiders are the scariest. Not only are they big and ugly, but they jump. (LiveScience describes them as athletic.) If you spray them, instead of running away, they jump on you. A friend of mine sprayed a huge one on his door jamb, and it landed on his neck. (That would have been it for me. At that point, you could have just taken me out and buried me.)
It’s been forty years since that fateful summer at my grandmother’s house, but I still occasionally fly out of bed in the middle of the night because I’ve dreamed there are spiders all over my pillow. For this post, I wanted to find a nice creepy photo for you to enjoy. I typed wolf spider into a Google search and all kinds of pictures came up. That lasted all of three seconds. I can’t even look at them on the computer screen. In fact, writing this blog post is probably going to give me nightmares.
What about you? Do you have any phobias? Do they ever invade your dreams? I’d love to hear about it. Meanwhile, check out what my writer friends have to say at the links below. (For future Writer Wednesday topics, see the calendar at the bottom of this post.)
Also this month, we’re celebrating Firebird sister Tamra Baumann’s release of her new book, It Had to Be Love. Here’s the blurb:
Tara Carter isn’t looking for romance. She’s content seeing patients at her new practice by day, then going home and cuddling with her puppy at night. Her new life in the tiny town of Anderson Butte, Colorado—known by celebrities as the place to lie low—is the perfect respite for a woman with a whopper of a secret. There’s just one problem: the town’s sexy sheriff knows she’s hiding something.
Sheriff Ryan Anderson, weary of small-town drama, has sworn off dating locals and thinks a fresh start in a bigger city is in order. However, the more he gets to know Tara, the more his heart tells him that she could be the woman of his dreams. But he wants to get to the bottom of whatever she’s trying so hard to keep under wraps. Can he uncover her secret before it drives them apart forever?