I was watching Buffy and having a nice evening with some wine and a curry. Then I looked at the clock and realised it was quite late. I turned off the computer. I turned on the light.
And there it was, hanging on a scarf across the room. A big black juicy spider.
So I did what any sane person would do: dressed only in my pyjamas and socks, I made a small shrieking noise, took a deep breath, and ran past the spider, out of my house and into the street.
Where I stopped and looked around. It had been raining and I was standing in a cold puddle. It was almost 1am and all the shops were closed. My downstairs neighbour’s lights were off, and my friend who usually catches spiders for me is away.
I walked to the end of the street, socks getting slurpier with puddle water all the way.
I crossed the road and walked up to the hotel: the only place that still had its lights on.
I knocked on the door. A white-haired man in a suit pushed it open a little way, and I gave him the speech I had been rehearsing in my head:
“I know this is going to sound insane. But is there anyone in the hotel who isn’t afraid of spiders?”
“I’m not afraid of spiders,” he said.
“It’s just that there’s a really big one in my living room, and I live just across the road…” I gave him the please-help-me look.
“Where do you live?” he asked, and I pointed to my house.
He nodded, locked the front door and came around the back.
As we were walking back to my house all sorts of scenarios were running through my mind. I’d seen this guy a couple of times, I was pretty sure he was the owner of the hotel. He definitely wasn’t drunk and he seemed nice. But seeming and being are two different things. I was, essentially, leading a strange man back to my house. At 1am. When there was no one else around.
He went into the living room while I hovered just outside the front door. The spider dropped onto the floor and ran around for a bit before he managed to step on it and squish it. Then he asked for some tissue and I pointed to the box on the coffee table.
He wrapped it in tissue and then asked where my bathroom was: “Shall I flush it down the toilet for you?” I agreed, and pointed out the room at the end of the hall.
When he emerged I thanked him profusely and he left. I’ll have to go to the hotel bar and buy him a drink to say thank you, I thought.
Then I went to use the bathroom, and upon opening the door realised that I’d got undressed in there earlier, and there was a pair of knickers right in the middle of the floor. He would have had to step over them to get to the toilet.
Maybe I won’t buy him a drink after all. Maybe I just won’t show my face anywhere near the hotel again.
Seriously though, I really need to get over this fear of spiders. I can just about deal with small-to-medium ones, and I don’t mind tarantulas. But those big house spiders with the long jointy legs? Uh, no.
Any ideas? Have you overcome arachnophobia? How’d you do it?