I would like to request a trade. Of all the superpowers in the world, of all the amazing and practical powers that could be harnessed for good and great adventure, I got stuck with spider-dar. It’s like radar or gay-dar, but for spiders. There is no technical term, nor are there any transformative properties necessary. No go-go-gadget arms, or retractable wings, just the ability to notice spiders when I really rather wouldn’t. When nobody else does, I notice.
Now I am not familiar with the technical diagnostic parameters for arachnophobia, but I am intimately acquainted with a swift sweat, a fast heart beat, and a paralyzing fear that results from seeing one of these heinous creatures. I am a victim of the squeaky voice and unreasonable behavior that are products of irrational fears – I have dropped F-bombs in very inappropriate places, ran when I really should have walked, jumped on furniture, lost sleep, and screamed like a small girl, and all of this more than once. The thing is, I can’t help it. And with my spider-dar power, I am bound to embarrass myself quite often.
I pride myself on not being a particularly cowardly individual. I don’t spook easily and will happily throw myself into situations deemed foolhardy or dangerous by many. And if it’s critters we’re talking about, I’ve caught snakes for show and tell and raised rats as pets and am generally intrigued by most other animals from scorpions to mountain lions. I’d rather just be normal, to live in relative ignorance of all the eight-legged horrors all around me. That way here would be fewer blows to my ego as I call in back-up while balancing precariously on the crest of some arm-chair avoiding the pathetic Daddy-Long-Legs on the opposite side of the room.
But I have learned to live with my fear and have come to accept my superpower – better to spot the monsters than be spooked by them. After years of sleeping with Raid by my bedside I have even come to be comfortable killing a select few with tissues – if they are of the appropriate size (smaller than my pinky nail, legs included). When I travel to South America, I can mentally prepare myself for the onslaught of arachnids. I expect the tarantulas and can blame myself for invading their territory. But not here. Here I never saw it coming and this is my house. This is my territory. Sure it makes sense that in the rainiest city in the country there is an exponential increase in the number of insects that will thrive in the fertile environment. It just never occurred to me that I’d be snuck up on by spiders in my closet, over my bed, in my bathtub, and creeping across the living room floor. I didn’t see it coming but now with my spider-dar I can’t seem to ignore them either. No, I seem to see every blessed one and with each sighting the heart races, the sweat beads, and I inevitably end up embarrassing myself.
It’s emotionally exhausting.
Damn Seattle. I will tolerate your rain but take back your spiders.
Or at least let me trade in my spider-dar. There are so many more practical uses for x-ray vision or flight…..