I was dreaming that I was in line at the mall about to buy the last Almond Joy on the shelf when my full bladder woke me up. I was sooo close, I thought as I walked to the bathroom. I could practically taste the combination of chocolate, coconut, and almond in my mouth (seriously, it’s a thing of beauty). I sat on the toilet with a sleepy thud! and as I peeled back the toilet paper from the roll, I felt that something was amiss. Eh? I caught a movement right in front of my nose, and with crossed eyes I discovered the ghastliest of sights – A SPIDER! It was upside down, suspended by an invisible line, its many brown legs scrambling upwards.
“Aaaawaaawahhh,” I screamed as I swiped at it, sending its little body flying through the air. I sat there, completely still, unsure of where it landed. The itching all over my body began almost immediately. I flapped my arms in the air, trying to loosen myself from the invisible web. I looked my body over in the mirror and found nothing. I took my hair out of its bun and tried to scratch out the spider. Nothing but dandruff. I considered waking up my dad at four in the morning so he could find and destroy the spider den I was sure was hidden in the bathroom. I tossed and turned in bed for a solid thirty minutes before I fell back into Almond Joy sleep.
Today, I wonder why I reacted the way I did. After some consideration, I will attribute it to uncertainty. Was the spider on me?! Had it bitten me?! Was it trapped in the wilderness of my hair?! Was it in my shirt?! Was it going to hatch baby eggs in my ear?!
We are comfortable with certainty. Being sure of things makes us confident. But the minute we feel uncertainty, we scream, lose sleep, scratch our skins off, and want to wake up the entire neighborhood so that they come to our rescue. The minute I lost sight of the spider I lost my common sense and composure. I regressed back into the five-year-old me who thought all spiders were tarantulas and out to turn me into a vampire. Or Spiderwoman! (I didn’t want all the responsibility that comes with great power, I didn’t!)
When I think about it, the spider was so small that I could have squished it with my pinky. The little guy was probably out just trying to catch his lunch for today. He wasn’t clinging to my pajamas, he was probably hiding in the corner of the bathroom floor, his little heart ready to burst out of his little hairy chest after I brutally smacked it down. My mother says spiders are a sign of good luck, and I believe her. So, apparently I scared off the measly bit of good luck I had left. Great.
In the grand scheme of things, many things in our lives are spiders. Events and people and occurrences are tiny little bathroom spiders who look far scarier than they really are. Many times we find ourselves trapped in sticky webs, unable to find a way out. It’s simply a matter of crossing paths at the wrong time. Sure, sometimes they do bite our asses and send us to the ER, but unless you live in the desert, they’re more often than not just minding their own webby business. All we have to learn is how to differentiate the common spider from the vicious black widow spider, how to keep our shit together when we stumble upon one, and how to detangle ourselves from the webs.