Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Tale Of The Boobspider

Warning : This post contains spiders and scenes of nudity which some readers may find disturbing.

I have long believed that any television show, movie or book that contains spiders should carry a warning.  It bothers me when you're sat there watching something like The One Show * and all of a sudden your television screen is filled with footage of a gigantic arachnid.  Of course it's not really gigantic but today's gimassive televisions make even the smallest of house spiders look like Shelob.

* Maybe The One Show was a bad example.  I mean, you never know what you're going to get with that fruit machine of a programme.  One minute you've got Gyles Brandreth wittering on about philately and the next you've got Phil Tuffnell having a go at burlesque dancing while a bemused Hollywood A-lister wearing a perturbed and slightly manic look on their face sits next to whoever they've dragged in to present the show. Yes, The One Show is like televisual potpourri.

But I digress.  I do seriously think you should be told if something contains spiders.  Long term readers know that I have a proper full-on fear of the eight-legged creatures but now I'm going to tell you why.  Why am I telling you why?  Well, because a lot of you seem to like my anecdotal, lengthy blog posts and some of you have asked for more of these (how bizarre!) so I am giving the people what they want.  That's why.

So, dear reader, fetch yourself a cup of tea, coffee or beverage of your choice, pull up a chair and I shall begin .....

I've always had that "Oh no! It's a spider!" attitude to spiders.  Most people do, don't they?  (Especially female people.  That's a fact.  I read it on the internet.)  But I can remember a time when I wouldn't break out into a cold sweat, have trouble catching my breath and generally behave like an absolute nutjob in the presence of a spider.  Once, when I was in my late teens, I was babysitting a friend's child and I can remember playing Sonic The Hedgehog on their Sega Mega Drive while the child slept soundly upstairs and a rather large spider sat on the floor near me.  It kind of bothered me that it was there but not enough to have a total freakout about it.  If there was a spider on the floor next to me now I would be out of here like a shot, screaming like an idiot, flailing my arms about and  slapping myself.  I do that.  I slap myself when I see a spider.  I slap my head, my face, my arms and any other parts of me that are within slappable reach.  I also wring my hands and cross my legs and now I shall tell you why.

For my twenty-first birthday my family and I went to Center Parcs.  There was me, Mum, Dad, my two sisters, my boyfriend and my sister's best friend, Jon.  We had a big villa and we were there for fun, cycling, swimming, the 'Jardin Des Sports' and a thoroughly ace time.  (I know most people have a huge party for their twenty-first birthday and they get really drunk but I don't really like parties and I hardly ever drink.  Yes, I am a square and I always have been.)  Our villa was in the midst of a pine forest.  I had no idea at the time that spiders love pine trees. They can't get enough of them.

We were a couple of days into the holiday and one morning I got up and went into the bathroom to do my morning ablutions.  I switched the shower on and while that was warming up I set about brushing my teeth, washing my face and shaving my moustache.  (Yes really.  I am a brunette, after all, and I know I'm not the only brunette lady in the world who takes a Gillette Venus to her upper lip.)  I was only wearing a dressing gown at the time and I felt a tickling sensation on my left thigh.  I thought it was the ribbon inside the dressing gown (the inner ribbons that you're supposed to tie up so that if the outer tie fails you don't inadvertently give the postman a flash of your ladybits when you answer the door to him in the morning but that nobody ever actually does do up) brushing against my leg so I ignored it and continued with my de-Freddie-Mercury-ing.  I realised something wasn't quite right when I felt the tickle again, this time on the left of my stomach. I froze.  My heart started to beat faster and my breathing became more rapid as I felt the tickle move up towards and across my chest.  It was a bit like that scene in Dr. No where you see the shape of a tarantula move underneath Connery's bed sheet.

I knew it was a spider and I knew it was a big spider at that.  I'd seen a couple in the villa already and they were massive.

I didn't know what to do.  I started screaming.  I threw off the dressing gown and I was stood there completely starkers with a huge - and I mean huge - hairy spider on my right boob.  I went absolutely crazy.  I couldn't touch the spider so I started slapping my boob in an attempt to knock the spider off.  (I do apologise.  I've just given you the gift of the image of me naked and slapping my boob and that is one heck of a rubbish gift.  I'm sorry.  I have no receipt so you can't take it back.)  The bugger wouldn't shift and my boob was starting to smart from all the slapping so I grabbed a flannel and whipped the spider off and onto the floor.  By now I was a naked, blubbering, screaming, hysterical wreck and I could hear my Mum pounding on the bathroom door.  I looked at my dressing gown in a heap on the floor and decided I couldn't put it back on because there might be another spider in there.  Boobspider could have brought his mates along for all I knew.  So I looked around the bathroom for a towel to cover myself up with - there was no way my Mum was seeing me in the nude.  Thing was, all the towels were hanging up drying over various radiators and chair backs all over the villa from where we'd been swimming the night before and I had stupidly forgotten to take a towel into the bathroom with me. This whole towel thing would have been an issue with or without the spider trauma.

Anyway, the only things to don were my dressing gown which was a no-no and a flannel.  A facecloth.  A square of fabric that wouldn't cover anything.  
So I opened the bathroom door to my Mum and she was greeted by a red-faced, teary-eyed  me in a contorted hunched up stance.  I was covering my boobs with my hands in that FHM front cover "Oooh, that's right, I'm hiding my nipples" style pose and my elbows were clamping the flannel in front of my lady garden.  I sobbed "Please can you get me a towel?!"  and Mum went off and came back with a big Maxwell House 'Get The Max' beach towel (that she'd got free by collecting the coupons off the coffee jars) and she wrapped me up in it and gave me a big cuddle. When I'd calmed down enough to tell her what had happened she went into the bathroom, located Boobspider, picked him up and put him outside and then she did a spider check in the bathroom for me, shook out my dressing gown and after a cup of tea I was finally calm again.

So that's what really made me hate spiders.  Fortunately, Chris is okay at handling them so whenever I get one in my shed he'll come and remove it for me.  I've had to train him.  My Dad is the best spider remover. I used to wake him up in the middle of the night with a "Dad! Spider!" and he'd be there in a flash to scoop the arachnid up in his big Dad hands and throw it out of the nearest window.  He would then perform a spider check and declare the room safe and totally spider free.  I need to teach Chris to do that last step.  It's important.  And yes, I know that devices like spider hoovers and catchers exist but I can't use them.  I literally cannot be in the same room with a spider.  It's a proper actual factual fear I have.

As much as I can't touch, look at or and handle the thought of a spider being near me I don't like it when people kill them.  They've every right to be here and squashing them is just cruel. I mean,  have you seen their webs?  Those things are beautiful works of art.  There's plenty of room for humans and spiders on this here planet.  I just don't want them near me.  

Or on my boob.

EDIT : I'm aware that this is a lengthy post with zero pictures.  I did Google for some, like a spider web or maybe that cute spider from the CBBC Spider! series of yesteryear but every time the image search loaded my laptop screen was suddenly full of spiders and I had to click the cross to clear them all away.  So I do apologise for all the words and no pretty pictures. 


Cassandra said...

What a great story teller you are! I recognise all the feelings you describe as if I were there with you. I'm sure your lovely Chris will soon add the last step to allow you to resume breathing at a normal rate!

Jewelry By Jessica said...

Oh yes I know the spider scream, run, and slap very well lol. I can not stand spiders! I cringed just reading this lol. I could seriously read your blog all day you are so funny. I hope you do more post like these I love them :0)

SilverNikNats said...

Laura I serously LOVE this post!
I did as I was told and sat down with a cup of coffee (& couple of penguins) and started reading....
I know all about the body slapping thingy and I am compltly fine in the presence of spiders!!!
As long as
A) I know they are there (hate suprise spiders) and
B) they do not under any circumstances what so ever, touch me!!!
I can even scoop them into glasses to get rid of them (if I do a risk acessment) but if one touches me the flaping, slapping and screaming starts folowed by feeling sick and then feeling very weak!
I blame my mums friend! when I was younger I over heard some thing they were saying about a tropical spider laying eggs underneath the skin from then on I was scared for life!
Good luck with teaching Chris!

Jessica said...

I too have had a similar experience, in my case I thought the 'tickle' was a hair on the back of my neck, when I felt it again on my chest there was a big spider in danger of going down my top! (Thank god that didn't happen.) Luckily I managed to knock it off and I'm afraid to say that I picked up a big catalogue and squashed it.

I'm not normally a fan of killing them either but I couldn't believe the cheek of the thing. This incident happened while I was living in Northern Ireland, and over there between late August to February it's Spider Season, and they have some whopping great spiders over there.

Very funny story by the way, hopefully it wasn't too traumatic to recount!

Helen G said...

Oh Laura, you have made my day, I haven't laughed so much in ages :-D

Courtney said...

I so needed that laugh right now! I am sorry it was at your expense. I too, hate spiders. My kids laugh at me when I scream and make them get rid of them.

Hope your day is better.

Gardanne said...

"Ladybits" and "LadyGarden" are now officially a part of my vocabulary.

Sue Doran said...

I get why there's no picture of a spider (or ladybits) but perhaps a spider's web ... or even a towel would've done! '-)

PS Weird that you mentioned Freddy Mercury in this posting concerning events at Center Parcs, last time I was at Center Parcs (very long time ago), he died - odd (and very sad).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for brightening up my day Laura! I hope those pesky arachnids keep clear in the future, although it does make for a hilarious post!!

Laura said...

Glad it's given you all a giggle! Thanks for your fab comments.

Sue - I just ran a Google image search for 'spider web'. What do you think filled my laptop screen?! ;-)

Laura x

Sue Doran said...

Oh no, sorry - I feel bad now! ;-)

Pretty Things said...

OMG. ((Starts flapping her hands at invisible spiders.)))

Helga Hansen said...

Hehe, sorry, but I did laugh when I read this. I've lived in Africa, and there they have plenty of spiders (and scorpions) who get *everywhere*!! You get into a habit of flushing the loo before you use it (in case they ventured in while you were sleeping), and after finding one in my toothbrush mug, I also got into the habit of rinsing it out before having a drink.

The funny thing is that even now, after living here for 13 years, I still rinse the mug out in the middle of the night, before I fill it with water to drink! :D

PS. I am one of those odd female people who aren't scared by spiders, but I do believe in giving them a wide berth! I also don't believe in killing them, and will always "rehome" them outdoors if I find one in the house.

Patty said...

What a story! Thank goodness you weren't hurt. :-) I had a similar experience where one got up my pants leg, and I felt the tickle and ignored it. I really, really do not care for that feeling at all.

Val said...

Hello Laura - after three attempts with hair standing on end and feeling physically sick I actually got to the end of your blog. I am so pleased that I did because I thought it was amazing - what a great read. As you know, I have a severe spider phobia and I have quite literally passed out at the sight of them. What is it about them? I hate the thought of killing them and yes they can live anywhere in the world but not in myy house. Last week my very brave husband managed to capture one in a glass and he wanted me to hold it whilst he climbed into an upright position. Clear glass+spiders+me is a very bad combination and I was unable to go anywhere near it - I just froze.
Thanks for a fabulous blog.

bucketofuzz said...

Cannot tell you how much this made me howl!! Flummin' love your posts, and share your spiderloathing :)


Shaiha said...

I just have to share this with my husband. He is that afraid of spiders also.

The only time I have ever heard him scream was when a spider made it's way into his robe. I had to go rescue my 6'+ hubby from the itsy bitsy spider.