One day my son’s car was in the shop, so I offered to drive him to the bank. We had just gotten down our street when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was descending on a thread from the roof of my car just to the left of the steering wheel.

“SPIDER!!!! There’s a spider in the car!” I shrieked, jerking the steering wheel to the right as though I could somehow drive away from the thing even though it was inside the car. This actually had the positive effect of moving us over to the side of the road, which was probably a good idea so I didn’t end up explaining to some police officer why I caused a 10-car collision because I was threatened by a man-eating spider the size of a freckle in my SUV.

Sadly, I have a long history of being arachnophobic, which is the fear of spiders and not the same thing as arachibutyrophobia, which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

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It all started when I was 11 and felt something tickle the top of my nose while I was sleeping. I swatted at it, thinking it was a fuzzy, and fell back to sleep. The next morning I woke to find a dead spider next to my pillow. A big, dead, hairy spider. It was at that point that I decided that spiders were out to get me and I have slept with one eye open ever since. Of course, this makes me look like a cyclops, which is an even scarier image for my husband than any big, hairy spider.

So, now there was a big, live, hairy spider in my car and it was blocking my exit on the left or I certainly would have abandoned my car and my son to escape its six-legged clutches. I slammed on the brakes and leaned over until I was in my son’s lap.

“Let me out,” I demanded, fumbling with the passenger door.

“Oh, jeez, Mom,” he said. “Just grab the thread and toss it out the window.” My son is not afraid of big, hairy things. At one point in his youth he even wanted a tarantula as a pet. I, of course, threatened to quit my job as his mother if he did this and, thankfully, he decided against the tarantula and got a lizard instead. Lizards eat spiders, so I thought this was a win-win situation.

Summoning all my courage, I leaned back over, lowered the window and grabbed the thread as told. But when I did, the spider instantly dropped to the floor. Or my foot. Or my leg. I couldn’t actually see where the thing went but I knew none of the options were good ones.

I shrieked again and started stomping my foot frantically. I wasn’t sure if I got the spider, but I certainly killed the floor mat.

Eventually, I ran out of steam, sat back and started the car up again.

“Good for you, Mom,” praised my son. “You confronted your fear. That’s great!”

He beamed at me and then looked around. I had turned the car around and was going back the other way.

“Hey, where are we going?” he asked. “I thought you were taking me to the bank?”

“I am taking you to the bank,” I replied. “Right after I go home and swap cars with Dad.”

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