Here There Be Spiders--Or, Sometimes I Wish I Had A Penis

Aug 03, 2023 by HL Bernabe, in Throwback Thursday
This morning I had a fun little adventure that normally would have made me scream so loud that people nearby would think I’m dying a horrible death. To my everlasting credit, I did NOT.
But I’m telling the story out of order. Let me back up a bit.
I stayed the night at a rest area along I-135 in Kansas. After I woke up and had breakfast, I went into the rest area to use the restroom and brush my teeth. Nothing surprising or particularly adventurous there.
But! When I was sitting on the toilet, I looked down at my feet. Next to my right foot was a VERY large spider of a beautiful milk chocolate color. I would say she was at least the size of a silver dollar, or maybe even a little bigger than that. Her body alone was nearly the size of a fifty-cent piece and the legs all splayed out made her scary-big. If she had crawled onto my foot, which I dearly did NOT want her to do, she would have covered the entire toe area and part of the arch of my shoe.
In fact, the spider looked a lot like this one to the right, only maybe less markings.  Kind of like a wolf spider? I don’t know if she was a wolf spider, but she had a similar build and color. (I say she, because aren’t the female spiders always the bigger ones? And this one was HUGE.)
My instinct was to shriek bloody murder. I used to be horribly phobic of spiders when I was a kid; I would scream and jump around and grab the nearest person and demand that he or she kill it. Squishing a spider myself was out of the question—somebody else had to do it. I think I was afraid that spiders would use their spidey-sense and telepathically transmit to the other spiders that I was a bad person who squashed spiders and therefore, it was open season on me. Or some such irrationality. That and I just didn’t want to come within touching distance of the damn things. Ew.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed out a bit about them and can admire them, albeit from a distance. I still don’t like killing spiders, but can manage okay if they are small enough. Most of the time I leave them alone, though, because I know they get rid of the other bug pests hanging about. 
However, I did not invite the ginormous spider almost touching my foot into my personal space. It needed to be executed immediately as punishment. There was no way in hell I was going to do it, however, even though my shod foot was so handily near her, because did I mention she was the size of Godzilla?  Who wants Godzilla-sized spider guts stuck to their shoe?
My next instinct is to bolt when an eight-legged menace is on me or that close to me. However, since I was on the toilet, I was afraid I would literally piss my pants. This was not an option. Streams of urine going down my leg just so I can escape the titanic spider is not a good way to start the day.
What do I do? I raise up my legs and squeal, “Shoo! Go away! Shoo!”  As if a spider understands English and gives a rat’s ass about what I want, anyway. I’m sure the lady in the next stall was wondering what the heck was going on.
I quickly finished up my business, but then I had the problem of needing to wipe. Which meant putting my feet down on the ground next to the gargantuan spider, something I was loath to do. I’m just not agile enough yet to do the yoga V stance (the navasana boat pose—I had to look it up) while perched on a toilet, with my legs spread so that I can look like I’m at some sort of weird gynecological appointment while I wipe. Instead, I stretched my legs as far as I could in front of me and, holding the railing (I was in the handicapped stall), I pushed up and out over the spider so that I was standing as far away from it as I could while I was still in the stall. This movement sort of brought me back to the game of “limbo” since that’s sort of the contortions my body took to get away from the big brown, hairy arachnid. (Okay, now I’m exaggerating. I don’t recall if it was hairy, since I didn’t stare at it that closely, so maybe it could have had a little hair.) I didn’t want my torso and butt to go too low doing the limbo, because then it could jump right on my ass. So, I did a modified limbo lean like what you would do for a higher bar.
This is a time that I truly, truly wished I had a penis. It would have made this whole bathroom spider scenario sooo much simpler. I could have just aimed a nice stream right at the spider. Death by urine. How cool is that? No more spider guts on the shoe and I wouldn’t have to get close enough to touch it.
Anyway, I hastily wiped, pulled up my shorts, flushed, and shot out of the bathroom stall like I was a cannonball. I was doing my heebie jeebie dance—you know the one; I’m sure you’ve done it, too—wiggling my arms and shoulders, jumping up and down and saying, “yeeearrghh”. The other woman came out of her stall, and I blurted, “There is a ginormous spider in there! A giant brown one this big!”  I held up my hand with my fingers and thumb in a large C formation. “Did she go into your stall?”  
Her look of alarm at seeing a potentially crazy person instantly turned to a look of understanding and then back into alarm as her mouth and eyes opened wide in fear. She turned back toward the stall she had just left. “Oh, I don’t like spiders!” 
My heebie jeebie dance transmitted to her (it’s catching, you know) and we both wiggled and contorted as we washed our hands. Then we bolted out of the bathroom as quick as we could.
I survived and am proud that I didn’t screech and scream. However, I cannot completely rid myself of my phobia. I wish I could. Because spiders are kind of cool, in their own way. As long as they aren’t touching me.