Like most able-bodied adult women, I live in fear of intruders. The doors and windows to my apartment are always closed. When not in use, all vents are sealed shut. I've even strategically placed towels under doors and windowsills to ensure that those eight-legged creatures won't find their way in despite all my precaution.
Yes, I'll openly admit it: I am arachnophobic, and I don't think it will ever change. It started when I was 7 years old. Specifically, I was 7 years old exactly; at the sleepover I threw in celebration of my seventh birthday, a brown recluse spider bit me in the night and caused me to spend my actual birthday hooked up to monitors at a hospital.
The doctors told my mom I could have lost my arm or my life if she had allowed me to go to Kids Playland and eat cake with all my friends. As you can imagine, this experience soured my feelings toward arachnids.
Since then, I've leapt away in fear every time a spider has invaded my space. My mother killed spiders for me when I lived at home, so all I had to do was spot the little guy, run screaming across the house and she'd come running with a heavy book or a shoe.
I wasn't so lucky in college, where I befriended a number of people who severely judged me for killing -- or, rather, arranging a hit on -- spiders. "We're all God's creatures," one of my friends told me after I saw a garden spider in the corner of my room. "You should treat this guy like you'd treat me."
I wanted to ask her if she'd been attacked by one of these Godly creatures on her seventh birthday and if she'd missed out on most of her birthday party because she was being stabbed in the arm with an IV, but I chose to let her capture the arachnid and release him outside instead.
I lived alone in college, forcing me to face my eight-legged nemesis on more occasions than I can count. This, I think, is why I was so excited to move in with my boyfriend after graduating.
Finally, I thought, I'll live with a person who loves me enough to kill spiders at will. After all, I thought the jig was up once I left my mother's house. And I was right. Like those nutty people I met in college, Gideon does not believe in killing living creatures. He, too, prefers capturing them and releasing them back into nature.
To make things worse, he's so nice to the spiders when he does this.
"Hey buddy," he'll tell a spider as he places a cup over it. "Are you ready to rejoin your friends?"
It makes me sick, and it makes me sicker that I feel bad about trying to kill spiders when Gideon isn't home. This past Friday, in fact, I captured one of those baby wolf spiders and put him under a cup inside the microwave until Gideon got home. I didn't feel comfortable releasing him myself because I felt like his friends would know who I was then and would come for me.
Another arachnid graced me with his presence Saturday. After trying to capture the guy, I freaked out, dropped the cup and the spider spilled onto the carpet, where he hasn't been seen since. I know I didn't kill him. I know he's still on the carpet waiting for me to pass.
I thought about burning down the apartment to ensure the spider won't get me but quickly realized that my renter's insurance likely doesn't cover arson.
Maybe they'll understand if I just explain why I had to do it. No, no, that would be ridiculous. They wouldn't buy that, would they? But then again, anything is possible.
If you see me at Walmart trying to buy fuel and matches, please stop me.
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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com