I have a well-documented fear of spiders.
For the last ten years - AT LEAST - I have partaken in a bedtime ritual of spider-checking, just in case one of the horrible sods has managed to get into my pillowcase, and I routinely suffer from debilitating spider-related nightmares.
But despite my constant declarations of hatred, the eight-legged community has still not seen fit to stay away from me. At home, as a result of this, I am rescued from spiders on quite a regular basis. At university, however, I must fend for myself.
Today, at 4.30am, after another night of ill-advised internet-stalking, my spider-senses went into overdrive. Without even lifting my head, I knew that there was a spider on my ceiling. I KNEW. I also knew that it hadn’t been there for very long, because my peripheral vision is second-to-none when it comes to spiders.
I don’t mind telling you that I had absolutely no idea what to do.
Now, when I say I have a fear of spiders, I really do mean it. I don’t mean that I just dislike them. I am genuinely frightened of them. My entire body, at the mere suggestion of spidery activity, goes into meltdown. My heart rate elevates, I tremble, I get sweaty palms, and my emotions cease to be under my control.
So, as you can imagine, when this thing appeared on my ceiling at such an ungodly hour, my life flashed before my eyes.
After a perfectly reasonable amount of panicking, I realised that I would have to get myself out of this situation. It would be several hours until any of my flatmates were out of bed and, even if one of them did wake up, I would be required to leave the room to go and get them. As all arachnophobes know, YOU NEVER LEAVE THE SPIDER UNATTENDED. If you do leave it, even for a moment, the spider will undoubtedly disappear, and you’ll spend the rest of your life twitching and sobbing in a mental facility. Someone must always be looking at the spider. Remember what The Doctor said: “Blink and you’re dead.”
I don’t know how long I stared at that spider for. My twitter timeline tells me that it was for at least an hour. I imagine it was longer. You see, it takes a very long time to build up the courage to face your biggest fear. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to give me enough credit for what I did next.
(Anyone associated with Animal Rights may want to leave at this point.)
My laura-kills-a-spider-kit consisted of the following items: a long-handled broom, kitchen roll, sunglasses, a coat, gloves, tightly-laced Converse low-tops, knee-socks and extra-strength hairspray.
I buttoned every button on that coat, put on my gloves and pulled my socks up as high as they would go. I cut off a great deal of the circulation to my toes by lacing my shoes up so very well, and I could barely see because of my giant Gucci sunglasses. All of these things, as I am sure you have guessed, were to avoid any contact at all with the spider or any of its spidery-materials.
And then the war came.
I wrapped masses of kitchen roll around the end of my broom - you remember, of course, that the spider was on the ceiling - and climbed on to my chair, maintaining a safe distance between myself and the spider. (All of my preparation would have been for nought if I’d been foolish enough to position myself in the Drop Zone. My mother did not raise an idiot.)
And then I initiated chemical warfare. I sprayed the spider with hairspray until it curled into a ball, and then smushed it with the kitchen roll.
The battle was won.
*applause, applause, graceful exit*