For this blog post I was going to write a list of things I’m afraid of. When I got started, I realised that while there are lots of things I don’t like (such as flying), or am nervous of (such as horses’ enormous teeth-filled mouths), or would prefer to avoid (such as death), I have enough courage to confront all these things. There’s only one thing that I’m really, truly, afraid of, and it’s spiders.
Just thinking about spiders right now, I am involuntarily shuddering. When I see a spider – or at least a big one – I usually don’t see very much of it at all, as I evacuate the area as fast as my road-runner legs can carry me. My heart-rate goes crazy and my intestines clench. I once let out an uncontrollable blood-curdling scream, the likes of which I never even knew I had in me. It’s absolutely ridiculous. When I think that this is how some people must feel when they’re forced to do public speaking, all those years of school and uni presentations seem like particularly cruel torture.
Once I was in the front seat of a taxi going over the Harbour Bridge when an enormous huntsman ran across the windscreen. My first reaction was to reach for the door and throw myself onto the road in a blind panic, but as soon as I did so, the taxi driver grabbed the UBD and squashed the spider with a thwack, and it fell dead onto the dashboard. I then said “Oh! You didn’t have to kill it!”
The taxi driver gave me exactly the kind of look I deserved.