7…8…9…10… Exhale… Whew, ok it’ s gone. I just saw a spider!
You see, I have this condition called “arachno-oro-phobia.” Granted, I made the term up years ago, but it is real. Basically, it’s a fear of spiders (or any bug, for that matter) crawling into any open orifice of your body. I sleep fully clothed for this reason, and the fear increases when I am sleeping because I have no control of keeping them out.
Growing up in Hialeah, I saw my share of creatures, and I noticed a few interesting characteristics about bugs. Most importantly, they can squeeze and fit into the smallest of areas. Because their brains are the size of a pinhead, they could care less. Now, most of you may think I am crazy, but I believe they know exactly what they are doing. They realize we are terrified of this, and they get pleasure from it. They have nothing else to do, so it’s a big game to them.
My latest run-in with these pesky varmints happened on US 441. I was headed south, going about 70mph. I was in the middle lane, my wife was with me, and I was on my Harley! During the ride, I notice a slight itch near my left ear; I reach up with my left hand to scratch, and realize I’m wearing a full face helmet. Ok, no big deal. I can live with this until we get to our destination.
The itch started to get a little more annoying, but still manageable. That’s when the realization set in. I could physically feel a spider in my helmet, moving all 8 legs rapidly toward my ear. My wife, at this point, is clueless, and so are the other drivers speeding by both sides of my motorcycle. I am trying not to panic, but things are not looking good. The spider is in my ear, head first. It decides to turn around and nestle itself down into my ear canal. I can feel its abdomen making its way down, and its legs pushing itself further in. Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, it starts to bite! You have to understand that all of this is happening within a matter of seconds. I’m wondering, if I lay the bike down going 70mph, can I manage to kill the spider? Knowing my luck, the spider would walk away unharmed, because it was protected inside my helmet. Of course, my wife and I would be dead, but that didn’t bother me as much as the spider surviving.
And if I do survive, will my patients still come and see me with a deformed ear? I am convinced it is a brown recluse injecting its flesh-eating poison with its fangs. I can’t pull over because the traffic is too heavy. My wife is still clueless because I am doing everything humanly possible to keep my head together.
I was finally able to pull over into an abandoned parking lot. What happened next is still a little fuzzy (one of the side effects of arachno-oro-phobia is amnesia), but what I do know is that the spider did not survive. As a matter of fact, it was unidentifiable. This caused a problem later because I was not able to confirm the species, and who knows if any eggs were laid. The next 2 weeks were touch-and-go as I waited for my ear to fall off. My wife doesn’t talk it about it much, and she is the only one with a memory of what happened after we pulled over.
Arachno-oro-phobia is real my friends. If anyone else suffers from this, I feel for you. All we can do is just be prepared. Don’t let hats or helmets sit in your garage unattended, and please make sure you have snug fitting underwear at bedtime.
Have a great week.