Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Black Widow

I have two irrational fears
  1. Aliens stemming from the time my parents took me to see E.T. in the movie theater, and
  2. Spiders stemming from God knows where.
While there is an entire post that can be written about me and my relationship with aliens, alien movies and how my friends and family have tortured me over the years, the events of today insist that I write about spiders.

My house has always been a magnet for tons of spider activity. In particular, the bedroom that I grew up in seemed particularly popular. Although he deems my fear irrational, my brother can at least attest to these two facts. I have never imagined it. I have, however, imagined quite a few outrageous scenarios involving spiders and their obsession with me.


I suppose it is best to begin with SpAN, more widely known as "Spiders Against Nicole." This has been a growing group of spiders thoroughly amused with my reaction toward them. They hold regular meetings and have their recruitment office in my basement (which is why there are always so many spiders in the basement). They work out who is going to sneak up on me, when they are going to do so and what kind of trick are they going to pull when I finally see them. Some popular moves that, I believe, have been planned in advanced over spider-committee include:
  • the Mission Impossible/SWAT team drop
  • the raising of one leg in my general direction
  • the stand completely still so she thinks you are not alive until she gets really close
  • the jump
  • the run across the windshield while she's driving
On occasion, I do believe that SpAN has invited humans into their web of trickery. My mother and boyfriend (now husband) once spent about a month placing a super-scary looking spider cut out from a magazine all over the house, in my lunch bag and anywhere else I might find it and scream. This, undeniably, was an action that was instigated by SpAN!

The Greatest Fear of All

The one constant in all of my spider fears has singularly fell with the impending doom of my someday encounter with a Black Widow. I learned about how frightening a bite from one of these venomous girls can be and I was terrified. I feared that every spider I found was a baby black widow. After having their fun with me, friends and family would assure me that I need not worry as long as I stayed in New York - black widows live in South Western United States, they love the heat. I tried to take this to heart.

Then someone told me the IKEA story. In short, a couple bought a plant from IKEA and brought a black widow home with them. For YEARS I did not walk through the plant section of IKEA - I REFUSED. I would run through their shortcut lanes and say a little prayer when I got to the other side. I did not want a black widow on me!

I was ridiculous. I continue to be. Two days ago I was out weeding in my backyard when a wolf spider jumped out of the weeds I pulled. I jumped a mile high and started throwing the weeds around. I told the spider to, "Go live somewhere else! I am trying to get some work done!" I must have looked insane to my neighbors.

I keep trying to be strong, but it doesn't always work. Fear is a funny thing.


Fear or no fears, the sun came out again today, so I set out to finish what I started in the backyard. My backyard is a huge mess, so there is a lot to do. I won't bore you with all the details, but at around 2pm, I came upon an overturned red pot that I was not sure if I should keep or not. I decided to turn it over to see what condition it was in. Here's what I found:
Do you see that large black spider?
Perhaps you need a closer view...
Do you see how shiny it is?!?!
I had a very strong feeling I knew exactly what kind of spider that was sitting right in front of me here in New York City... My husband came home and decided to take a closer look
It wasn't as sunny anymore. I was trying to get the abdomen in this picture.
What is not visible in this picture is the very fancy red hourglass on this lady's abdomen. Guess what that means?
We captured her.
The New York City Department of Health advised that I keep her alive until the Environmental Investigation unit can come by to check her out and do an investigation of the area she was found. She is pissed off, in her jar in my shed outside. All I know is that I am not going to be the one that opens that jar!

Anyway, I always knew this day would come.

I think Sp.A.N. really outdid themselves this time...



  1. OMG why you Nicole??? What an outrageous story!! I too have a few irrational fears, one being ventriloquist dummies. Particularly Charlie McCarthy who is on display at the Museum of American History in DC. Every time I walk past the glass case I quiver and feel the need to spit and/or run. Strange. Good luck!! PS what neighborhood are you in so I can stay away? lol

  2. This cracks me up! My brother had this one particular dummy given to him by our Aunt Suzie that TERRIFIED him! He is convinced that any back issues he now has is because of the years that he intentionally slept on one side so as to not turn his back on the dummy during the night.

    When my mom and I asked why he never got rid of it he simply answered, "I was afraid that it would come back." Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been? (I literally laughed out loud as I typed it.)

    I think fears are pretty hilarious. I have them. They are terrifying, but I think I get my greatest laughs from them as well! You have to remember I am a mathematician, I operate in LOGIC and LOGICALLY the level of my fears are laughable!

    As for my neighborhood, New Springville. And, while the NYC Environmental Investigators have decided they do not handle black widow spiders, they did call me back to ask first for my zip code and then specific address. I think they might be sweeping the area!! :P

  3. I am thinking that it might be S.p.A.S for spaz! It could stand for snakes or spiders. Fear both of those and heights! You crack me up! The black widow doesn't but you do! They also live here in the south along with brown recluses. My history teacher in the 7th grade got bit and I remember watching his skin rot! Gross!