Wednesday afternoon, while driving Mrs. K to her hair appointment, the doll called me in a panic. “Okay Mom, there’s a giant spider in the bathroom, what do I do?” “Grab a shoe and smash it” I replied. “MOM! What if he jumps on me?” Trying not to laugh I replied, “Then you knock him down and step on him.” “But, oh, um, I don’t know if I can do that…” She replied, her voice hitching after every word. “Doll, calm down…it’s only a spider…” I replied.
Now the doll takes me to task all the time for being unsympathetic to her phobia and she’s right. But when I was a kid, I didn’t have the luxury to be afraid of bugs. My sister Ann Marie and I used to routinely wake up in the middle of the night and kill an assortment of swarming bugs that flew in our bedroom window. So yes, I have little care for her need to flee a room at the sight of a small spider.
“Mom, you know I hate spiders. They’re smart and shifty and know exactly how to get me…” She said now through a veil of tears. “Fine, close the door and I’ll kill it when I get home–if he’s still in there.” “Thank you. Wait, why wouldn’t he be in there?” She began to panic again. “Doll…” I replied before calling the conversation good and hung disconnected the call.
When I arrived home, the doll eagerly jumped into my car and asked if I would take her shopping. Forgetting all about the spider, I agreed. While we traveled to the store she filled me in on a few things. “Mom, dad killed the spider for us.” “Oh yeah, I forgot about all about it.” “See, Mom, you never take me seriously. I mean that spider was huge and you would have let it get me.” She admonished. “How big was the spider?” I asked. Using her thumb and first finger, she made a circle roughly the size of a Kennedy half-dollar. Seizing the opportunity, I called my husband and asked, “How big was the spider you killed for her?”
While driving, my phone plays out via the car stereo system so as he describes the size, type and genome of the poor dead spider, she began to argue over their differing opinions.
“Oh, he wasn’t that big…” He said. “Dad, he was huge!” Thoroughly entertained by the dad and doll show, I began to laugh. “The poor spider has been dispatched, that’s all that is important anyhow…” He replied. “She’s trying to tell me the spider was as big as a Kennedy half-dollar. True?” “Mom, I said about this big,” She said, reimagining the size slightly smaller than originally mentioned. “No, maybe a dime sized, if that,” Her father replied. “NO HE WAS BIGGER THAN A DIME!” She argued. “Well, all that matters is the poor guy is gone” Her father added, which we all agreed and ended the phone call.
“Mom, seriously, dad is wrong. I know. I mean, here I was minding my own business cleaning out the sink and there he was sidling up beside.” Amused I said, “Oh yeah, is that when you called me” “No. I tried to do what you and Aunt Ann told me to do the other night. I got the hand vac and tried to scoop him up but couldn’t, so I started crying and left screaming into the other room. That’s when I called you”. “Crying?” I asked. “MOM I keep telling you I’m afraid of spiders!!”
“Doll, you need to see a hypnotist or something. I mean, shoot, You’re a thousand times bigger than the spider…he really can’t hurt you…” “So long as I never have to go near one, I’m good.” She said and then shook her head and arms as if pushing the memory of being in the same room with a spider, away. “Good luck with that….you know they outnumber us…” I began. “MOM!! PLEASE STOP!! YOU KNOW I HATE SPIDERS!!”