Primordial fear. I still remember the first time I experienced it.
I was small. Very small. I remember going into the front room.
I’m not really sure why we had a front room cos we never used it. Anyway. I went into the front room. I probably toddled into the front room….and there it was.
A gigantic, black, hairy spider.
I was terrified. Racing heart, shaking legs, vomiting sort of terror. I couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.
Sadly, my language skills weren’t sufficient to convey the primordial nature of the fear I was feeling. I probably just bawled my eyes out, but I never forgot it.
What is it about spiders? Fast forward 33 years. My youngest son is sitting in his buggy in the front room of the house we are renting. He’s a happy chappy. Fed, watered and ready for bed. He’s watching that 90’s phenomenon, the ‘Tellytubbies.’ Dipsey and Lala are singing nursery rhymes. He loves it…until a big, hairy black spider descends over Miss Muffet’s bowl of curds and whey. And then he loses it. Bawls his eyes out.
Being a bit dim, I didn’t realise it was primordial fear. I thought it might be colic, or teething pains or possibly meningitis. I was always checking for meningitis.
I didn’t realise what was wrong until the next night when we did exactly the same thing and he reacted in the same way to the hairy black spider. Then I knew.
And I truly believe we have been hard-wired since cave-man times to be scared of things which can potentially kill us. It’s nature’s way of giving us the heads up. Getting the adrenalin pumping, ready for fight or flight. Good old mother nature. Always looking out for us.
Nowadays, I’m not scared of bugs. I developed an ability to rationalise. We live in a world full of creepy crawlies. Few of them can do us any real harm.
It doesn’t mean that I love big, hairy spiders but they don’t terrify me anymore. I’ve learned to live alongside them. Besides, they trap flies. We’re allies of sorts.
Today, however, I had a bad experience. It wasn’t primordial fear. It was more face scrunching, yuch inducing sort of bad.
Please don’t read on if you are squeamish.
So, I was ironing a pillowcase. I iron pillowcases because I have a bnb and I’m expected to iron pillowcases. Otherwise I wouldn’t. I’d spend all my time writing stuff.
The pillowcase was looking lovely. Then I spotted a stain. I was fed up. Somebody’s had a nose-bleed, I thought- on my good egyptian cotton pillowcase. How inconsiderate!
(Forgive me, it’s been a long season. I’m usually more caring)
Pleased that I spotted the stain, I turned the pillow-case inside out to investigate further.
Be warned, this is not nice.
The blood was spider blood (I didn’t know they bled?? Maybe it was just gunge)
Inside my pillowcase was the biggest, hairiest, FLATTEST spider you have ever seen.
I’d ironed the poor old boy/ girl.
Being Autumn, the time of big, black hairy spiders, he’d obviously crawled inside my washing.
He probably didn’t have time to experience primordial fear before he was annihilated by my iron. I really hope not.