I went out to the garden yesterday for carrots and herbs for zucchini soup I intended to make. (I did, and it was fine, but not spectacular–I put too much stuff in, I think.) I noticed a small blooming flower on a mostly-fallen sunflower stalk and was pleased. I pulled up two carrots, picked some basil and sage, pulled up a handful of parsley, and walked back into the house.My hair is long, and it tickles my arms sometimes, and the herbs were also tickly. I kicked off my shoes, went to the counter, noticed my thumb was particularly itchy, and looked down–where I saw a spider’s leg tapping it thoughtfully.

The bunch of herbs flew onto the counter and I went the other way, shaking my hands from the wrists–it’s something I do when the arachnophobia hits. The spider, amber-colored and fat-bodied (maybe an orb weaver?), crawled out slowly from under a basil leaf and looked around. So did I.

I am, obviously, afraid of spiders. I don’t hate them, I acknowledge they do good work, but still I cannot function if one like that is in the same room as me, especially if it has already touched me. There is no way I could transport a spider that big on a piece of paper or similar to get it outside. And Eric was not home.

So I did what I had to do: I pulled a bunch of paper towels from the roll, wadded them up, held the wad over the poor confused spider, and–after a moment of phobic wavering–pushed it down. There was a sickening crunch and I yelped. After a moment I gathered up the paper towel that I had fortuitously laid out to receive the herbs beforehand and was now the spider’s shroud and threw it away. I washed my hands and the herbs very, very thoroughly before starting the soup.

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