First of all, I don't like the term "arachnophobia". Wikipedia says this about phobias:
A phobia is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject.
I reject those words "irrational" and "unreasonable". If I were afraid of clouds (Nephophobia) or puppets (Pupaphobia ) or hard-ons (Medorthophobia, I kid you not), then yeah, I'd own up to my issues, but spiders are different. Being afraid of spiders seems like a healthy fear to me. For example, do you know how many species of spider are venomous? It's a trick question. The answer is, ALL OF THEM. They're not all dangerous to humans (supposedly), but they are all venomous. It's one of the defining characteristics of spiders. If you're calling yourself a spider but you aren't venomous? Sorry pal, but you're a crab.
Anyway, Google "spider bite photos" sometime and see how unreasonable my fear is. Spiders are unlike anything else on the planet. They are creepier than bugs, they have four pairs of eyes, and here's a fun fact that you might not have known: they don't have extensor muscles in their limbs. Instead, spiders extend their nasty little legs using, no joke, hydraulic pressure. They are like the most horrible little cyborgs imaginable. If archeologists were to one day discover a tiny little spaceship buried in the rock from millions of years ago, and it turned out to be the craft by which the first spiders came to Earth from some bizarre alien planet, you might be amazed, but you probably wouldn't be skeptical. Honestly, part of you would be saying, 'Well, yeah, that actually makes sense."
Spiders. Man oh man. Okay, moving on.
Late last night, I was outside by the duckpond, enjoying the night air and the big wicked moon rising over the trees. What I was NOT doing, apparently, was watching where I was going, because as I walked through the gazebo next to the pond, I walked right into a gigantic spider web.
If you've ever done this, you know that it is an indescribably terrifying physical sensation. I don't care if you are some sort of weird spider-loving nutbag, there is something primal and awful about feeling that stuff on your face and in your hair and immediately wondering where the angry, venomous monster who built it might be at that moment. There is just no way to be cool at that particular moment, either. I don't care if you're Samuel Jackson. You will do the spazzy panic song-and-dance, and your voice will go up an octave.
Still, I was handling it okay. Until I felt something on my face, scratchy little poking things that I realized were a big spider's crabby, horrible little feet.
That's right, friends. I HAD A SPIDER ON MY FACE.
My reaction was probably what you might expect. I had my phone in my hand, which I apparently tossed into the darkness. I might have been swearing, but honestly I think I was just making incoherent howling noises. I swatted furiously at my face, and I felt it. I hit something that felt like a pebble and saw it hit the sidewalk.
It was one of those big wood spiders, with a fat body the size of a grape. Fangzilla sat for a moment before activating its weird little cyborg hydraulics, extending its nasty little legs and storming around angrily, looking for the giant dumbass who destroyed its home while squealing like a little girl.
I found my phone fairly quickly, despite the fact that I was still punching myself in the head and muttering "GET OFF ME, GET OFF ME!!!" I went inside, cleaned all the web off my head and my glasses, and spent the next hour alternating between the heebie jeebies, the willies, the shivers and the creeps before finally going to bed and embarking on the inevitable dreams where I just keep walking into web after web until the alarm went off.
I don't really have a good ending for this story, but then, that's probably fitting, because for me, this story never ends. For the rest of my life, I get to wake up every morning and say to myself, "Oh, hey, remember that night when I had the giant spider on my face? Yeah, that was pretty fucking horrible..."