Sometimes the things you read about online happen to you in real life. You can deny that these things will ever happen, read the articles with a chuckle and move on about your day, but perhaps these articles are more than just stories to read on your lunch break or while waiting in line to renew your driver’s licence. Perhaps these stories are a warning for your own safety and well-being, a warning for the horrors you may be faced in life.
On April 11 2019 in the town of Cairo, New York a woman crashed her car and injured her leg after spotting a spider in the driver’s side area as she was driving. The story was reported on multiple outlets, in part because it’s a silly way to get in a car accident and as a warning to other drivers to pull over when spiders (or other things that crawl and buzz) distract and scare drivers possibly off the road. The driver was safe except for her leg injury and as Buzzfeed cheekily reported, the spider’s whereabouts were (and might still be) unknown.
On June 23 2019 life imitated art as a spider descended on me as I was driving. I became that woman.
But I survived.
(Okay I mean I know that woman did too but I came out of this horror uninjured, that has to count for something.)
On Sunday I was driving when at the top of the front window on the driver’s (my) side a spider popped out. It was crawling on the ceiling of my car on a web it had made that I only just now realized existed. I was driving down a hill and there were cars in front of me.
As the cars slowed at the four way stop I was torn between watching the spider and making sure I didn’t hit the car in front of me. Now let me make it clear that I’m not terrified of bugs, I just don’t like them. It used to be my mom’s job in the house to kill any bugs that found their way inside and that responsibility has now landed on me. I don’t like bugs, but I typically don’t freeze and panic when I’m confronted with them. I will kill them if I have to.
But this was different.
The spider was small in a fairly pathetic sense. It was bigger than the periods you’ll find in this blog post but smaller than a dime, maybe the size of a large crumb. Again, I’m not afraid of bugs but I don’t want them on me. One time I went out for a walk and when I came home and decided to take my hair out of its ponytail only to find a lump that turned out to be a June bug I wasn’t exactly calm. I got the bug off me, but hated knowing it was on me. Similarly when I was in high school I found what I thought was a sticky piece of dirt on me after a shower and when I tried to peel it off and saw it had legs I panicked and stopped for a bit before deciding to yank it off and throw it on the sink to investigate it (FYI it was a tick and I managed to pull it off my leg, head included and have so far been Lyme free which is a plus). So if dealt with a situation where I bug is on me I’ll usually just flick it off. I’ll panic a bit, but I’ll get them off as fast as possible.
This is a nearly impossible task while driving and one I was desperate to avoid. But the spider had other plans.
I made it down the hill and past the four way stop gaze switching from the spider to the road in front of me and not my mirrors or blind spots as I was taught in driving school. I started looking for a place to pull over, wondering if it would matter so much if it was a no stopping zone or if I was momentarily in front of a fire hydrant or driveway if it was just so I could kill a spider.
And then the spider fell in my face.
Well not exactly. It did fall and hung onto its web swinging back and forth near my face with the momentum of the car. And I’ll admit it, I screamed. Not loudly, though it wouldn’t really have mattered because I was alone in my car. The spider kept getting closer to my face with the car hitting the bumps in the road so I did the only thing I could think of: as I was pulling over I blew on the spider hoping it would land on my dashboard.
And it did, but then it disappeared.
And just as with Buzzfeed, the spider culprit who may have (definitely did) tried to get me into a car accident is still at large. I can hope that during our scuffle and the fall that it may have died. That’s all I can hope for at least but every time I get into my car now I’m waiting for the spider, waiting for it to crawl on my arm, to fall in my face again.
I didn’t find a body; it could still be out there, in my car, plotting its revenge.
Maybe it’s time I clean my car…
(Photo my own NOT of the spider that tried to kill me (whose whereabouts are unknown) but one I found up North a few years back and took a picture of for some reason.)