When I was an early teen, I had a fairly healthy fear of spiders built up. We've seen evidence of this in previous posts, but this story is one of the instances that morphed my fear into a downright paranoia. It will also explain why people saying "But THIS spider is just a baby" sends me into a rage.
Our cottage had a rowboat, a canoe, and a small one-person sailboat that my dad would take out. I am coordination and balance challenged, so the rowboat is the obvious choice for me. I wanted to go out in the lake on my own and just chill out and float, but I was afraid there might be spiders in the boat. If I were trapped on the lake with a spider, one of us was probably going to drown and it probably wasn't going to be the spider that kicked it.
My dad, although groaning a bit about my phobia, took the rowboat into the lake and tipped it a couple of times, so it was soaking wet but all the spiders would have been flushed out. I buckled into my life jacket, grabbed the oars, clambered in, and made my way out to sea.
I was out very deep when the eggs full of baby spiders hatched.
This picture is how I remember it looking.
Within a minute, there were baby spiders running all over my arms and legs. I did what any girl with a huge fear of spiders and an ingrained terror of what would happen to her if she swam back to shore without the rowboat would do.
I started screaming.
Who knows what everyone on shore thought, watching me row in, screaming hysterically and shrieking and hitting myself and rowing in like a shark ate half of my leg.
My family ran out to the sandbar to catch the boat right before I bailed out of it in a sobbing fit. One huge dive into the lake and I started thrashing around in hopes that baby spiders aren't very good at holding on through a human rollercoaster. I stayed in the lake for a long time, diving repeatedly and crying. I haven't touched the rowboat since then.
Lessons learned? Spiders are everywhere but especially on boats. Water makes baby spiders hatch. Do not go anywhere where you might be contained in a confined space with a spider. Baby spiders look like monster spiders when you are trapped with them. Boats are not my friends.