Arachnophobia and Other Fears

Spiders are cool. They pose for the camera in their designer outfits. They are so much more cooperative than flying insects in that regard. They are artists, too, or at least skilled craftsmen.

Sure, there are a few kinds of dangerous spiders. Texas has nine-hundred types of spiders (all of them working full time to fill my condo with cobwebs for that Miss Haversham wedding cake decor). Two or three of the types are dangerous to humans. It's always a good idea to shake out shoes and boots that have been sitting in the back of the closet or behind the garden door for months at a time.

The macro function on my hand-me-down camera has brought me up close with spiders, and I'm anxious to learn more about them. The more I learn, the more curious I'll become, and the more in awe.

Our teaching intern is arachnophobic, but she is getting bolder being exposed to our infectious enthusiasm for spiders. When she finally got to see a spider catch and wrap its prey in silk she was cheering like a sports fan. This is her spider in action:

Phobias are irrational and persistent fears that interfere with normal life, coupled with excessive avoidance behaviors. At times in my life I've been pretty irrational and afraid of making telephone calls, and of big cities. I somewhat jokingly called these fears phonophobia and metrophobia.

I still avoid making phone calls, but I can mostly function in regular society nowadays. There are many of us out there who would rather write than call. We have the ability to edit and also to control the speed of communication when we write. Some people are just afraid their fingers are too fat for the buttons on the cell phone, or more painfully, too fat for the rotary dial. I looked at the Reverse Index of Phobias, but didn't find "fat finger phobias".

"Metrophobia" seems to mean fear of poetry, which I don't have! Thank heaven there's hope for poetry-phobic folks if they use their fat fingers to dial the 1-800 number right now.

Maybe I had metropolitanophobia, BigApplophobia, or urbanophobia. Could have been a case of SMSAophobia (fear of U.S. Census Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas). Anyway, I'm mostly over it.

Back at Eastridge Elementary I suffered from Neapolitanophobia. The possibility that three-flavored ice cream slices would be served at a birthday party filled me with dread. I knew I could eat the chocolate and vanilla, but was afraid I wouldn't like the strawberry. I was paralyzed by fear that the mom next door would yell at me for not eating the strawberry ice cream. I was creeped out knowing the whole thing would melt into one very ugly color of goo while I was worrying. I'm a grown-up now, and I can just eat the chocolate and vanilla if I want.

For most of my Wonder Years, I was truly, persistently, and irrationally afraid of moths. That is Mottephobia according to the Phobia Index. [You just thought Mottephobia was the fear of apple juice boxes!] Fortunately, the more I learned about moths, the less fearful I became.

I took these photos at the Elm Fork Nature Preserve in Carrollton today. I'm embarrassed to admit that when I saw them on my computer screen, my brain started playing an ancient recording of Glen Campbell singing "Wichita Lineman".

(Written by Jimmy Webb)

I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road
Searchin' in the sun for another overload
I hear you singin' in the wire, I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation but it don't look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

By the time I get to Phoenix I'll be over my Glen Campbellophobia!

© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

Those are some nice images, Nancy. I really like the upside down spider.


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