A friend of mine once said that spiders are unnerving because they have too many legs and too many eyes.
I remembered this the other day as I’m driving home and happen to notice a spider on my windshield. Cute little guy about the size of a nickel—not tarantula-sized, but not tiny. Lots of legs. Lots of eyes.
I roll up my window so it doesn’t blow off the windshield and into the car.
I’ve had bees blow into the car, and while spiders don’t pose the same threat, I’d still rather have him outside than inside.
Then I notice that he’s not outside.
And now he’s not cute, and he’s definitely the size of a tarantula.
Fear creates strong memories
My emotions aren’t going to make him crawl faster or slower. They aren’t going to transport him out of the car.
There was a time when I would have actually screamed and either wrecked the car or pulled over to the side of the road and stood there sobbing. I had a traumatic experience with a spider in grade school; for decades afterward, I had a fear of spiders and couldn’t be in the same room with one.
On this particular day, as soon as I feel the panic, I remember that he’s probably been sitting there for quite awhile before I even noticed him, he hasn’t attacked me, and he seems pretty securely attached to where he’s sitting.
That’s when he starts to crawl up the windshield.
Panic doesn’t strike, but I’m definitely getting nervous.
I evaluate my choices:
I can let my imagination run wild, visualize how he’ll drop onto me, I’ll scream and wreck the car, he’ll bite me and I’ll die;
I can pull over and try to get him out of the car; or
I can just keep doing what I’m doing: Driving home.
Worry is a poor use of imagination.
I keep doing what I’m doing, he eventually reaches the top of the windshield and disappears somewhere above the visor, and I reach home safely with my yoga mat and groceries.
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