Friday, December 7, 2012

Arachnaphobia vs. Paranoia.

     What do most people think when they see a large spider while they're in the shower? Probably something along the lines of "OH MY GOSH KILL IT KILL IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Or, maybe they're a screamer, creating a scene rivaled only by that infamous one in "Psycho". Perhaps they just get down to business, and silently kill the thing in a rush of adrenaline-fueled terror. They could just throw water on it in hopes that a sudden deluge will cause the monster to reel in its foul appendages, curl into a ball of horrid arachno-meat, and simply wash down the drain.

     What do I think when I see a huge spider in the shower?
"I hope that's not one of those government-run arachno-cams..."

    Now you must be saying to yourself, "Chibi! I thought you were a semi-normal, reasonable person! Why on earth would you entertain that crazy notion that the government is watching everyone with cameras everywhere, especially with cameras hidden in the form of spiders?!" And the answer to that is that I don't totally believe the whole government-big-brother conspiracy theory. Not totally. Now, where would I get a silly notion such as the one mentioned above? I'll tell you.

     One time, on the subway (all crazy stories start like this, on the subway. That's how you know it'll be crazy, because it was on the subway.), I was sitting next to this homeless guy. That's fine, that kind of thing doesn't bother me. The guy then turns to me, though, and of course that's when things got interesting. He asked me what I thought of spiders. I told him ordinarily I'm not too concerned with them. To which he responded, quite enthusiastically, "But spiders are the things to watch out for! You can't take them too lightly!" At this point I assume he's an arachnophobe, and will warn me on the dangers of stepping on poisonous spiders and the like, and assumed he'd tell me how all humans swallow at least 8 spiders while sleeping in the course of a year. I told him "It's alright, I don't mind the non-poisonous ones, and I'm careful with the dangerous ones". His eyes widened, apparently incredulous to my naivety regarding the issue at hand.  He proceeds with "It's not poison-non-poison that you have to worry about! IT'S THE CAMERAS!!" Now whenever a transient-type mentions cameras, you can brace yourself for a deluge of paranoid talk about the government, occasionally spiced with tinges of racism. But this was a different twist; spiders? Really? Not knowing how to proceed, I just said "oh yeah... the cameras...", sort of hoping this would pacify him for a while. No dice. He piped up again, "YES THE CAMERAS! The government created the idea of spiders as a cover-up for their hidden camera program. ::it should be noted that here he told me the exact name of the program; however, I cannot recall it, as it was both a lengthy and ridiculous name::. All these years, the government's been telling us in schools that spiders are 8-legged creatures that eat pests, they help gardeners, yada yada yada. WELL THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS SPIDERS!!! The government only wants you to THINK there are so they can plant cameras in robo-arachnids everywhere to monitor the civillians!" ...This went on for quite some time in an alarming amount of detail. At first, I was incredibly amused as to this man's seemingly inane ramblings. But as his spiel progressed, I became more and more intrigued. The amount of thought and detail this guy put into his theory was fascinating, and, I found myself allowing my thoughts to entertain these crazy ideas for a while. If you sort of shut off part of your brain, it all sort of makes sense, it all seems entirely plausible. For a moment, I allowed myself to believe in this idea that there are, in fact, no spiders, just millions of little government-run robo-arachnids with little cameras attached, monitoring civilian life. Why they would want to watch civilians everywhere as they shower is beyond me; this is America, there are many people that you would NOT want to see in the showers. But what if...

Eventually, my stop arrived (last stop of the whole subway ride, as luck would have it). I said good-bye and disembarked from my delusional friend. I walked through Union Station, decided to have a drink and sit in those lovely, ancient chairs. As I slumped down into the chair, enjoying my complimentary ice-water, I looked to the chair next to me. In the bottom corner, right near the floor, one of those tiny little red "spiders" was weaving a web between chair and floor. I looked at it, watched it silently for a while as it spun it's "web" (most likely a surveillance network of tiny wires transmitting satellite signals, possibly doubling as a charging station. These robo-arachnids don't have unlimited energy, and they're not fueled on flies like the gov't would lead you to believe, you see.) The crazy-talk that I had just listened to for almost an hour on the train rolled around in my head as I watched the little thing, tottering around on the web it was making. I sipped my ice water, and decided to head out. As I walked out of Union Station, I laughed to myself at the absolutely complex insanity that the man had led himself to believe; I marveled at his misled genius. I dismissed what he said as just that, insanity.

But I suppose you could say that there would always be remnants of the cobwebs of the theories in my mind... Because every time I encounter a spider now, my immediate thought is "Oh gosh I hope that's not the government...".  Right after that thought leaves my mind, I laugh to myself, recalling the ridiculous incident on the subway, and find myself amused that I would fall into that paranoia, even for a second. I immediately kill the spider, though. Half because I don't want those things running around my house, robotic or carbon-based may they be. The other half is because if that guy was right, about the robo-arachnids, I don't want the government robo-spiders roaming my house and watching me shower.

Mostly, though, I kill them because whatever they are, they certainly don't belong in the shower.


Note: The above stories are completely true, I have not exaggerated the content, merely paraphrased where necessary due to failing memory. 

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