Monday, March 01, 2004

Little Miss Muffet

I hate spiders. They're almost as bad as bees, a little worse than clowns. Somehow, the Brotherhood of Eight-Legged FREAKS knows about this fear and religiously sends out members to sacrifice their ugly, hairy bodies just to see me get all weirded out.

Last year, for example, I was relaxing in the bathtub, reading a book. I went to turn the page and there, on my chest, was a big black spider! I jumped out of that tub in one quick motion, surprisingly not falling or slipping, leaving the spider in the water. I didn't take a bath for 2 weeks (I DID take showers. Everyone always gets all freaky when I say that) and the spider lived behind the bath pillow, feeding on the small children that passed by my house on their way to school.

Okay, maybe not, but he was eating something cuz by the time I decided to flush him out and reclaim my tub he was GIANT! He was at least doubled in size. I drowned him, thinking that when he curled up, he would simply go down the drain and life would be good. But he was too big, even curled. So...I had to steel myself and use a cup to scoop him up. I threw him into the toilet and the second he hit the water, he unfurled! He was still alive when I flushed. For weeks, I was terrified that he'd come back up that toilet to take revenge on my ass. Literally.

Now, apparently, the Spider Coilition enjoyed that display so much, they decided to send another volunteer but this time somewhere that I'd never expect, somewhere where I felt safe from all creepy crawly creatures. Work.

I work at an electronics plant, testing chips that go into cell phones, computers, military product, etc. It's considered a "Clean Room" to some extent. We don't have to wear the Bunny Suits like the people in the fab that actually make the product. Since we're just testing it, we just have to wear ESD (electrostatic discharge) safe smocks. My area is in the middle of a giant brick building with no windows and the doors are hundreds of feet away. I always felt safe there, figuring no bees, spiders or moths could get in to frighten me.

Boy, was I wrong.

My smock has a pocket on the upper left hand side where I keep my pens, tweezers and screwdriver. I reached in one night for a pen, signed off my paperwork and went to slide the pen back in. That's when I saw it: a GIANT black spider crawling OUT OF MY POCKET!!!!

It's amazing how many thoughts can go through your mind in so short a time. This whole procedure I'm about to describe took about all of five seconds. Seriously. My first thought was "GET IT OFF ME!" My hand actually started moving towards the spider then I realized I would have to touch it. Ugh! No freakin' way! Thought #2: "GET THE SMOCK OFF!" As soon as I heard myself think that, I heard the valley-girl laden voice of my training supervisor saying, "You can't take your smock off on the test floor. That's not ESD safe." My silent reply? "SCREW THAT!!!!!"

I ripped the snaps open, threw the smock on the floor and jumped about ten feet in one bound across the floor. Now this has been traumatic enough for me, having yet another damn spider on my chest but the first time I had been alone. This time there were four other people on the floor! Only one of them had known me long enough to know that I wasn't prone to these freak-outs and that something had to have happened. He was immediately concerned. The other was a lady who had been there forever but just started working with me maybe two weeks before. The second was my new supervisor of only a few months and the third...a brand new girl. First night there and she sees some goofball screaming and stripping off her smock! Needless to say on top of my fear was now humiliation!

Lucky for me, everyone understood why I flipped. They were all scared of spiders and assured me that they would have acted in just the same manner had it been their pocket the spider crawled out of. What I believe to be the worst thing, though, is that the spider was never found.

Two of my co-workers looked through my smock and around the floor for the intruder and never found him. The floor where I work is raised and made of large tiles placed on a metal gridwork. If you lift up the tiles, you can see the old floor. I'm positive that the spider's still down there somewhere, feeding on discarded & lost chips and growing bigger and smarter...and waiting for his next instructions from The Grand Poobah of Spiders.

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