I have a serious case of arachnaphobia. In the past, I have seen doctors about it, and left when they proposed having a spider in the room and me possibly touching it. I have actually moved out of an apartment because of a spider. I have changed hotel rooms (where I was staying because I wouldn't go back to said apartment) because there was a spider.
Over the past 10 or so years, I have worked very hard to face my fears and deal with them on my own. Especially since having the kids, I try to not visibly react no matter how much I'm screaming on the inside. I don't want to breed fears in them like my mom did with me, so I even showed it to them this morning and we talked about how 'cool' it was.
Snakes? No problem. Reptiles of any kind? No problem. Insects? Don't bother me. Spiders? I get goosebumps and want to get far away. To my mind, even though I know it isn't rational, every spider is rabid, poisonous and capable of jumping several feet just to attack me. I vaguely remember as a kid having a large (in my mind) spider come down from the ceiling in our converted den / old garage and land on me. Did he bite me? I don't recall. I don't remember being particularly scared of spiders as a kid after that, but I do remember it well now so it might be the base of the adult fear.
Anyway, I've seen this particular spider twice over the past couple of weeks. The first time, I was in the backyard at night and saw an object hanging between the fence and our patio umbrella. Looked big. Ran back inside. A few nights later, as I was pulling into the garage late one night, I had driven into some of its web across out driveway, so it was pulling itself up to the house backlit by the garage lights and front lit by my headlights. VERY large (to me). I now look for that spider whenever I go out to the garage or anywhere around there. I've never seen it during the day.
Last night, I about had a heart attack. I go out into the backyard with the dogs each time right now so I can praise the Shasta puppy for going potty outside. I saw something not normal out of the corner of my eye and realized I had just walked under the web spun by that spider. This thing is, with NO exaggeration, at LEAST six feet across and just as high. It goes from our light on one side of the door, above the door, to the top of our gazebo (on the other side of the door - 10 foot gazebo) and then is also anchored at point up on the second floor of our house. I yelped, ducked down, and ran right back inside. I called Scott down to see it, where he shook his head at me and said the spider was just doing its job, hanging out near a light source to catch bugs.
Yes, I get that, but it doesn't make me any happier about it.
So, I've been trying to come to terms with the spider. Better the known than the unknown. I tried to get pictures last night, but couldn't. Today, since I can see clearly where the web is, I've been ducking it (although it's got to be a good 2 feet above my head if I stood up straight) and going outside to get pictures. I'll post them later and try to identify the spider. Really, it's only as big as a quarter or half dollar, but to me, it is HUGE and scary.
Oh! I forgot the funniest part! I'm using my 300mm zoom lens so I don't have to get anywhere near the spider. I have to autofocus on it each time to make sure I have it correct, and it makes me jump EVERY time, even though I'm expecting it, because this brown blur become a suddenly SHARP spider right in front of my eyes! My brain doesn't get that I'm viewing it from far away with zoom, but rather thinks I must be right up on the sucker. :)