It pains me to even write that word, and I’m only going to type it into the title. From here on in, I will refer to it as IT. Even seeing the word typed, there, in the title box, sends my inside ablaze with sheer fright. I cannot even use the ‘s’ word. This is a bona fide neurological disorder, it is not just a basic phobia like say, I do not particularly have a passion for wasps, I will at least dodge them and not melt into puddle of girl. I can deal with wasps. And moths, even the larger menacing ones. Really. Call on me in your emergency and I will gladly offer my assistance. Generally, I am not fussed with wings, mainly due to the fact that with a bit of patience and guile, I can direct them out of the nearest window.
But crawling crawly grounded items of life with a propensity to happily ascend and descend at ninety or hundred-eighty-degree angles, are not comforting in the least. I will tell you from where this indestructible fear stems.
As a curious and genius baby, I was walking at six months old like a normal person as long as I was holding a hand so Mother and Father tell me when they are reminiscing, I would open and rummage through cupboards dotted about the house and generally tip the entire contents of the drawers on to the floor as you would expect a child to do, keeping the shiny or beady things (such a magpie even at that age) or moving them to locations I could not divulge since my parents were unable to understand my babbling language. Mother, of course, would be slightly furious with me, especially, and I can imagine, if she had just tidied everything away and then along comes me, pulvarising the neat organisation.
Mother had a cunning and intelligent plan using her artistic skills. She drew many various-sized ITs on many various-sized self-adhesive labels and applied these labels to any conceivable surface she thought I would wish to investigate. I have also just remembered the term I used to call ITs and it can only have been coined by my parents. Mother and even my aunts and uncles would call BOOBAH and point to the picture of IT as if it were my mortal enemy and I would literally run away crying into the arms of my Father.
This does not sound scary now, but as a child, I am sure you can imagine how real and terrifying it all must have been. I should have been more resolute and retorted Mother, you drew a picture of a spider? You will just have to be more imaginative than that, however, clearly, one-year-old Babble gave into the fear and petrifying stupor that befuddled me in my teenaged years. Mother openly confesses the fault of this trauma lies with her evil tricks.
I would holler UMMMMMMMMMMMMMI JIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII from where I had been invaded, and always so unexpectedly, out of nowhere, IT would apparate. For no reason. Why must IT make its appearance known to me, why can IT not happily lurk in dark places where there is no need for me to be, for example, under the sofa. Ignorance is bliss. If I do not know IT is there, I will quite happily lounge. If IT appears, I will sprint to the other side of the room and sit like a statue until IT is removed because then and only then, I know I am safe and I will not be molested as it accidentally crawls on to my foot, or something. Or drop on to my head or face from the ceiling, ugh, worst possible nightmare.
I remember in my childhood, ITs used to be much larger and scarier and hairier and more awful in colour than today. I do not understand how or why, and frankly I care not, but I am grateful ITs are not as monstrous as they were back then, but still, I scream. I recall a few scenes for you…
One time (not at bandcamp), there looked to be some random-coloured mangled bit of thread on top of the laundry basket in the bathroom until it started MOVING and I could not get up quick enough from the toilette flailing my arms and running into the house screaming (downstairs bathroom was kind of an added building). Another time, in the upstairs bathroom which was supposed to be the nice bathroom, just by coincidence, from the corner of my eye, I saw one on my shoulder. It was HUGE. I actually nearly died. I am actually shuddering at this very moment. I swore this would not happen to me again until unbeknowingly, I aired my bed and as I did so, IT appeared underneath my duvet, I had slept with it for god knows how long in the night. ARGH.
I refuse to have discussions that centre around them, I leave the room if possible or shutdown my ears because lo and behold, as soon as IT is mentioned, I am constantly on the lookout but IT only appears when I least expect it and scares me half to death. Like yesterday.
I had a furniture delivery and I can only think, IT was in the parcel, it could have come from nowhere else. I had a gigantic chestnut brown leather ottoman arrive by DHL (finally, I have been so patient the last six weeks) and on initial thoughts, it was for my bedroom. This is where the ottoman remained after I fought with the impossible packaging, the box was nearly twice my height.
Reconsidering the feng shui of my bedroom, I moved the ottoman into the lounge and reverted to my room to sort some laundry. I separated the colours when I thought I saw something near the cuddly toy duck and cuddly toy bear on the floor. It did not register. And then I had another glance. Still not registering. It was like my brain had deleted the image of IT from my head so I no longer knew what one was. All of a sudden, out of the blue, my brain engaged itself and I SCREAMED in terror jumping back four feet on to my bed behind me.
Dilemma, I live by myself. No-one can save me. Not Mother, not Father, not anybody. It was approximately 8:30PM. I stared around it for a long period of time thinking about plausible options, memory checking everything in the flat that I could potentially utilise in order to remove IT without i). actually touching IT, ii). without IT escaping into a hidden gap somewhere.
I repeat I cannot handle them. I touched a tarantula once when I was at primary school only because Mr Expert was present. I am not one of those who can scoop IT up into a glass and then place it outside, the pane of glass between me and IT is not enough. The closer my proximity to IT, the more hysterical I am. I literally cannot bare to hold, even in a box or tissue or anything. I simply cannot.
The items on my list of things in the flat that could potentially save me from IT, was not to my advantage. All this while, IT was crawling all over my beloved duck and bear (in corduroy dungarees the cutest thing you will ever see) but at least IT was still in plain view. The penny dropped. The plan was to trick IT to crawl into my wastepaper basket which was lined with a bag, then move the basket out of the flat past the gigantic ottoman packaging (I stared at it evilly, This is your fault ottoman!) through the front entrance thus leaving the basket in the corridor until morning when it will have disappeared somewhere of its own accord. This plan had to be undertaken with military precision, you think this is funny. It was at least 10:00PM by now, I needed to sleep, in peace!
I did not want to use the existing liner though as it was stuffed with cotton wool, I wanted to make damn sure IT was out of my flat, I was not taking any chances since the last time my box-effort (I boxed IT in a cereal box after emptying the cereal solely so I could use the empty box, 750g Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, there was no way IT was crawling out of there whilst I was holding it only to find a few hours later, IT was still in my room unless IT was ITs twin fricking sister.) Usually when I disappear to find the net of choice (in this case empty bag from the kitchen), upon returning IT has found a new hiding place and will frighten me at another inopportune moment so I was quite reluctant to leave my room even though I would much prefer to be anywhere but the room.
(I kid thee not, as I am writing, a tiny money IT has just crawled across my desk but it is tiny so IT will not send me into a dementured frenzy).
I race to the kitchen and hurriedly search for the roll of white plastic liners, grabbed a giant knife and rushed back into my bedroom. I tip the freshly-lined wastepaper basket on to its side and rolled it towards the now not-so-cuddly-but-crawly stuffed animals. I looked at the knife. Why did I bring a knife? Am I going to chop it up like an onion and make a curry from IT. I carried on looking at the knife wondering what on earth I was thinking, shrugged my shoulders and used it as a ‘pokey’ thing. Handy.
I gently nudged (so as not to stab them muttering sorry under my breath if the ‘poke’ was too sharp) the crawly with the knife in an attempt to manouvre IT into my foolproof trap. IT continued to crawl everywhere but where I willed for it to be. And then, THEN, as if IT knew about my trap, IT ran into the gap between the wall and my open door (held open with doorstop).
Please, will you just get into the bin and I can take you out and you will be happy.
I was now talking to IT.
IT was not listening.
However, the adrenaline that IT must have been feeling after it ran down the length of the skirting, worked in my favour as there was another gap by the doorframe which would have lead IT into my hallway. I grabbed the bin and laid it on the outside of the door and blew on IT from three feet away behind the door to encourage IT to walk into the plastic bag.
Come on already, I am going to actually set you free.
IT thought about things for a minute or so, and made the right decision by moving itself into the bin. I waited at least fifteen seconds before tipping the bin right side up so IT had no chance of unexpectedly slipping out into the shadows. I could hear the soft tsh-tsh-tsh-tsh-tsh-tsh-tsh-tsh of all eight legs against the plastic liner as it was travelling through the white jungle. Using my pokey thing, I then pushed the bin outside with my knife sliding it across the carpet all the way through the corridor, fire door, past the lift, towards the fire exit door and staircase into the furthest corner possible from my flat and tipped the bin over once more to release IT into the wild.
I ran to my flat with joyous glee saving myself from hideous catastrophe. It was 10:30PM, I had lamented over IT for too long a time, none of my house-chores were completed and it was time for bed. I should really see a lobotomist to fix my psycho-neurotic behaviour.