There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about the dangers of driving while text messaging. Mobile phones must be hands-free. Even iPods and other techno gadgetry are off limits. However, I can think of a driving impairment far more dangerous than any of the above: spiders.

It only takes one hot day with my window slightly ajar, and the spiders swing over and slide on in. I bet they pretend to test drive my station-wagon, make vroom-vroom sounds, turn on the radio and call in a few buddies. Then they munch on the crumbs of TimBits and Gold Fish crackers in the back of my car. For a hoot, they put their beady, bulging eyes behind my sunglasses too.

I learned quickly that Mom’s have to act cool, calm and collected around creepy crawlies. Your child’s future depends on it. If you scream like a banshee, they learn irrational fears. So I have worked at reducing my anxiety. I adopted the child-like wonder approach. I even accepted the Buddhist philosophy to be one with the bugs, and stopped smacking them with the brunt force of my boots.

Now I carefully capture and transport spiders outside. I tell my children that spiders need to know their boundaries, because we need to spiders to help the stupid house flies figure out theirs. There is peace in sharing our home.

However, I did not say we could share my car. Is nothing off-limits for these web-designing freaks?

Yesterday I was driving along, singing my heart out with the radio when along walks a spider, across the interior of my windshield. As if intentionally, he stopped right smack dab in the middle of my view. I did not panic. I instructed the little brown legged thing to move along, as I kept my car evenly between the yellow lines. I remained calm and collected. The spider sped along toward my rear view mirror, scurried down the windshield, ran along the bottom and, in record time, appeared directly in my line of vision again. Seems Spider was building himself a web in my car.

I drove straight on with even speed. Spider was not going to cause an accident. Composure intact, I continued to sing, eyes focused on the road. I would deal with Spider later. Safety first.

I’m not sure how it happened, but Spider disappeared. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is when the panic started. My imagination is cruel. Suddenly, every wisp of hair on my neck felt alive. Every piece of loose thread on my skirt too. Spider could be anywhere. If he fell, he’d be in my lap. I looked down. Of all the days to wear a short, summer skirt.

The car started to weave as I shifted in my seat, frantically smacking my legs, my arms, stamping my free foot. I am proud to say I never crossed the median or anything drastic, but I confess my gas pedal went down ever so slightly. Fortunately, it was not enough to go over the speed limit, because in that exact moment I passed a radar trap. Imagine that dialogue exchange:

“Officer, I didn’t mean to speed, but there is a spider in my, um, skirt, and uh, I am certain that I need to jump out of this car and do a very odd dance for just a moment, if you don’t mind.”

I am happy to report that Spider was camouflaged by the oil change reminder sticker in the top corner of my windshield. We parted company in a peaceful manner when I re-introduced him to the great outdoors at 80 km/hr. Ick.