Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Southern Belle vs. The Serpent

This is one blog post I had hoped I would never have to write.  Now, all I can do is hope it proves to be therapeutic, since I don’t want to pay a professional to talk me down off the table, so to speak.

So, the first thing you should know is I have a deep, abiding, soul-gripping fear of snakes.  (If you do too, you will probably want to turn back now.)  I have no idea how it started, but I’ve had recurring nightmares about snakes since I was a small child.  I can’t even abide pictures of snakes.  (BTW, thanks to all my family and friends for forwarding every picture of every snake that lands in their email.)  And it seems like every time I switch to the Animal Planet channel, sure enough, they’re talking about snakes.  Note to Animal Planet:  I’m not paying to see snakes.  I’m paying to see furry critters.  Fewer snakes, more furry critters.  Get on that.

Having grown up in the southwest, I am always on high snake alert and abide by all the rules - Don’t sit on a rock without checking behind it first.  Watch where you’re walking.  Always carry a hoe to the garden and check thoroughly before reaching down to pick something.  Pay attention and listen.  Make some noise, because snakes don’t like surprises and will generally react badly.  (A tip which does double duty, because it also serves to scare off any big furry critters of the bear variety in the area.  Not that bears have been a problem in the garden, but you can’t be too careful.  Seriously.)  You know that scene in the “The Parent Trap” with Hayley Mills where the twins convince the prospective evil stepmother to bang two sticks together to scare away critters in the woods?  I’ve never gone to that extreme, but that’s looking a lot less ridiculous today.

Of course, walking around the house and garage doing that could be a little awkward, because I didn’t run across a snake in the woods.  Oh, no.  My close encounter of the snaky kind was in my garage.  Perimeter breach!  Sound the alarms!  Call the movers!  No, scratch that.  Don’t call the movers.  We’ll just buy all new stuff later.

Okay, so, here’s what happened.  Last night I opened the utility room door – very carefully, as usual, because in the past I have encountered centipedes and scorpions out there – to go into the garage.  I have learned to take those in stride, but I don’t like surprises either.  A couple of days ago I put some of those glue boards out there, because I noticed an influx of critterage, probably because the weather is cooling off and they’re looking for warmer digs.  So, I looked over to check the glue boards and was beyond horrified to see a SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!!  Not stuck on the glue boards.  No, of course not.  Don’t be ridiculous.  It was going AROUND the glue boards and slithering {shudder} along the wall.

Wait!  {blink-blink}  Am I really seeing that?  Yes, I’m really seeing that, and it looks suspiciously like a coral snake.  Is it?  Isn’t it?  I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!  And there’s no time to Google that crap! But, if it is, that’s a bad, bad thing.  I think they’re even classified as vipers, pulling information from some deep recess in my brain reserved for those horrible trivia tidbits.  {shudder}

I opened my mouth to yell for my husband, and then I remembered HE’S AT A MEETING!  I’m home alone.  So, I gave myself a very brief pep talk.  “Crap!  I have to deal with this all by myself.  Where’s my hoe?  There it is.  About four steps over there if I take really BIG steps.  Don’t think.  GO!!!!!”

I don’t even remember taking those steps.  I just remember grabbing the hoe which I had, thankfully, put back in its designated place the last time I used it, taking aim and whacking the snake and then whacking it again.  I’ll spare you the gory details.  {shudder}  But let’s just say that snake looked a whole lot better to me when he was disassembled.  {shudder}

I decided Hubster could deal with the remains.  I was done.  So, I retreated to the kitchen door, still holding the hoe, and looked around for any other intruders.  Seeing none, I took a deep breath and immediately started shaking.  Honestly, I have never experienced shaking like that in my life.  Not on turbulent plane rides, not when I was checking my car for bombs when we were stationed in Sardinia, not when I was going into surgery.  Never.  It was so bad I couldn’t even hold a wine glass, much less get the cork out of the medicinal wine bottle.  That’s bad.  Good grief.  Get a grip, Woman!  Slowly, my breathing returned to normal (was I holding my breath the entire time?), the shaking stopped, and then the euphoria hit.

Southern Belle, my arse!  Hah!  I am a Warrior Princess, Baby!  {Insert pumping fist in the air here.}  Hear me roar and watch me swing a sword!  Okay, so I didn’t roar, but I didn’t run screaming like a little girl and I didn’t freeze.  And my sword was actually a hoe.  Oh, and replace those super cool knee-high leather boots with fuzzy pink slippers, and you’ve got the picture.

And there I was, perched regally on the sofa, when Hubster came home.  As soon as he saw me, he knew something was up.  I launched into my serpent-slaying tale, all the while watching his eyebrows shoot up on his forehead and his mouth fall open, because he knows the full extent of my snake phobia.  I truly think he thought I was putting him on, until I led him to the garage and showed him the evidence, whereupon he looked at me in awe.  He looked at me for a long minute and finally said, “That is HUGE for you!  Talk about facing down your fears!  Wow!”  Then he grabbed me, hugged me, and said he was proud of me.  Actually, he did that several more times over the next hour.  By George, I think he really is proud of me.  And so am I.

I could launch into some boring, preachy, moral of the story thing here, but I won’t.  I’m just saying you might be amazed what you can do, if you just do it.  Now, get to slayin'!

Oh, and pay no attention to the hip waders I’m wearing and the garage floor covered in glue boards . . .

A little snake humor to lighten the mood ~