18 June 2008

Why Did It Have To Be Snakes?

First off, just let me say for the record, I have no beef with snakes. I like them just fine. Behind glass. I find snakes to be fascinating, beautiful creatures; I enjoy watching nature documentaries on them, reading books with the kids about them, looking at them at the zoo or children's museum. I have been known to hold one or two on occasion (these were other people's well-fed and lazy pets - no freaking way am I picking up a "wild" snake Crocodile Hunter-style). Live and let live is my motto, and I like the snakies to live far away from me. That being said, I think what I find so skin-crawlingly repulsive is the element of surprise. Snakes are unpredictable. And fast. Oh, and some of them could kill you.

The Fearless Freak, after a nudge from yours truly, wrote about her recent encounters with the slithery kind. I feel a little guilty for badgering her into it, so I thought I'd share one of my own snakey stories.

Frank and I had been married for two years and we were renting an old, somewhat well-maintained house in Urbana. I was teaching English at my old high school and Frank was beginning his search for a job in the computer gaming industry. We had one car.

One day Frank picked me up from school. On the way home he says to me, "Whatever you do, don't go in the basement."

This immediately made me suspicious. "Why?", I asked.

"Just don't go in the basement."

"Is there a snake in there?"


That's all I needed to hear. I was ready to abandon our house and move into a hotel.

"How did a snake get in the basement?"

Frank said, "I was mowing the grass when I saw this thing on the sidewalk by the back door. I thought it was a hose, then I remembered we don't have a hose. I tried to chase it off, but it reared up, looked at me and slithered into the crack in the foundation."

"Oh, Holy Christ," I said, picturing this big ass snake in our basement, which was probably a harmless garter snake but that's beside the point. I pictured it slithering between the floor joists or curling up on the washing machine making itself at home. Then in my mind's eye I saw it creeping up the stairs and into the kitchen where it would make its way to our bedroom where it would eat one of the cats. My blood ran cold. You may recall I have a very fertile and active imagination.

Thank God it was a Friday and I didn't have to be anywhere on Saturday because I did not sleep that night. Really. I stayed up reading and freaking myself out about the effing snake in the basement.

Around 3 a.m. I realized I needed to use the bathroom - that was on the far side of the kitchen. I'd have to either go upstairs or pass the basement stairs. I tried not to touch the ground as I walked out of our bedroom and ran up the stairs, used the facilities (all the while picturing a snake in our toilet a la urban myth) and ran back to bed.

After that little incident, we did our laundry at the laundromat. I didn't go back in that basement for the duration of our lease and after a stint in a second floor apartment, we haven't lived in another old house.

No more legless visitors, please.

1 comment:

The Fearless Freak said...

AHHHH! Seriously, that is what I live in terror of. Especially since we live in the basement and I don't have the option of not coming down here. At least it wasn't an though!