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Women are finding snakes in the houses. Before you assume this is just a colorful metaphor implemented to slam their male counterparts, I want to assure you-it is not. Honest to goodness snakes are finding their way into our homes.

I shudder even as I write this. There are stories of snakes under the washer/dryer, under the boiler, basking in the sun in front of sliding glass doors and behind drapes. There are snakes hanging out the radiator and in closets. These stories come from both clients and friends- always women. It figures. We don’t do well with slimy stuff.

While these snake stories cause me to shudder, it was not personal until this week when a neighbor came running over to inform me that she saw a snake slither out of my garden, cross the street and disappear into a neighbor’s shrub. I casually asked, “How big was it?”(Referring to length) and she responded “as big as my wrist.”

I felt my stomach lurch.

The idea of a snake in my garden is a little creepy but the idea of one in the house simply flips me out.

There is the surprise element; ever come across a snake in your garden? Notice your startle response and possible ear-piecing scream (C’mon, I am not alone with this experience, am I?).  Snakes are like adolescent boys, lurking in dark places, just waiting to jump out and scare the you-know-what out of you. I cannot imagine the heart stopping response I would have to –I dunno- let’s say stepping on one in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.

And then, perhaps, because I am a lover of rules, snakes in the house piss me off for breaking the rules. Stay outside in your world. Don’t invade mine.

You get it: I am not a fan.

Still I dismissed the wrist sized snake-after all, it was crawling OUT of my yard and going to relocate somewhere else. Occasionally though, the thought of that slimy reptile flashed through my brain as I put on my watch and imagined my wrist covered with scales.

Just as the vigilance was beginning to fade, my second snake jolt occurred.  I was in the yard pulling weeds, in a very “Zen” mood, when I came across a pile of small egg shell bits that were definitely too tiny to have once incubated birds. Snakes!  It was as if I had found a pile of empty beer cans and cigarette butts tossed among my hydrangeas. How dare you use MY yard to party and procreate?

Now it was time to mobilize. I began making calls-asking questions- trying to find what would keep them away and yet not harm the dog(FYI- Sulfur is effective but could hurt the garden; mothballs will do the trick but could kill the dog-So, I am still working on this).

After a morning of phone calls and commiserating I find that snakes are as polarizing an issue as anchovies or Rush Limbaugh- you either love ‘m or hate’m. The advocates are quick to point out that most snakes are harmless (notice the “most”) and are good for the garden as they keep out insects, mice, etc. Blah, blah, blah. The other faction of the populace offers a small sound of disgust followed by a murmur of sympathy and I can tell they are as freaked out as I am as they rush to end the phone call ASAP.

So, I am wearing shoes in the house, I am watching where I step and where I sit. I examine my sheets before climbing into bed.  I will not go in my basement.  Some remedy is needed…and soon.

*****

Friday- the snake whispers arrived today. Or snake charmers, if you will. Actually, they are two college students hired to do some yard work for me. I am eager to hear their pronouncements and remedies for my snake problem.  I have remained vigilant about “the problem” for two days and so their arrival is greeted with much enthusiasm and relief.  I take them to the scene of the crime-a flower bed littered with empty shells. One of them picks up a specimen to examine it; he puts on his glasses (something I did not do) and I watch in disgust as he turns it over and over in his ungloved hand and then with some small hesitancy- as if he is trying to figure out how to break some awful news, he announces, “I think these are Styrofoam-you know those packing pellets they use for shipping fragile items.”

Relief and mortification flood my entire system simultaneously. Embarrassment colors my cheeks. I attempt recovery with a self -deprecating remark (ha, ha?) and then, like my nemesis itself-I slither off to hide in the shadows of my house.

It doesn’t take me long, though, to laugh at this- my jumping to conclusions, my assumptions, my run away brain, my overactive imagination and the catastrophic scenarios which multiplied without mercy. For all the time I spend working on NOT making assumptions- the universe again laughs as it sends me a quick reminder. Keep working on it-you aren’t quite there- yet.

 

© 2013 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986. She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. CJ on the 18. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    There is a lesson to be learned here but not until i cease laughing!

  2. Johanna on the 18. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    Snakes are the world’s creepiest things. I would make all the assumptions in the world just to make sure one didn’t get in my house. UGH.

  3. Sharon on the 19. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    Thanks Donna for making me laugh! I just hope I don’t dream about those slithering creatures. I hate snakes with passion. Makes me think of my EX!

  4. Ann on the 24. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    Just this week as I was leaving in my car and opened my garage door (with the door opener) in my car and I look in my rear view mirror to back out and what hanging from my garage door, was a snake! When I got out and closed the door it slithered somewhere in under the molding on my door. Not going to look for it! Yuk…I know how you feel, but your story was more humorous.

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