Snakes on the Brain

I've been debating writing about this, but this whole escaped cobra from the Bronx Zoo has left me on edge. A lot of people respond by saying, "What idiot gets nervous about a snake that has escaped from a zoo miles away from you?" Well, the kind of person who was once chased by a SNAKE THAT ESCAPED FROM A ZOO. Yep. When I was five years old, my friend Tara and I were at a campsite and on our way to the pool. We took a shortcut that went through these tall weeds and we came across a gigantic boa constrictor. We started to scream and run. The snake probably wasn't chasing us, but it was coming in the direction that we were running. And I was 5 so I was CONVINCED it was out to get us. Later we found out it was missing from a zoo about the same distance as the Bronx Zoo is from me. So OF COURSE this cobra is coming to get me (makes total sense, right?).

Think I shouldn't be scarred for life from one snake-related instance? Yeah, well, when I was 8-9 my brother, his friend Andy, and I were walking from my aunt's cottage to go to the beach (apparently I should never swim). We were walking on a road and at the same time my brother and I realized we stepped on something. That something was a half-run over rattlesnake. Cue the freaking out.

Oh, let's see, there are SO many other snake run-ins that I could discuss (seriously, it's insane). Let's fast forward to me being in my 20s and cleaning my parent's basement with my mom. Their backyard is on the Wisconsin River so we'd get water bugs in the basement. We opened this small compartment where the pipes are and there were a ton of dead bugs. Since my mom is scared of bugs, I suggested that SHE vacuum them up since it would be good for her fears (what a kind, caring daughter I am). At one point there was something stuck on the vacuum, she lifted it up, and yep, dead snake. I responded like any sane, rational person by running upstairs and screaming. My brother finally had to go down and put the thing in a bag. To this day if I go down to the basement and see that door opened, I turn right around (even though my mom has assured me that the crack has been fixed). Again, the snake was clearly coming after me!

And can we talk about the people who walk around with giant snakes on them? Oh, haven't seen that happen EVER? Yeah, well, FOUR times in FOUR different places have I been minding my own business and some person is just walking around in PUBLIC with a snake. It's happened to me in a park in Hoboken, Times Square in NYC, Michigan Avenue in Chicago and the Charles Bridge in Prague. Three of those instances I was with someone and they wondered why I tore off (sometimes knocking over people), then saw the snake and quickly understood. What I don't understand is why they WOULDN'T run away?

So basically I TRY to put myself in circumstances where there is no chance I'll come in contact with a snake. When I was in Tucson with my parents, we went to go for a hike in a national park. I decided to talk to the park ranger first and the conversation went something like this:

ME: So it's too cold for the snakes to be out, RIGHT? PARK RANGER: The snakes are always out. ME: WHAT?!? DAD: Can you just tell her that there aren't any snakes so she doesn't freak out? PARK RANGER: Well, you should always be on the look out. And they are more scared of you than you are of it. ME: I doubt that.

So my parents and I went for a hike. Before we headed off, I turned to my dear, dear parents who have raised me and been there for me through thick and thin. I looked at them and said, "If we see a snake, I'm taking off and you are on your own."

I'm not sharing these stories so that other people become scared of snakes (although who isn't?). I'm just saying that this is why I'M convinced the Bronx Cobra is after me. And OBVIOUSLY it is a clear and rational thought after everything I've been through.

So may you all have a peaceful, snake-free existence and said cobra get caught already.

Oh, and does anybody have Samuel L. Jackson's phone number?

XO, Elizabeth