The day I learned that snakes could swim was the day I stopped believing in a kind and merciful god.
I was in college and my friends and I decided to go swimming in the river one Saturday. It was a good time, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself until I turned my head to see a creepy little snake with its creepy little head poking over the water as it slithered its creepy little way towards the bank. It wasn’t swimming towards me or even really near me, but that didn’t matter. I freaked out and scrambled towards the bank like Jaws was on my heels. Suddenly I was sure that there were dozens—no HUNDREDS—of the scaly bastards slithering through the water that had, a moment before, been a type of paradise. And all the time I just kept thinking “They can swim? Who let them swim? How is that even okay?”
I’m not the only person who’s frightened of snakes. In fact, I’m better off than most people. Snakes don’t really bother me as long as 1) they’re not looking at me and 2) I know where they are at any given point. I don’t care if it’s a garter snake or an anaconda—if it surprises me, I’ll be halfway down the trail before you can blink. I know that that’s the wrong thing to do—you’re not supposed to make sudden movements. You can tell that to my brain once it catches up to my feet.
My husband sometimes talks about getting a snake for a pet. That’s fine. Knock yourself out. But if I ever come home and you tell me that it’s roaming free in the house—I’ll be sleeping in my classroom until you find it, thank you very much.
Ugh. It gets worse. There are stories, videos and pictures all over the internet about snakes coming up through someone’s toilet. Yeah. Now I hover-pee. Thanks for that, internet. Thanks so much.
I’m not even really sure why snakes frighten me. I don’t think I was frightened of them as a child. My mother is terribly phobic, however, as was my grandmother. Is it possible that it’s a learned trait? If so, can I… unlearn it? Because that would be great.
Seriously, though. Swimming snakes. Is nothing safe? -_-