It all started out peachy. Mister C was off looking for garden supplies, and the toddler and I were strolling through the hardware store—him in the trolley seat—when we came across a little petting zoo. My first thought was, ‘Aww!! Bunnies!!’ My second thought: ‘Bunnies in a hardware shop?’
Well, in any case, the toddler loved the bunnies. I loved the bunnies. Mister C had returned to us by then; he loved the bunnies. We all loved the bunnies. And there were chickens and guinea pigs, too, and there were lizards and there were… snakes?!
Well. I froze.
Mister C’s eyes lit up. The handler had offered him a hold of one and, my Mister C— that guy is up for anything. He’s certainly no crocodile hunter and thankfully his sense wins out over anything too radical, but snakes? Yep. He could do snakes.
Me, on the other hand—no. I don’t do snakes. At all. Ever.
So I remained frozen.
Goose bumps prickling the skin, frozen.
Eyes filling with irrational tears, frozen.
Just writing about the moment is making my neck shrink into my shoulders. But I said I’d share the moments, and here was one that really took me down. Irrational or not, I was petrified of the squirmy, tongue flasher.
Mister C’s face creased with concern for me and as he juggled the moving snake, he did his best to joke my fears away. The snake handler, a young guy, could clearly see my eyes were welling, too.
‘Oh, don’t worry. It’s perfectly safe. I wouldn’t have brought the snake if he was aggressive,’ he said, with a friendly smile.
I felt sorry for the guy. He could not have foreseen this rather odd encounter with an overly anxious, hater of snakes.
‘I know, I’m sorry,’ I said, cupping my cheeks. ‘I trust you. I just, umm, I don’t even know why I’m so scared of them. It’s so silly!’ I shook my head and hooted out a laugh that said I’m okay, I’ve got this.
I really was trying. And I truly could not understand why was I so afraid of this snake, when all my rational thoughts were telling me that there was no way that anyone would bring a dangerous snake to a hardware store.
I walked away from the moment feeling relieved, and a little bit silly.
Well, mainly relieved.
I also came away from it thinking that I’d like to do something about conquering my fear of the dreaded snake. A hardware store just wasn’t the place for it. But next time, I would make sure to take a step toward the snake, instead of shrinking backwards.
And who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be the one holding it.
And yes. My eyes just filled with irrational tears as I wrote that.