Snake Attack!

My husband is frightened of snakes. Not too unusual you might think, lots of people are frightened of snakes. But he is not just frightened, he is terrified of them. The official term for this is Ophidiophobia, not to be confused with Oneirogmophobia which is the fear of wet dreams. I knew he didn’t like them but I really didn’t think he was quite so neurotic. Honestly, I don’t like spiders and here I am living in a place where there are scary Black Widows lurking in the garage, and their females eat their men-folk, for goodness sake! In fact, one even started crawling up my leg last week when we were spring cleaning and I didn’t make a fuss … well, actually I screamed blue murder but then they are deadly. One time we were driving out to the beach and my husband nearly drove into a ditch just because there was a snake on the road. What did he think it was going to do, jump up and attack him through the truck window?!

His phobia has meant that I tend to be on the look-out for the slippery fiends wherever I go and probably stopped me from stepping on a rather large one that slithered across the path when I was out walking our dog one day. Stupidly, I told my husband about it when I got back and he immediately assumed it was a rattle snake and told me I was lucky to be alive. I tried not to laugh as it looked more like an innocent grass snake to me, but he had the last laugh as he absolutely refused to come with me to this particular beauty spot ever again. Finally, about a year later, after I repeatedly assured him I seen no further snakes, he reluctantly agreed to accompany me. I was delighted and off we trotted, the dog happily sniffing in front of us. We had not gone more than a few hundred yards when, lo and behold, I spotted a greeny-brown snake curled up on the side of the path. It was only tiny but I nearly wet myself. Desperate for my husband not to notice it, I quickly diverted his attention to a ‘fascinating’ squirrel up a tree and luckily we were past the danger without him even realizing. He’s used to my unusual conversational quirks so didn’t really take much notice, but I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen anything for over a year and the first time he comes out with me, there’s one on the ground at his feet. What was he, a snake charmer? I was on edge for the rest of our walk and was just beginning to relax as we were on the way back, strolling through a meadow, enjoying the sunshine and actually having a conversation that didn’t include children. Stubby, our aptly named tail-less dog, suddenly became overly interested in a bit of shrubbery and my stomach lurched as I realized what she’d seen. There, in full view, were not one, but two enormous snakes. Huge, slithery, slimylooking specimens, entwined around each other and on closer inspection it looked to me like they were, for want of a better expression, ‘getting it on’. Good grief, bonking snakes!

This time, I was not able to come up with any clever distraction tactic and there was this awful moment of horrified silence as he spotted them and stopped dead in his tracks. His reaction was a bit extreme, even for him. The whites of his eyes showing in terror, he turned on his heels and ran, yes he actually ran (if you knew my husband, you would know that this is not an activity he engages in on a regular basis!) back the way we had come, leaving me in a cloud of dust, screaming at the top of his voice, “Snake, SNAAAAAAKE!” The little old lady with her small pug dog coming up behind us nearly had a heart attack and even Stubby stopped her investigating of the scaly serpents to look up and see what all the fuss was about. Not knowing whether the legless lovers were poisonous, I quickly put Stubby on her leash and dragged her away. We finally caught up with my husband, who was red in the face and shaking, and had to walk the long way back, carefully inspecting the ground for any more life-threatening reptiles, all the time being berated for putting him in this terrible, dangerous predicament. Needless to say, he hasn’t been back since, nor will he. Ever again. < Sigh >

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