ophidiophobia: (noun) a fear of snakes
My skin is crawling.
I am sitting in our charming little den with a charming vaulted ceiling with nothing but charming candlelight and the cloak of night... and my skin is tingling with fear, all because of that first line.
I've always known that I didn't like snakes. I would state it with the same displeasure as "I don't like the smell of Freesia" or "I hate it when toilet paper rolls out from the back of the roll." While I love animals, snakes have always seemed unpredictable. They're speed and power are not to be tested. Exactly one week ago, I learned exactly how much I do not like snakes. Scratch that. Exactly how terrified I am of snakes.
Leading up to our move last weekend, I had gone to our place to drop off some things. On both occasions, our landlords/neighbors were there completing landscaping, so I was able to chat with them about the property and the town. I'd spent over an hour with them during both visits, because I wanted to get to know them. While talking to Chris last Thursday, I remembered something that Mr. TBS and I had wondered about.
"Is there anything we need to know about in terms of bugs or critters? Obviously, there are a lot of mosquitoes in Houston, but do we need to worry about ticks or anything?"
She explained that there would be more mosquitoes than in the city, because there is a creek nearby. She said not to worry about ticks at all. "Just wear bug spray if you're going to be outside all day." And then she said, "But we do have copper heads." Seeing my unaffected expression, "Do you know what copper heads are?"
"No." I was expecting her to describe flying beetles.
** Sweet baby pandas. I am getting the willies just typing this.**
And this is where everything started to kick in. I'm talkin' rising body temperature, a ball of heat dropping from my head to my feet and climbing again. My impulse was to pull in all limbs like a tightly wound ball of yarn, but my legs wouldn't move. My mind started playing tricks on me. I felt the urge to move my feet, as if there were snakes on the ground to escape from, but my legs still wouldn't move.
Chris, who happens to love snakes, continued on to say that she has only seen one in the twenty years she has lived here. That disappointed her, because "they have such a beautiful pattern!" Vision started taking on a soft black frame. "If you ever see one on a rock, just take one of the rakes and push it off. You'll want it to know not to come back." Tunnel vision starting. Visualizing myself willingly approaching a snake, I could feel my heart screaming. She continued to assure me that it wasn't anything to worry about but that she wanted me to know just in case I was lucky enough to see one. Reality blurred by images of Fear Factor.
As this conversation took place, I grew increasingly sweaty, and every hair on my arms reached for high Heaven. I gave my best attempt at apathy to the matter, but I couldn't even muster a fake smile. And flashes of black started swishing in front of my eyes.
Wave your hand back and forth in front of your face. That is what I was seeing.
I officially discovered how scared I am of snakes.
Even while telling Mr. TBS about the conversation that night, I felt like I wanted to cry. Calm tears, mostly from feeling completely out of control. Being proactive, Mr. TBS Google'd "copper head snake" to see what they looked like. My feet were immediately tucked under me on the couch, and I only looked at the thumbnails from a distance. Again, glazed eyes.
It's been five days since we moved here. I know that the longer we live here, the more I'll get used to the idea that I might see a snake one day. While everyone else in this neighborhood walks through grass and bushes without a care, I'm prepared to buy galoshes and an astronaut suit. But then I started worrying that a snake might crawl in a boot even if I keep them in the house. It's an endless cycle!
I love animals. I don't want snakes to be killed. But I don't want them within my line of sight. Not even toy snakes. Because I will scream and then cry.
Is anyone else ophidiophobic?
Do you have any true phobias?