I found a snake in the living room closet.

I had been trying to mentally prepare for just this sort of moment, imagining myself cool and collected, taking snakes in the house in my stride. “Oh, just another snake!” I’d smile to everyone as I calmly shooed the snake from the house, proving myself not some silly American, but someone capable – someone who doesn’t fuss about snakes in the house. However, I hadn’t, in fact, thought that I would need to call upon my no-snake-fussing mental fortitude quite so soon.

You see, I haven’t arrived in Kenya yet.

It’s not that I imagined snakes behind every door in Kenya, no, far from it. But I do have to admit that if I had been placing bets, I would have bet that my snake encounter would be more likely to happen somewhere in Kenya rather than in my parents’ house in the U.S. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, I am in southwest Texas after all. 

Oh and that calm, collected, doesn’t-get-in-a-fuss-about-snakes Sarah? Yeah, that girl was slamming the closet door shut and running away as fast as her legs could carry her. There may or may not have also been some hand waving and high pitched screeching of “there is a snake! SNAKE. in. the. house. !!” Too bad there was no one else home, so my melodrama was wasted. My, but it was a fine performance.

When my heartbeat had slowed a little, I knew exactly what had to be done. I called my dad. He, unfortunately, did not hear his cell phone ringing so I was forced to leave a somewhat incoherent message about me being attacked by snakes and how he sure would wish he had answered his phone when he came home and found my poor, mangled snake bitten body on the living room floor. 

I then called my friend Anne. Living in Rochester, New York, I knew that she wouldn’t be able to be much more than moral support, but I knew that if anyone could understand my freak out then it would be her (let’s just say Anne is no great fan of snakes either). Immediately she rose to the occasion, telling me to toget.out.of.the.house. and to call animal control. Granted, I maaay have exaggerated slightly on the size and seemingly venomous nature of the snake, but hers was exactly the sort of response I needed. Talking with her allowed me to take a step back and look at the situation a little more clearly. I imagined the call to animal control going as follows:

Me: “Snake! In my house!”

Burly Texan Animal Control Guy who is wearing a huge live rattlesnake as a belt: “Okay ma’am calm down, can you describe the snake?” 

Me: “Well, um, it’s about two feet long, is about as thick as two or three fingers, doesn’t look very threatening…”

Burly Texan Animal Control Guy who is now letting scorpions play on his face: “HAHAHAHA..click.”

Rather than earn such shame, and perhaps be kicked out of Texas, I put on a pair of galoshes, some gardening gloves, and grabbed a broom (standard snake catching gear, of course). I took a deep breath, got the snake, which turned out to be an incredibly scared, nice animal, and put it out in the front garden, where it slithered away happily, perhaps to relate its tale of adventure to the rest of the family over a nice fieldmouse supper. 

As it turns out, along with finishing packing for Kenya, I may be needing a little more prep work on this whole “mental fortitude about snakes” thing. Let’s be honest though – from the accounts I’ve heard, there is only a small chance that I’ll even see a snake where I’ll be in Kenya, let alone find one in my house there. But after this encounter, I might be packing my galoshes and gardening gloves, just in case… 


he seemed bigger in the closet

he seemed bigger in the closet





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