I used to like taking naps when the rare occasion presented itself; however, they’re something in which I’ve not indulged for years now. Maybe it’s the whole “single mom to 6 kids” thing and the overwhelming self-inflicted guilt I feel when I take time for myself. At any rate, I never sleep during the day.
Sunday, it rained. Of course it rained. It’s August in Florida. Anyway, it rained, effectively putting a damper on my plans to hang out at the pool with my kids, so instead, I plopped down on my bed with a bottle of nail polish, planning to take a few minutes to give myself a pedicure. The next thing I knew, I was waking up completely disoriented. I thought I’d overslept for work. When I realized it was too light outside to be 6 am, I tried to figure out what day it was and why I was in bed. Looking at the clock, I discovered I’d been asleep for two hours. TWO HOURS! Two hours of my day were gone and all I had to show for it was a grogginess and headache that made me feel like I’d been out drinking all night.
I never was able to completely wake up and function for the rest of the afternoon and evening, and ended up going to bed by 9 o’clock. Sleeping in the afternoon and going to bed at 9 has its price and it’s called insomnia. At 3 am, I awoke, ready to start my day. Try as I may, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and went downstairs to get a drink of water. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I screamed. There was a snake on the floor by my front door! It was dark in the house, but from the sliver of light shining through the window, I could see the black beast coiled up and lying there, just ready to make a meal out of me. I ran down the hall and clambered to safety atop a kitchen chair. I crouched there while my heart rate skyrocketed to somewhere between 190 and explode.
From my vantage point, I could still see the snake. It hadn’t moved. I picked up a napkin and threw it at the snake, but it just wafted down a couple inches from where I stood. You know, because it was a napkin and even my 7-year-old understands the physics that would make a paper napkin a poor projectile. Did I mention it was 3 o’clock in the morning, my eyes weren’t focusing, I was tired, and there was a SNAKE in my house? Thinking rationally was not on my list of capabilities at the time.
I reached over and picked up a AA battery that was lying on the table and launched it at the snake. I have no idea why. I don’t really know what my purpose was. I don’t think it’s possible to kill a snake with a AA battery from four yards away. I’d probably only tick him off and make him come bite my ankles. I’m going to reiterate that it was 3 am once more.
After the battery flew from my hands and hit the wall above the snake I braced myself for the snake to come slithering toward me. It didn’t move. That’s weird. Do snakes sleep? Surely a battery pegging the wall near it would wake it up. Wouldn’t it? Why didn’t I pay more attention to all the books about snakes and lizards and such that I’ve read to the boys over the years? Not that they contained instructions for killing snakes in your house from four yards away while half-asleep.
I carefully lowered myself from my perch atop the chair and inch-by-inch, crept a little closer to the snake, all the while vigilant and aware that it may fly toward me and wrap itself around my neck at any moment. When I got within a few feet of the thing, I blinked several times, trying to bring the world into focus. Not only was the snake not moving, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized it didn’t seem to have an ending or a beginning. It looked almost like it was just a big loop that was haphazardly twisted around.
Finally I thought to turn on the light. I glanced down and saw that the snake was actually a headband. I calmly flipped off the light, turned toward the kitchen, and poured myself a glass of wine before returning to bed.
The next morning my kids asked me, “What were you doing downstairs last night? You woke me up with the light.”
“Yeah, why were you screaming? Did you see a cockroach or something?”
“It was worse,” I said gravely. “I saw a snake.”
“For real?” they asked incredulously. “There was a snake in the house?!”
“Well, it could have been a venomous snake,” I hedged. “But it was a mumble mumble mumble…”
“What? What did you say?”
“It was a headband,” I whispered sheepishly.
“BWAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA!!!! You were screaming at a headband? HAAAAAAA!”
Indignant, I repeated, “Well, it could have been a poisonous snake! I could have been killed!”
They continued laughing until they fell off the couch, holding their stomachs. I’m never going to live this down.
If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.