I am going to have to reorder my List of Fears and Nightmare Scenarios. All this time, I've been consciously focused on, and with wondrous success, sharks, sink holes, flesh-eating bacteria and cilantro. By worrying day and night, I've managed to remain virtually unharmed and uneaten.
I am a superior worrier. When I was young, my mother took me to a stress management class led two evenings a week by an air traffic controller who was forced to retire after he had a heart attack. Thanks to him, I learned some really great worrisome material. For example, I now know that too much worrying can cause a heart attack. Good to know.
My list of things to worry about must remain fluid. I have to change with the times, after all.
Interestingly, I did not add terrorism to this list, not even after September 11. And, I do not routinely worry about world events such as war, cyber attacks and other unimaginable machinations of man. I leave those issues to the experts like my husband.
So, I really thought I had this covered.
According to a news item reported first on the radio in a voice that mimicked the high tension in War of the Worlds, there is a real danger of being overtaken by snakes. It's true. A later newspaper story unearthed the plight of one family who found snakes, dozens and dozens of snakes, inside their Annapolis home.
Not just the kind of snakes that wander around the desert under the cloak of darkness and the cool of night, but snakes that permeate with some nefarious intent into a dwelling and reproduce in furious numbers until they outweigh and out-inhabit their human counterparts who must then run screaming into the streets in just their undergarments, more than likely leaving behind pets and possibly small children (at least, that's how I visualize this).
Who knew this could even happen? Snakes! Inside the house. What could possibly be worse?
Think about it. Snakes don't have an environmental preference like, say, cockroaches that scurry away in the light. Snakes don't mind the light -- they bask in the sunlight at noon in the desert. I know this to be true because I've seen it on National Geographic television. They hang from trees, go under water. Trust me, I know all about snakes. For a while, after binging on too much nature television, I considered placing them on the List of Fears and Nightmare Scenarios, but really, what were the chances of encountering anything other than a simple garden snake in real life? Nil. Nada. Zilch.
I was wrong.
Now that I know about this imminent danger, I am more than a little unsettled. Last night in the bath, I thought the drain plug bounced a little when I lifted the lever and I jumped over the side of the tub, hurdling like Caitlyn Jenner. I grabbed the toilet brush and held it like a spear, just in case something slithered out of the drain.
My husband came into the room as I stood in the warrior pose, dripping onto the mat. "What are you doing?"
I didn't tell him.
Before getting into bed, I threw back the bedding and inspected the sheets.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on?" my husband inquired. He is aware of the List of Fears and Nightmare Scenarios, although he does not share my professional attitude in this matter.
I turned out the light and reordered the items in my head for several hours without coming to any certain conclusion while he slept soundly next to me, confident, I'm sure, in my ability to protect him from whatever may slither in the night.