Close Encounter



My pastoral backyard. Where probably killer rabbits and diabolical rattlers abound.


I have a friend who is a biologist. She’s taken me on the most delightful adventures where we encounter all manner of wildlife that I ran away from and bitch about, much to her chagrin. The time we went hiking in the desert? She made me enter a flock of ravenous bumblebees and pass through them without opening my mouth. Which was hard to do because of the screaming and crying. On that same hike? Oh, look over there! She told me in a freakishly excited tone. A king rattler! Let’s go see it! At which point I lost my fucking mind.


Also, she freezes dead whippoorwills and mice. In the freezer. Wrapped in aluminum foil. To study them. You got that right? No? Let me back up: she puts the freeze-dried wildlife BETWEEN THE GROUND BEEF AND THE POPSICLES.


Clearly, she is crazy.


I haven’t asked yet, but I’m pretty sure she also thinks it’s OK to have spiders crawl on her.


In addition, she enjoys showing me things like ladybugs and butterflies.


What the hell is wrong with her?


Since we both married and had two kids each, we don’t go often on our forest/desert/mountain frolics anymore, but we continue to talk regularly and she tells me about animals and insects and I tell her about how I almost accidentally ate a bug the other day and she gets all frustrated and says it’s good protein and stop being a pussy.


So today I thought of her as I drove the kids to school and prepared to park next to a large shrub-bespeckled bank of dirt and who-knows-what-else.


Oh wait. I’ll tell you what else.


A rattlesnake.


That’s what else.


A freaking enormo snake of death and destruction.


That’s right. I am about to park next to the bank and extract my children from their seats and happily trot them off to school, when what do I see? A large portion of wriggling hose.


Or a fat 4-foot straw.


Or maybe I thought it was a rubber stick.


Right next to where I had placed my car.


But the thing was there was a man there with a real stick and he was lifting the fat 4-foot straw that wriggled with the stick and flung the straw into the shrub-bespeckled bank. And as the straw flew through the air, I realized that the straw was a snake. And not a straw.


At which point I lost my fucking mind.


My friend would not have been proud of me.


I’m not even going to tell her, because the last time I told her about my husband coming within 1.2 inches of a 6-ft. rattler on a recent hike, she didn’t say, “Oh no! He could have died!” or “That sucks!” Nope. What she said? “Did he get a picture?”


I couldn’t believe it. It almost was like that time I tried to convince her that bunnies can kill humans if they get too close and she punched me in the mouth.


I could’ve totally died from being hopped on. That living-creature-lovin’ nutbag.


8 Responses to “Close Encounter”

  1. Would have lost my shit. Yup, lost my shit. Probably would stil be losing it. And yes, bunnies can kill–hasn’t she seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Show her the monster bunny from that movie and see what she says.

  2. Mama Mary says:

    Yet another topic on which you and I see eye to eye. I will have the heebies all day long.

  3. Stephanie says:

    “At which point I lost my fucking mind.”

    At which point during reading, I pulled my feet up on the chair and did the same.

  4. In some ways I feel like this is possibly the bizarrest post I’ve ever read of yours, where I find myself trapped between between metaphorical snakes and literal ones, fearing bunnies and deciding to stay indoors for the rest of my life.

    But it was worth it.

  5. La Jolla Mom says:

    I actually have beaten a rattlesnake on the head with a shovel. I killed it. It was trying to eat my cat. My cat could have killed it (because he’d killed a bunch already) but I wasn’t in to that. I had Wellies on just in case. I think I was 12.

    I grew up (well vacation house)on 100 acre cattle ranch north of Santa Barbara so critters we everywhere so the fact that a 12 year old beat a snake was not weird. :)

  6. blognut says:


    I do not think I could befriend this particular friend of yours.

    I can handle the snake as long as it doesn’t take me by surprise, or rattle, or stick out its nasty, little tongue at me.

    It’s the bugs. I would not be able to put up with her showing me bugs. At.All.

  7. It does take a certain stomach to appreciate nature that much.
    I’m pretty cool around snakes, but spiders? notsomuch.

  8. Melanie says:

    I hate snakes. *shudder*

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