Snake related blog-trouble

I’m a little torn today, despite the wonderful weather. This blog has got me into trouble again. Not major trouble. Just local, domestic trouble. With my neighbour.

I don’t like making people unhappy. It’s almost pathological – my desire not to inconvenience others. It gets me into all sorts of scrapes as I destroy my own calm and decentre myself making sure that others are ok and not taking myself into account. It’s something I’m trying to examine and deconstruct as it actively doesn’t serve me. But these old ingrained habits – they can be slow to pull apart. Like irrational fears.

One of my neighbours is extremely phobic of snakes. I had no idea. We are friendly enough to have each other on Facebook. I’ve started manually sharing these blogs again. They read on one that Hex has been staying for a while. They are extremely unhappy about him.

It’s thrown me off my stride, feeling the concern. The reaction was so extreme that I thought they were joking for too long, and by the time I realised it was a genuine extreme reaction rather than a pantomime for a joke I had lost any trust I could’ve had –  by appearing to laugh at their fear.

“What if he gets into my bedroom at night?” I am asked, and in that circumstance, if we were to pretend for a moment that it was possible, I would mostly be worried that my neighbour would roll on him and hurt him. On his supervised exercise outside the tank he spends most of his time diligently trying to get himself crushed or get underfoot. He has the survival instinct of a piñata.

He’s a long mobile pudding. He’s too small to constrict anything bigger than your thumb, and he’s not venomous either. Plus he’s surprisingly attractive, extraordinarily lazy and unexpectedly shy and basically anorexic.

I honestly couldn’t be bothered with snakes when I was asked to take him in. He’s won me over. I’d still not get one of my own, but while I used to think it laughable when people anthropomorphised reptiles (cold implacable eating machines) he has surprised me with a quantifiable personality. He gave a great performance in The Tempest every time. I reckon the reviews gave him as much copy as me.

I guess it’s just a short hop from reptiles to birds.

Plus he’s in a sealed tank for Christ’s sake. He can’t get out.

But … we all have things we’re afraid of and logic often doesn’t come into the frame with fear. I used to have it with spiders until I forced it out of me, but part of my self appointed job is to chase out my own neuroses. It’s not my job to chase anything out of others though.

So. What to do?

I’ve been thinking of going to Hampstead for a while to inhabit Mel’s flat until she’s finally back from New Zealand. Hex officially lives there, so it makes sense to go live in the same place as him now that he’s persona non grata here. It’s a bit like running away, but it’ll make the neighbour feel safe and allow me to continue to look after Hex properly without awkwardness or guilt. And perhaps it’s for the best as I can look after myself into the bargain.

I’m planning to shift base on Saturday, after making sure it’s good and tidy here for Kitcat if she shows up. A change will do me good – whatever the catalyst. Mel’s place is right on the heath, and I can use it for a month or so of reflection and self care. Eating well. Living better.

I’ve been sleeping late and waking later, eating less and drinking more. A new roof always breaks the old habits. The world looks different from North London, and The Heath is tantalising on these long warm summer days.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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