July 22, 2009

Scream

A few weeks ago, Skater Boy was rummaging through the closet in the boys’ bedroom and came upon some plastic snakes. The snakes aren’t particular real-looking, unless you are, say, over forty years old, with the failing eyesight that comes with such an ancient age. Skater Boy thought it would be funny to scatter the snakes around the house, just to see what reaction he would get.

Everyone else in the house – humans and cats alike – ignore the snakes. But my instinctive reaction is to scream. Every. Single. Time.

I keep finding these snakes everywhere. I’ll step out of bed in the morning, walk blurrily to the bathroom, and jump when I see a snake on the floor of the hall. Or I’ll go down to feed the cats late at night, my vision blurry because I’ve just taken out my contacts, and I’ll almost step on a snake at the bottom of the stairs.

“Why do you scream?” my daughter asked. “You always say you aren’t afraid of snakes.”

No, I’m not afraid when I see a snake in my woodpile or in the cattails or someplace where snakes are SUPPOSED to be. But I don’t expect to find snakes in the freezer or on the windowsill or curled up inside the case that holds my glasses. So it’s startling when I do.

One day, I opened my laptop computer — and found a snake on the keyboard. Of course, I screamed. No matter how many fake snakes are floating around the house, you don’t expect to find one when you sit down to work on your computer.

I walked into the living room to glare at the assortment of teenagers who, oddly enough, seem to enjoy the sound of my screaming when it’s not aimed at them.

“Why would you be scared?” Boy in Black said. “You must have known it wasn’t real.”

Shaggy Hair looked at me patiently, “Why would there be a snake inside your computer?”

Boy in Black shook his head. “It’s not even logical.”

I was tempted to get rid of the plastic snakes, but I can’t resist a challenge. I keep thinking that sooner or later, I’ll get used to the sight of a snake in a desk drawer or on the piano bench or inside my sneakers. Surely, I can condition myself not to scream when I catch sight of that shape. Until then ... well, I tell myself it’s good practice in case I ever star in some kind of horror movie.

21 comments:

kathy a. said...

these are some boys who are just begging to have a couple dozen ice-cold marbles dropped in their beds, on some morning when they are a little slow to move. just sayin'.

JustMe said...

omg, i would scream too! and i love the marbles idea. get them back i say!

Diana Hunt said...

Yeah, revenge is what you need.

Yesterday I went to put on my hiking shoes. One foot just wouldn't quite go into the shoe. My toes kept jamming. What the? I thought, Maybe my sock is bunched up. I shook the shoe and out thrashed a big old lizard. Yeah, I screamed.

It the unexpectedness.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I have to admire your courage and determination to make the screaming work for you. But I would worry that after you get used to seeing plastic snakes a real one might inexplicably show up and you would just reach out to toss it away...

Anonymous (definitely not Tie-Dye Brother-in-law) said...

Those have to make an appearance when Red-haired Sister comes to visit.

Artist Friend said...

I agree with kathy a. If you endure this passively, you're a wimp. This is clearly a call to arms. Replace all the Frisbees in the house with aluminum pie plates. A very loud "The Best of Bread" concert at 6:30AM might be just what you're in the mood for one morning. I could go on...

Silver Creek Mom said...

What are your boys afraid of...Rats...Bugs...Girls...sick one of those somewhere they don't expect it to JUMP out at them and see how they don't like it...And tell them LOGIC has nothing to do with it...espeically when they scream and you say it's not logical...OH if you use a rat make sure it is a wind up one that moves...LOL!

Nels said...

If they don't want to hear you scream, why are they putting them where only you will find them? I'm not a fan of such jokes. They just don't make me laugh. I'd keep screaming as loud as possible.

Rana said...

I concur with the ice-cold marbles idea. I have to admit I'm a wee bit bothered by the unwillingness to stop, now that they've had their joke, given that you've expressed that it's not funny, if it ever was, and you're tired of it.

Your feelings do matter here, and they should respect them, regardless of whether they find them silly or not.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Do you still make dinner for them? I'd say that's an excellent opportunity for a retaliatory prank.

jo(e) said...

Rana and Nels: Oh, I scream and then I laugh. I think it's funny -- and they know that. So in that sense, I've been encouraging them.


If I was bothered by the snakes, they would stop. Or I could have gotten rid of the snakes the first day I found them. Instead I toss them into the living room where someone will find them and think up a new place to put them.

lizardek said...

Love some of the retaliation ideas, but not sure you really want to take that route with these incredibly imaginative kids of yours. In a war of practical jokes, I think I'd bet on them, though the pie plate idea is pure genius!! :D

sherry said...

I think you should put spirit gum on all of their frisbies...that way they won't leave their hands when they try to toss them...

I.hate.snakes.

Sandy said...

Teenage boys have such strange ways of expressing affection.

Songbird said...

Ack!

Anonymous said...

I'm not afraid of snakes either but I always scream when I see one, whether its real or fake. I think its some kind of primeval impulse or survival instinct since some snakes are dangerous to people.

Tracy

Rev Dr Mom said...

Would.not.get.used.to.them.EVER.

Gah.

The retaliatory ideas are pretty funny, but as someone else said, maybe you should be careful with that!

luolin88 said...

I have a similar problem-I scream in movies when something startles me. Usually in movies that nobody else screams in, because I don't go to horror movies.

kim wells said...

I love the way the blue of the fake snake matches the blue on the desktop of your computer. Very nice touch. :)

I admire your imaginative kids, even when they're wicked, and the way you handle it. :) If it actually freaked you out for real, I think they would quit.

jo(e) said...

Kim Wells: Oh, definitely. If I were afraid of snakes, they wouldn't do it in the first place. If I didn't think it was funny, I'd ask them to stop -- and they would.

The ironic thing is that I've been working on a chapter in my manuscript called "Snake Dreams" so finding snakes around the house is oddly appropriate. I think that's what gave me the idea that maybe I need to get used to seeing snakes in the house: I always have nightmares about snakes, and part of what I'm writing about is this idea that snakes symbolize change, and I need to embrace change instead of fearing it.

halloweenlover said...

Ok, you HAVE to go find a real snake and put one of those on the coffee table near them and then wait for them to realize it is real, not a fake one. I bet there'll be some screaming then!!!