I still really like my Wednesday class at the resort, but a disadvantage to working in the jungle became apparent tonight: snakes. The freaking jungle is just lousy with snakes, at least in my imagination. But tonight this paranoia became more real. As I was getting out my key card to open my hotel room door, I looked down and there was a big snake. And I'm not exaggerating, it was really three feet.
When I saw it I said some choice --and surprisingly multilingual-- profanity and got the hell out of there. I found a student of mine, who called someone, who called someone else. I guess it was something they called a "tuboa" (I'm not completely positive, since I was quite far away from them when they told me) and they said it was similar to a boa, but quite poisonous.
In the end, I guess I'm happy about how I behaved, since as you may know, I have a near-crippling phobia of snakes. I think it came from mowing the lawn when I was a kid, when they'd always dart out at the last minute. I spent a good decade of my life having snake nightmares wherein I'm cutting the grass and almost run over a snake, and when I step back to avoid it, I almost step on another. Pretty soon the whole lawn is covered in snakes.
Fortunately I've not had those dreams for a while but even now, when I see a picture of a snake in a magazine --I'd like to interject a hearty "Go to hell!" to the photographic editorial staff of National Geographic here-- I get a sort of weird cotton-in-the ear sensation, like when you get too close to a campfire and inhale smoke. But this time, I just backed away. I didn't roll into a ball and cry, and I didn't shit myself. But just barely.
So who knows, maybe I'm slowly overcoming the phobia. But I'm still keeping my machete close at hand, just in case.