Thursday, 26 July 2012

Snake watch, day 2

Click for beginning and Part 1 of this story

I got up as usual this morning stating that it was cloudy and perhaps not tempting to go out at all, but by the time we had coffee on the patio it was sunny again. I had a dentist appointment at 11.30 so I knew there was no point starting anything creative, and among the morning emails there were some that needed urgent action so that took care of my morning. However, on my way to the dentist I couldn't help thinking, feeling more and more sick every minute, and telling myself that I'd rather go to the dentist every day than... I was a bit early and popped into one of my favourite charity shops where I always look for small things for the dolls houses. Behind me, two ladies were talking about gardening. I ran away.

On the way home I decided I needed help. It had really gone too far. I looked up Counselling on the University web with advice to try some self-help before seeking a professional. On the self-help page I found a long list of problems including phobias, with just the kind of idiotic advice I don't want. Indeed, look at how you come over arachnophobia in six easy steps:
      1. Reading about spiders
      2. Looking at and then touching a photograph of a spider
      3. Looking at/touching a plastic model of a spider
      4. Looking at/touching a jar with a small spider in it
      5. Picking the spider out of the jar
      6. Picking up a large spider.
I am sure that arachnophobics find this terrifying. Now let's translate this to herpetophobia.
  1. I have just read Lucy Christopher's Stolen, so I've done this one.
  2. Go ahead and touch it. [I had a picture of a snake here. It boosted ny statistics. I guess people were disappointed when they were directed to this page, I have removed it. Imagine touching the picture of a snake on the screen] 
  3. Yes, they sell those in all zoos. Our kids have some. They are horrid.
  4. Looking at/touching a jar with a small cobra in it. Hmm...
  5. Picking the cobra out of the jar. I want to see the counsellor do it
  6. Picking up a LARGE cobra...
You see, it's not that easy. What was helpful, I must admit, was the reminder that hiding from the problem won't solve it. Not that I didn't know it, and not that my dear friend Alyona didn't talk to me for an hour on Skype yesterday. But somehow “managing the level of anxiety” did it for me.

Staffan and I had a Talk. And we agreed that we would go out there together for a little while. Which was very noble of him. I had two strong incentives. A patch on the lawn where Staffan had efficiently exterminated mushrooms by pouring boiling water on them needed mending. And the blackcurrants needed picking. Staffan took the lead to the greenhouse to get the tools, and we picked some tomatoes while we were at it. I fixed the grass patch, and then Staffan put a garden chair exactly on the spot where the snake had been, and I picked the currants while the cat rustled in the shrubs. I still feel sick as I am writing this.

Then I went out for dinner with Morag and David, and to their standard “How are you?” I told them how I was. They were not impressed, and David said he liked snakes and wanted to be a herpetologist when he was young.

Back home and watching the garden through my window. So much needs to be done...

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