Last Friday night, I wasn’t partying with Katy Perry.
No, instead, I came dangerously close to having a heart attack, and my trust in the universe (that should have been dashed long ago but for some reason continues to renew despite my bad luck), was intensely challenged.
I was returning from a quick sushi dinner, and ran inside my apartment to grab my backpack. I was running late for a meeting aka karaoke party with my English conversation group.
As I was leaving, instead of turning off the genkan light, I accidentally turned ON my porch light. There are three light switches by my front door that look exactly the same, it happens. So that’s why, on my way out, I stopped with one foot out the door and one foot inside. The door was only open several inches, with my body propping it open as I fiddled with the light switches.
I turned off the light and leaned out a little bit more, when suddenly, something fell from above onto my head and shoulders.
It was weirdly heavy, and long, and felt kind of like a rope. WTF, why would a rope fall on me? Then I realized it was moving. WTF, why would a rope be moving? Then I felt the weird texture where the thing was touching my neck and arms. I looked down, and within .05 seconds I realized the thing was most definitely not a rope. It was a big ass SNAKE. And it was ON ME.
Faster than the speed of light, I threw that thing off and ran back inside with a strangled scream. I threw my backpack on the floor of my apartment and shook out my hair and panicked for a few minutes. What the FUDGE was a snake doing hanging out above my door? HOW the FUDGE did it get there? Was that even a snake, did I imagine it? Maybe it was fake…maybe it was a prank!
As soon as I got my senses about me, I slowly opened the front door again. Just a crack. I couldn’t see anything. How far had I thrown it? Then I opened the door all the way and stepped out onto the terrace. Sure enough, slowly slithering towards the gap in the railing at the far corner of the terrace was the GIANT ASS SNAKE. It was most definitely NOT fake.
His head had already disappeared through the gap in the railing, but the exposed part of the creature was at least as long as my arm-span. I’m a tall girl with long arms, so that’s LONG AS F***. Well over 1 meter, at least. I snapped a quick picture, just to prove that I wasn’t insane.
I grabbed my bag, locked my front door, and got the hell outta there.
As I was descending the stairs, I saw his face. He was wrapping around the column supporting the 2nd floor terrace, facing the stairs. Taunting me. I stopped, stared back at him, and then ran like hell down the stairs and off into the night.
Later, after about 4 hours of singing my lungs out in karaoke therapy (which may or may not have included Katy Perry), I came home and inspected the surrounding area with my iPhone flashlight. No snakes to be seen.
I recovered pretty quickly thereafter. I’m not particularly afraid of snakes. When they mind their own business and don’t go falling on me out of the blue, I really couldn’t care less. It’s likely that this was either a Japanese rat snake or a common garter snake…so he was probably coming out of hibernation and setting out to de-vermin the area, for which I am grateful. Not venomous or dangerous, but still, he did not make a good hat/scarf combo.
I told the story of my near heart-attack to my coworkers and students the following Monday. My students were appalled. My coworkers thought it was hilarious and insist that he is the guardian of my house and that, seeing as snakes falling on people in urban areas (or anywhere, for that matter) is not a common occurrence, he probably was a sign of good luck!
My reply to that is, he better be! That damn snake better have bestowed a lifetimes worth of good luck upon me to make up for the few years his sudden appearance probably shaved off my life.