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My Awesome Story About a Snake

I am recently returned from Colorado Springs, where my heart lives when it is not in Cocoa Beach or DC or Cincinnati or any number of places I am currently not because science does not have its priorities straight and is concentrating on stupid crap like working on cures for childhood diseases instead of making it possible for me to quadlocate so I can be four places at once and therefore happy. (If you want to know what happens should you leave Ohio—it’s that.  You will never be happy, never again. You always want to be in the other places you’ve lived, and when you’re in the other places you’ve lived you want to be in Ohio. So, if you have a one-way ticket out of the only place you've ever known… just cancel it. Throw a bunch of sand on the back patio next to a wading pool and call it San Diego if you must.)

What I like to do in Colorado Springs is walk around staring at all the pretty trees and flowers, which is a challenge because I have a wretched sense of direction, and walking trails in Colorado Springs tend to not proceed in a sensible concrete loop as they do in the Midwest.  Apparently sometimes there are mountains and giant rocks in the way. So to walk commands a tremendous amount of time, pre-planning, maps, screen caps, consultations with National Geographic, and preliminary phone calls to forest rangers.

On this particular walk I was feeling immensely proud of myself, as I had stomped my way through the Garden of the Gods without managing to leave the state and after only four failed attempts to launch on the walk (once because I couldn’t find the trailhead, which was ten yards from my car, and had to ask directions; once because I thought I forgot my phone and went back to my car and it wasn’t there because it was actually in my backpack after all; and twice because finding the trailhead and rediscovering the phone took a while and I had to pee.) On my last turn back to the car, I saw three teenagers standing motionless, staring at the ground.

As is pretty much the natural state of teenagers, I stepped around them, but one of them called out, “Wait. There’s a snake up ahead.”

There was a snake up ahead. I couldn’t tell what color it was, other than what zoologists technically term “kind of greenish,” and it wasn’t going anywhere, and it wasn’t going to go anywhere. Once I served a writing residency in the Everglades, and there were many alligators, and once a scary animal decides it’s going to be somewhere, such as between my front door and my car, that is where it’s going to be for exactly as long as it wants to.

It was decided that the snake was probably not dangerous, because it did not look, quote, “like the ones on Discovery Channel,” so one of the teenage boys made the executive decision to hurl a pebble in its direction, I suppose to send a sophisticated message that would cross interspecies lines (“HEY WE’RE HUMANS AND WE’RE REALLY ANNOYING.”) The snake fixed itself a martini and settled in.

The other teenage boy decided to escalate the issue to the snake’s supervisor, and found themselves a stick. The other two teenagers helped by pointing their camera phones at him. I was long past the point of when I should have found another route back to my car, because, like a passenger on a flight that’s been delayed eight times across two days, I was in this for the duration. Also I had to carry word back to the survivors.

The teenager shoved the stick in the general direction of the snake. The snake moved and so did we all, especially the kid with the stick, who shot past us in the opposite direction, saying, “I hear rattling.”

As this officially consigned the snake as A Big Pile of Nope, I turned around to undertake the impossible task of finding a redirected route. Which I did. All by myself. Like a big girl. And I made it not only back to my car, but back to Ohio, where things mostly make sense and are mostly happy and mostly in a concrete circle.

And that is what makes my snake story awesome.


What I Was Supposed to Write About a Pitcher for a Baseball Site But I Wound Up Typing Instead

This is going to be a good story because it starts with my car bursting into flames. This happened to my Toyota about a month ago and I’m mostly mad because the neighbors said the flames were shooting out of the hood to heights of four feet and I missed it. I had been driving my nephews around all day and was dropping them off at their house, as aunts do, to be fed and have their education, clothing, and medical care paid for. I am grateful that no one was hurt and also that I happened to park away from the driveway, because “You set my house on fire with my children inside of it” is going to win every argument, every time. My brother-in-law also saw his life dream come true of seeing me hauled off in the back of a Green Township police car, so really, win-win.

I start there because it settled the issue of whether my husband and I would become a one-car household. He is a pilot and I am not, and when he drives his car it would sit forlornly in the employee lot awaiting his return, whereas mine is key to procurement of the things I need to run a household, such as raw chicken and heavy narcotics.

So now I’m unexpectedly the captain of his car, which I drove to my volunteer post as a USO hostess at the airport, and which–and it should not shock you that I’ve done this before–I managed to lock with the keys in the ignition, engine running, because when this girl seeks adventure, she finds it by trying to squat on all fours in a white pencil skirt in the middle of the blacktopped CVG employee lot on a 94 degree day, searching in vain for a hide-a-key.

This was my cue to call and text and call and text and call and text and call and text IN CAPITAL LETTERS Josh The Pilot, who of course had not yet unsilenced his phone from morning church services. I am a charter member of AAA, because when you are me, you spend huge chunks of your life peering in at keys sitting jauntily behind locked doors, tires with odd metal objects sticking out of them at alarming angles, and, as we just saw, smoking husks of 2005 Camrys.  But I was in a secure lot which is enterable only with a badge, a password, and a valid key Johnny’s Toys Birthday Castle, and my friends, there it was, true despair:  I was in a place where AAA and all its TripTiks couldn’t help me now.

Then I caught sight of the employee shuttle and realized that there were adults about, real adults, adults who unlike me remember to turn the CrockPot on after dumping the raw chicken in. I flagged it down, climbed aboard, and informed the driver, two TSA agents, one Delta captain, four flight attendants, and a baggage handler that my Master’s degree and I had just locked the keys in my car with the engine running. Yes, it was my car. No, not on purpose. No, I have not reproduced, for the good of the human race.

The driver, in her pity, dispatched a member of The Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport’s finest, and he came in his large scary car, opened his door, opened my door, got back into his car, which had been left unlocked, and drove away.

By now Josh The Pilot had unsilenced his phone and had called to find out who was dead.

ME:  First thing in the morning, we are getting a hide-a-key for the stupid Vibe.

JOSH THE PILOT:  We have a hide-a-key.


JOSH THE PILOT:  Somewhere in the house.

The up side is, we now know who is dead.

Well! Now I could start my day. I ran to security, and beeped as I walked through the metal detector, and was informed that SURPRISE!! They’d seen how well my morning had begun and were now going to offer, as a bonus, a random trip to the body scanner. That’s fine. It was Good Bra Day. Let them look.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. As we all know, the real danger in this nation stems directly from German Catholics with no sense of direction and a pair of figure skates which have somehow become tied to the Halloween tablecloth in the closet.

“I need your right shoe,” said the TSA agent.

“Why just the right?”

“There are some chemicals on it and we need to scan.”

That would be the GooGone Josh applied to the soles in order to remove the fresh chewing gum lying in wait for me at the Bars and Bells booth at Our Lady of Lourdes festival.  Cincinnatians! When shall we come to grips with the great evils gambling has visited upon us?

What this has to do with baseball, of course, is that I now feel pity towards this team as it heads to work today, rather than my usual anger and contempt, because look– sometimes even when you’re trying your best, you just step in gum and lock your keys in your car and don’t get so much as a quarter return at Bars and Bells. And what we need to do in these situations is to avoid panic.

We need to find a competent adult with a big scary car and a coat hanger. And a day off.


Baby Kangaroo!



I just posted a new column on Redleg Nation.

There's pudding, and also a shredder.


New on Redleg Nation

I've been invited to write for Redleg Nation for the next three days.

I'm sure they regret it already.