Trina Machacek: Forcing a response

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

Speaking of spiders. Yes spiders. Once I stopped along the road to take a picture. On a lark. I sometimes stop and put on these fuzzy neon pink slippers and take pictures of them on my feet doing things that will involve where I am. Someday, I will put them all together creating a giant pink picture of my silly travels. And that is where I saw the snake. Spider speak is coming up. Hang on.
Usually, when outside seeing things that live outside, I am not as girlishly panicked as I am when things that are supposed to live life outside are skittering around inside. So, seeing this snake in its own environment, and since it was a water snake, it only caused my heart to skip about 11 and a half beats. Maybe it was because I was about to step on Mr. Snake as his head popped up out of the grass where I was walking, wearing my pink slippers. Imagine, if you will, just what the snake must have thought. Seeing a giant fuzzy pink slipper headed for his head. Oh, it was a “he” snake. I mean, a girl snake would never be caught in that position.
This situation forced me to respond. Forcing a response is something that automatically happens. Here I was, standing in some messy kinda tall grass along a road with a snake sticking its little green and black head up, tiny split tongue flipping about going in and out of its mouth, while looking up at a descending fuzzy pink slipper. OK, it was the pink bottom of the slipper, but you can still see fuzzy sticking out of the sides. The forced response this scenario caused, besides the near heart attack, was to flee. Yes, of the fight or flight options available to me, flight won hands down. I pulled my foot up and back, peddled out of the grass and onto the gravel road. I’m sure it was quite a visual.
The episode reminded me of another flee moment. While on a vacation to Hawaii long ago, my husband and I went snorkeling. If you go to Hawaii and do not do something that will take you into the underwater world, you are missing half of the experience you paid for. Anyway, out in the water off some beach somewhere we were paddling with our big, rented flippers on and wearing goggles that were oh so fashionable. Floating about in all our white as snow skin glory. When all of a sudden, an eel appeared. A big one. Say it was seventeen feet long and two foot around.
OK it was just regular eel size, maybe three feet long. I know I blew out air through my snorkel making a sound that could be heard over water for miles. I am here to tell you that in the water, wearing huge fins, a human being has not one iota of braking power! And you have no chance of hitting reverse either. I can laugh now at the thought of the poor slithering eel, which is really another form of a HUGE water snake getting flailed by some haole trying to escape something that really didn’t need to be escaped from.
Just like that little, yes it was actually little, snake in the grass along the roadside. But! Yes, a snakeskin covered “but.” Both encounters forced a response from me and both responses were to flee, flee, flee.
Cue spiders. When I finally got myself together after escaping what could only be described as my snake in the grass near-death experience, I put my regular shoes back on. I climbed into my truck – from the passenger side since the snake was guarding my driver’s door. That scene of me climbing over the center console would’ve been worth the price of admission, I am sure.
Finally, sitting comfortably and securely in the driver’s seat, pretty as you please, a spider swings down from the sun visor. Within my personal air space. Of course, it was huge. Two pounds at least. OK, truthfully the only reason I saw it at all was because the web caught some sunlight. At the end of the sparkle was the tiniest multi legged “fly food” speck. Calmly grabbing the web, I flicked the web and spider out the window toward where the snake was last seen. I’m sure they met and laughed together at the human condition, such as it is.
Which forced a response of laughter from me. Oh, the ways we all see and react to things differently. Still. No, no, I don’t like spiders and snakes.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book “They Call Me Weener” is found online or email her at to get a signed copy.


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