Yesterday I stopped the car to catch a big gopher snake--about four feet long--as it was crossing the road. I wanted to show it to a 5-year-old friend whom I knew would be awestruck.
The snake was not interested in being the day's show and tell and put up quite a little fight but I didn't lose much blood. Who cares anyway? It wasn't poisonous. And it was going to be SO worth it. I could see that kid's face already. I didn't have anything snakeproof to put it in, so just put it in the back of the station wagon. I wasn't going far.
Predictably, by the time I reached my destination, I could not see the snake. When I finally DID locate it, it was on its way up up up into the dashboard. I grabbed it and held on, but it had gone further than half its length and was NOT going to let go. I sat there in the sun hanging on for about ten minutes before giving up and just letting it continue.
So what to do? The thing about a snake in the dashboard is that it won't live there long, especially in Arizona. It will either leave or die. If it dies, large amounts of money and a significant amount of embarassment will be involved in disassembling the dash and removing the body. Really quickly. But there wouldn't actually be a quickly ENOUGH in that case.
Leaving of its own volition, of course, would be the best thing but just leaving wouldn't do. It would have to be SEEN leaving. If you didn't actually see it, you wouldn't be really really positive it was gone...you get the picture.
So I decided to force the issue and when I got home (driving with a snake in your dashboard is--well, not actually unnerving...disturbing? distracting? disconcerting?--an EXPERIENCE, let's say) I parked the car in the sun and just watched as the dash got hotter and hotter.
Sure enough, the snake soon appeared through the window, hanging down from the opposite side of the dash, scoping out the situation. It looked around warily, tongue darting in and out. It came further out and further and further. When it finally dropped from the dash and slithered under the driver's seat, I ran around the car and opened all the doors and then watched carefully.
It worked...I almost missed it, but the snake sprinted out (if you can sprint without legs) and vanished into the brush. I was extremely relieved.
And this morning I am both relieved and happy. I'm happy that the snake is alive and gone. I am a little puffed up about inventing the Hot Dash Cure. But mostly I feel happy because the whole silly thing bodes well for my future: I have no idea what today has in store. I'm 57 and people still say "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???"
Life is good.