Snakes on a Slope

This morning I was walking down the steps from the temple where I do my morning Qi Kong exercise, when I noticed a large snake stretched across one of the steps about halfway down.  It was almost, but not quite stretched out perfectly straight, as if he was seeing if he could stretch from one side of the step to the other. He hadn’t quite made it when I almost stepped on him. I paused and waited for him to finish his trek across the step. I wasn’t sure where he was going, but as I wasn’t in any rush, I didn’t ask him to hurry up. I’ve never really had any fears of snakes. Although once I was at a place called “Snake Alley” in Taipei, Taiwan, which is a street with a lot of weird shops. Some of which are shops which specialize in snakes. (Hence the name.) There was a woman standing outside with a rather large boa constrictor trying to entice customers to enter. I had just finished my second shot of snake blood liquor, (at least that’s what they said it was) when I decided to ask the woman if I could take a picture with her.

She didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Chinese, so she misunderstood me. She didn’t realize that I wanted to take a picture with her and the snake, and thought I wanted to take a picture with only the snake. As I stood next to her, and handed my camera to my snake blood liquor waiter, she proceeded to take the rather large boa constrictor and drape it around my neck. As I stood smiling for the snake blood liquor waiter to take what seemed like several long minutes to figure out my digital camera, the snake started to explore the side of my face with it’s tongue.  Finally, the waiter snapped a couple of photos and that was that.

I have a friend that would pass out cold if something like that happened to him. He is deathly afraid of snakes. Yet he is an avid skier, and the only time I went skiing with him, I was petrified to follow him down some of the jagged rock exposed, triple diamond runs he went on for fun.

He has been able to develop a skill which allows him to see a potentially dangerous situation as something to use to have lots of fun. He has gone on that particular run so many times, that his experience tells him that everything is ok. I, on the other hand, haven’t yet been able to develop good experience with respect to skiing, and perhaps I never will. For me, it is just too scary to think about being able to put in the effort in getting good at that so the good feelings naturally outweigh the bad.

It’s interesting when two people can look at the same experience and have two completely different interpretations of it.  It’s not like either of the snakes really had the time to decide whether they wanted to eat me or not. Besides, I don’t even like snake meat.


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