So last night I was hanging out at the Kedougou Regional House enjoying a couple of really terrible tasting Senegalese beers with my sitemate Alex, when all the sudden I felt a rumble in my colon and had to bolt out of my chair and run to the latrine. Because you see, when nature calls in Africa its not like you can put them on hold, or return the call later. When nature calls you haul ass to get to the latrine, because if you don’t make it in time you could be dealing with what we here in the Peace Corps call a “gold star” situation. Yes, in Peace Corps we have code name for shitting your pants. Because really we all do it at least once in our service. Don’t judge. You see how great your sphincter control is when you are battling amoebas, Giardia, and an intestinal virus–with no toilet paper. Yeah I just used the word sphincter. Get over it.
So anyways, I was hightailing it to the pit latrine, a mere seconds away from earning my first gold star, when I hear an ominous rustling of leaves at the latrine door. I look down and my sphincter (2 times) screams ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION because a snake is slithering right in front of me. A really huge ass snake. We are talking at least two meters long. And it was this grey silvery color. Which probably means it was a Mamba. Yeah, click on that link and you will probably not sleep tonight. Or maybe you will, since you live in a real house with walls and an actual toilet and stuff.
So I am standing there, and you know those survival instincts that we are all supposed to have, the whole “fight or flight” stuff. Well I guess when you’ve been drinking cheap Senegalese beer those instincts take awhile to kick in, because I just stood there frozen like a penguin in Antarctica (wait, Antarctica is the one with penguins right? Or is the Arctic?)
Once I thawed out, I started freaking out. Running like a tiny T-Rex with my elbows tucked into my sides and bouncing from one foot to the other in a desperate attempt to have as little contact with the ground as possible. All the while repeating the words, “Snake. Big. Bathroom. Me. Shit.”
Alex–who can best be described a super sassy New Yorker with a drizzle of Polish hard-ass–marches out of the kitchen, calls for the Peace Corps House guard to hunt the snake and kill it, and then commands me to go poop in the other bathroom. Which of course, I refused to do. Because who’s to say Slithery McSlitherin didn’t have a buddy hanging out in the other bathroom? Yeah, I am so self-absorbed-crazy that I actually think the entire snake population of Africa is out to get me personally.
So I force Alex to go into the bathroom first, and make sure the coast is clear. And to her credit, she actually did. And if I had asked her to stand in there with me and protect me while I pooped, she probably would have done that too. Because I had essentially turned into a straight-jacket worthy, babbling crazy mess who’s sphincter (3 times) had decided if it ever opened again it would bring forth a snake apocalypse. Yeah, so no gold star for me.
I can’t believe this is my life. Seriously.
An update: Slithery McSlitherin was never caught. He still roams the Kedougou Regional House property. I eventually regained normal bowel function, except in the dark…
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.