And there I was, python around my neck, smiling, frightened, silently doing a rendition of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy ‘to pee, or not to pee, that is the question.’ How did I find myself here? Rewind a few hours back…
Its 37 °C on a Sunday, my girlfriend Annie and I decide to go cool down at a reptile park 20 kilometers north east of the sweltering city center. As we ride there she mentions several times how she at least wants to touch a snake and how it would be so cool if we did that together. Of course I nod and agree knowing very well she’d be frightened when that time comes. I’m there thinking about how different the place might look having last visited in 2001.
After hours of watching reptiles and birds and a scrumptious meal, two litres of water and a million pics later we decide to start heading back home. As we turn into the reception, we walk past a guide with a snake around his being neck keenly by trailed a throng of enthusiastic Europeans about to do exactly what Annie had been hoping for.
As soon as they’re done taking pics with the snake Annie walks towards the guide to face her fears and I’m thinking to myself what possible explanation I’ll offer if this ends in strangulation. She manages to compose herself with the guide’s help she has the python around her neck, grabs it by the head and tail and looks towards me with this steely eye look. Several camera flashes later she comes back smiling, excitedly saying, “fusa it’s your turn.”
Hanging a big snake around your neck while having a full bladder is a bad idea but it’s also the only way I was gonna walk out of Kalimba Reptile Park. Going against all the voices in my head, I drag my feet as hard as I can and tell the nonchalant guide I won’t touch the snake’s head, let alone look at it. Following my signal, he puts the python over my not-so-broad shoulders it immediately starts slithering, almost slipping outta my hands.
I can feel my urethral sphincters almost giving way as I’m overcome by fear and a rush of blood. Right before Annie takes the first pic I give the best smile I can manage and I’m thinking to myself whether to pee or, not to pee, maybe the scent will put the snake off. I smile another 20 seconds for what seems like the longest minute of my life and as soon as the snake is back in the hands of the guide, my pee evaporates and I whisk Annie out of there before she gets any other daring ideas.