When I recently found a possum stuck in one of the trash cans, I viewed that as yet another very legitimate reason for a meltdown. But my neighbor disagreed. Instead of calling for back-up, he turned the trash can on its side and the possum waddled under my house, offering high-fives to his possum cousins.
What I see as a reason to freak out seems to make other people roll their eyes and yawn. If an experience makes me pee my pants, I throw it in my “this-is-an-emergency” pile. Other people might not be upset at all about the lizard lounging around in the washer. But if I tried to remove that little guy (which I never will), I would need CPR.
So I conducted a brief survey to better understand the definition of a crisis in lizard- and snake-infested Florida.
“What if you found a slimy salamander inside your washing machine?” I asked a friend.
“I'd gently toss him outside,” she answered.
“Excuse me, but I saw you hyperventilate when a frog landed on your foot. Remember?” I rolled my eyes.
“I was surprised, that’s all,” she argued. “I wasn’t afraid of the stupid frog.”
The sight of blood gets another friend’s attention. But unless it spurts, it isn’t a siren-worthy situation.
“I feel that way about vomit,” another friend said. “If someone is vomiting, I pay attention. But if they vomit blood, I’ll deliver an emergency-level response.”
“If they vomit on me, that is an emergency,” I sniffed. “I can’t stand vomit.”
“No one enjoys vomit,” she growled. “But if someone accidentally hurls in your direction, your life isn’t in danger.”
“Speak for yourself,” I said. “Obviously, you don’t dislike vomit as hysterically as I do. If someone puked on me, I’d start vomiting right along with them. And very likely faint, too.”
By the way, my poor culinary skills often bring kitchen disasters my way. One minute, I’m trying to bake brownies. The next minute, the oven fills the house with smoke and I’m feeling my way around to find the door.
“What if someone’s clothing caught fire?” I asked my friends. “Wouldn’t that be viewed as an emergency?”
“When did that happen to you?” one friend asked.
“I didn’t say it happened to me,” I sighed.
“You don’t have to,” she shrugged. “I know you.”
“Fine,” I snapped. “Yes, it was me. The front of my sweater caught fire while I stirred gravy on a gas stove.”
“What did you do?” She asked.
“I yanked it off and threw it in the sink,” I answered.
“Did your hair catch fire?” she asked.
I shook my head.
Again, I shook my head.
My friend smiled and shrugged. “Crisis averted.”
By the conclusion of my survey, I realized that I need a critter getter on speed dial. Just to be on the safe side, I should stop trying to cook. I stood up and grabbed my purse.
“Where are you going?” my friends asked.
“I need to borrow a husband in my neighborhood,” I said. “I need a he-man type, to handle my latest emergency. Free my washing machine lizard and bring peace back to my life.”
A former Southsider and an award-winning journalist and humor writer, Sherri Coner resides in southwest Florida. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com. She also speaks to women’s groups. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.