Sometime around the age of six I came to a couple of conclusions. After watching something on TV I decided that, because of the large population of alligators whatever I had been watching had shown in Florida, I would never be able to go there.
This was a major sacrifice in my little first grade mind, because, as we all know, Disney World is in Orlando... but since I could practically see alligators snapping their razor sharp teeth under the rides, I decided the days of fun I might enjoy if I could convince my parents to take me across the country, just wouldn't be worth the risk to life and limb.
I added a few other places to the "no travel" list as well: Ricki-Ticki-Tavi quickly painted India as the land of cobras, eliminating it from my list. A documentary we watched in class on some deadly sea snakes meant I wasn't going to be plunging into any great blue sea anytime soon. And another documentary a few years later on "the world ten most poisonous animals" squelched my desire to go Down Under for several years.
In light of my fear of all things creepy, it is rather amazing that I spent a semester in South Africa (although for the first week I did check under my bed... which was in the city... for snakes...).
Now I realize that these fears are on par with the fears I've heard on occasion from people about Earthquakes and California. And I've lived her for nearly thirty years and have survived pretty well. Something terrible could happen... but the probability is pretty low...
Yet the deep-seated fear remains.
And the photos of the houses we've applied to live in, which show a dark expanse of water not far from the backyard, have really done nothing to ease the irrational nervousness. Neither did the maps Paul showed me after being accepted.
Him: "See this is where the school is?"
Me: "That's right next to the everglades!"
Him: "Oh that's just the map scale... It's like 20 miles away!"
Me: "And that road... Alligator Alley!!!!!"
Him: "Again, like 20 miles away."
Me: "And you think Alligators just stop, because of some magical line on the map?!?!?!"
So as you can see, the irrational nervousness may be winning out. And those reports that showed an alligator biting a police car last week really did nothing to help.
The giant mountain lion prints we found near Nani and Grumpa's do put things in perspective a bit... We're trading earthquakes and volcanoes and mountain lions for hurricanes and alligators...
Anyways, any comments you all have that say: "I've lived in Florida for decades and have never seen an alligator outside a zoo!" would be greatly appreciated.