Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Honeymoon Notes: Lighthouses, Phobias, and Tennis Shoes

Clint and I are honeymooning in Nag's Head, North Carolina. We're balancing our time with a bit of sightseeing each day, and a lot of crashing on the beach, which happens to be just below our balcony.

Tuesday morning we set off to tour a few lighthouses in the area. "Touring" means "photographing" for me, and "climbing to the tippy-top" for Clint. I came to terms with my fear of heights a few years ago when I thought I wanted to zipline in Cancun. Climbing the stairs made me hyperventilate, so I'm not sure why I thought I wanted to jump off the tower at the top. Lesson learned! I sent Clint off alone to climb these stairs

(Photo credit: Clint Weidert)

To the top of Bodie's Lighthouse:

And promised that I would take this photo:

When we arrived, I noted this sign in the lawn in front of our car:

It was a shortly-trimmed lawn as far as I could see, and I joked on Facebook that it was probably just a great way to keep people off of it.

Still, while Clint joined his tour group, I opted to trek down a surrounding boardwalk to a nearby lookout point, and it wasn't long before I met up with a family admiring this guy:

"It's a black snake," one guy said; "they are so beautiful." Beautiful my ass! I skirted by and used the super-de-dooper zoom on my camera for this shot, and continued down the boardwalk, now scanning left and right, checking the lawn and the boardwalk.

I've never really liked snakes, but I could recognize that for the most part, it was a phobia handed down from my Mother. She had a few childhood stories: A snake fell out of a tree onto her at the San Diego Zoo when she was a kid, and a blue-racer chased after her once as a child. She hated snakes. Truth be told, while they kind of creep me out, I've never really been face-to-face with one to know if I would be terrified or not. 

After meeting that big guy, I confirmed that I was kind of scared of them. The guy that thought they were beautiful served as a bit of a buffer, but he was gone now, and I sure as hell didn't want to encounter another on my own.

I moved on down the boardwalk then, and, after inspecting for snakes, leaned over this rail to see what I could in this freshwater pond.

I spotted a giant crab lumbering about in the muddy bottom, and was busy watching it eat, when a very large woman came trundling up the boardwalk, screaming. "Eeeeee, ohhhhhh!!!" I turned to find her coming right at me, pointing at my feet. I screamed too, then, dancing and moving away from what I assumed was another 5-foot long black snake, when she gushed,

"I just love your shoes!"

Holy Mother of God. I thanked her and set about trying to catch my breath and slow my heartbeat. I had to laugh, later, that I opted out of climbing the stairs to the top of the lighthouse to avoid the very sensations of fear and anxiety that I ended up encountering anyway. 

Phobias are kind of interesting. Even though I have an intellectual understanding that a set of stairs into the sky aren't going to hurt me, the wobbling knees, churning stomach, and vertigo still set in. Even though I know on some level that a snake "is more afraid of me than I am of it." [::coughbullshitcough::] I will scream my head off and dance a jig at the possibility that one is slithering towards me, before I even verify it.

Things I Learned on Day Tuesday of our Honeymoon: 

1. Irrational or not, I *am* afraid of snakes.

2. "Bodie" is pronounced "Body." It has 219 stairs, and two 1,000 watt bulbs (one is a back-up, in the event the other goes out) that is on 2.5 seconds, off for 2.5, on for 2.5, then off for 20 seconds, and every mariner knows that is Bodie-Body's pattern.

3. I have great tennis shoes.