When I talk about my college summer job experience and tell people that I crawled under houses for a pest control company, they usually assume that I encountered a lot of snakes. In all three years, I only saw one snake and I wrote about that in my previous post. I got to a point where I wasn’t really concerned about snakes because I never saw them. I didn’t like mice and rats because they scamper. When they would scamper, it would scare me and I would jump. You don’t need to jump when you are crawling under a house. You will almost always bang your head on a floor joist. I hurt myself sever times because of scampering rodents.
The town where the company I worked for was based had two pest control companies. Our competitors had an employee who stuck his hand in a bed of baby snakes while he was under a house. He was bitten several times and was in bad shape for a while. Even though I had gotten comfortable being under houses, this did give me some cause for concern. Most of the time I didn’t think about it that much and it didn’t affect how I did the job. Until I met his mother.
The mother of the guy who was bitten lived in a rental house that we did the service on. I went to this house the week after her son was bitten and I was supposed to go underneath her house. I went to the door and knocked like I usually would. She came to the door and I immediately realized that she had been drinking. A lot. It was late in the morning and she was in bad shape. I introduced myself and told her why I was there and what I would be doing. She replied, “Are you going under the house with those snakes?” I told her I was going under the house and I would deal with any snakes if I saw them. I went back to the truck to get everything ready. She came out to the truck and asked me again if I was going under the house with the snakes. I assured her that I would be ok. Then she told me, “I’m going to get you something for those snakes!” I told her I would be ok and she left.
As I was spraying around the outside of the house before I went underneath, I began to wonder if she might have actually seen any snakes around her house. I knew that she was upset about her son and the alcohol might be contributing to what she was telling me. But what if she HAD seen a snake? I would this be a repeat of my previous snake experience? I went under the house a lot more cautious than normal. The ground was giving away beneath me like it had at the other snake house. Another sign of rodents meant snakes were a possibility. I hadn’t been under the house that long when I heard the lady at the crawlspace door. She dropped a large metal pipe at the doorway and shouted “I brought you this to help you with those SNAKES!” At this point, I didn’t care if she had seen snakes or not. She was doing a good job of scaring me. I sprayed everywhere that I normally did but I moved as fast as I could. I needed to get out of there as quickly as I could. I wrapped up the job and went to my next house. I was fine by the time I had to go under the next house.
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