Probably, right away, mixed emotions. I’d be terrified—I’m picturing the pit around 10 feet deep, smooth walls, nothing to cling to or grip. Snakes piled up to my ankles, hissing and writhing. You only want writhing in a sexual context, asexual writhing almost always means something is about to die.
But then, I’d also be pretty excited. I’d think on some level it was pretty cool to be trapped in a viper pit. That doesn’t happen to many people. If you find yourself trapped in a viper pit, you are definitely an interesting person living an interesting, exciting life. If I survived, I’d probably come out famous. If having a dog that looks a bit like Brad Pitt and a cat that looks a bit like Angelina Jolie is Upworthy, if beatboxing the Gilligan’s Island theme can make you Reddit famous, surviving a viper pit should at the very least land me a segment on Letterman. Letterman will probably squeeze my shoulder and call me “son.”
Getting ahead of myself.
In the moment, in the pit, I’d want to call X. X is who I call when big things happen. You probably have a person like that in your life—the person you call who makes whatever is going on feel real, or settled, or else no event or whatever is complete until you get their perspective on it, see it through their eyes, filtered through their head.
I’d have my phone with me in the pit, too. Unless whatever villain tossed me in the pit stripped me first, which is unlikely. I’m thinking the villains here are more Snidely Whiplash than Buffalo Bill (thanks God), so I’d definitely have my phone. So I could call X. Nothing to stop me, except I wouldn’t want to be a bother. At some point, with X, it went from being cool to call and say hello, just hey what’s up, to being necessary to have a very specific need or question. But, okay, this is an extreme situation. Snakes, pit, etc. Not like I’m bored, can’t sleep, saw a dog, whatever. Probably cool to call. This is life and death, after all. If X was in a viper pit or some other life and death situation, I’d want X to call me. I’d want to know. I’d be hurt if X didn’t call, in fact. I’d feel left out.
Which is I guess unfair—X can do what X wants, X can share X’s life with whoever X wants. There’s no obligation, no one owes anyone anything. Sure, there was a time when I’d be X’s first phone call from the bottom of a viper pit, but people change, and just because things were a certain way once upon a time doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. They shouldn’t stay that way. Things need to change, that’s life. No change equals stagnation, death, all that shit. So it’s cool, it’s fine.
But then, X isn’t the one trapped in a viper pit, I am. I’m the one in real danger here. Not that I’d want to call X for help. That’s the last thing I’d want. I have a hard time asking for help, I’m always afraid it makes me seem weak. I’m 33 years old, a fucking grown man, I don’t need help escaping a viper pit. I’d be calling simply to share, because the world is a crazy place where unexpected things happen and that’s fun, but only if there’s someone else to bear witness. In fact, getting stuck in a viper pit without having someone to share the adventure with would be a total waste of time. I should just call. I’ll call.
But then, see, I’m overthinking this entire thing, which makes me nervous. Nervous I’d be putting too much pressure on the situation—between the poisonous snakes and overthinking the phone call—and if X does answer, I’ll come off jumpy and weird. Too tense, or something. Maybe it would be better if I came up with what I wanted to say first, before I called—but no, that’s no good, then it’s like I’m performing, very inauthentic. Conversation killer. Better to get right to the point.
What’s the point, though? What do I want to get out of this conversation? Because it strikes me—look, I’m not proud of this, but thinking about how hurt I’d be if X got stuck in a viper pit and didn’t call me has me thinking that choosing my moment to tell X about this might give me a certain power. Like, what if I don’t tell X about this crazy, outsized, dangerous life event right away? What if I kept it to myself for a while and then in like three weeks dropped it into conversation, casually, like maybe X would say something about shoes and I’d say something about how the thick tread on my boots really came in handy when I was trapped in that viper pit, probably saved my life, and X would be like, What the hell are you talking about? Viper pit? And I’d say, Oh, did I forget to mention? I got stuck in a 10-foot deep pit filled with venomous snakes a while back, really crazy. Meant to call you, guess I’ve been busy. Anyway, how’s work going?
Yeah, like that. Pitch the whole ordeal very casually, very blasé, which makes me seem extremely cool. That’s how cool I am, no problem I can’t handle. Also, with luck, holding off on sharing the story would shine a light on how X and I have drifted, make X feel left out, maybe inspire X to take action.
Wait, no. That I’d even consider—see, what I’m realizing now is that I’m a bad friend. A needy, manipulative friend. If X and I have drifted, maybe that’s why. My fault. Who’d ever want to deal with a friend like me? What I should do is call X and tell X I’ve come to that realization and apologize. Yeah, apologize, but don’t mention the snakes right away. Go through the apology first, all the emotions, then end the call by mentioning how I can feel snakes wriggling up my pant-legs. Then X will be like, You’re trapped in a viper pit and called to apologize for being a bad friend and not for help? That’s how much you value our friendship?
Wait, I got manipulative there again for a second. Motherfucker. I just want to connect, you know? That’s all. Don’t want to go through life without this other person around in some capacity. Being trapped in a viper pit without sharing the experience with X would seem like a waste of time. It’s all pure, kind of, I think/hope, at the root… but then this other bullshit, this anxious, angst-ridden craving kicks in…
Maybe I could send X a text. A picture of my feet covered in snakes. That way the ball is in X’s court, if X is interested in finding out more, X can text back or call me, and if X doesn’t care or is too busy then I’ll know, okay, fine. That’ll be fine. Don’t care, then. Fuck it. Who fucking cares, you know? No big deal. Live your own life, X. We’ll catch up sometime down the road. I got shit going on, too, you know. Adventures. Cool adventures involving deadly viper pits, so yeah, I’m pretty busy myself, and I bet whatever you’re doing isn’t nearly as cool. You’re, what, probably watching TV or something. Maybe hanging out with your new friends, your cool new friends who don’t, by the way, know you half as well as I do. These new friends who probably love Big Bang Theory, think that’s the funniest thing ever, and you probably bite your tongue when it comes up, or maybe you watch that show now, maybe you even have yourself half convinced you like it. Good for you. Congratulations. And if I don’t get out of this pit, if the snakes kill me? Don’t feel bad. Not your fault. You were busy living your own life and that’s cool, that’s totally understandable. Not like I ever—no, let’s not do that. Let’s not get all dramatic. No obligations, nothing owed.
God, it’s almost at the point now where I’m hoping there won’t be any cell reception at the bottom of the pit, so I can just focus on escape instead.