Parasite and a Black Rat Snake

Black Rat Snake: Pantherophis obsoletus

From: Monday May 4th

I went for another walk in White’s Woods today (5.4 miles). It was cold (49 degrees F) and sunny. About halfway through my walk, I met a black rat snake sunning itself on a tree. It was enjoying the sun rays and did not seem to mind me one bit. Though, of course, I was practicing social distancing for both of our safety!

Seeing this black rat snake reminded me of a moment last summer at Blue Spruce Park. There was a reptile show in one of the pavilions with snakes, turtles, lizards, and an alligator. The man who was showing the creatures would pull out snakes to show kids and walk the alligator while letting kids pet it. It seemed a bit sketchy to me, both for how the animals were treated, but also because the alligator kept pulling the sleeve off that was keeping its mouth shut! The keeper did not seem concerned.

Black Rat Snake at Blue Spruce (2019)

As all of this was going on, I noticed a large black rat snake coming down one of the pillars of the pavilion. It was at least six feet long and quite thick as well. At this point, there were at least 20 kids in the pavilion and they were touching all the snakes and lizards as the man pulled them out. The kids saw the black rat snake, and they surrounded it excitedly. They got within a foot or two of the snake, when I decided to ask the man if the snake was one of his. He said it was not. I was quite surprised that, even though it was not one of his, he was letting kids surround it and approach it without even saying a word.

So, I stepped over and said they should probably give it more space. I then appointed myself “snake warning expert” in the pavilion for the next half an hour until it slithered away. I am now considering a new career path in the ever-burgeoning snake industry.

We were finally able to watch Parasite last night. Overall, I thought it was very well done. The actors were engaging and the plot was interesting. Though, the highlight of the film was the style and use of color. I generally enjoy dark comedy and class criticism, so I particularly enjoyed the tension as it built to the denouement.

If there was one small adjustment I would suggest, it would be that the class criticism was a bit over the top at times (though, that was most likely done on purpose). So, a bit more subtlety and nuance regarding class would have only made the film even more enjoyable. However, perhaps the reason that the criticism seemed overdone at times, is because it is often absent or too subtle in many Hollywood films.

I enjoyed that there are a lot of ways that I identify with the primary characters in the film through their struggles. It made me reflect on the years of my life when I was working multiple jobs to get through school, including: office cleaner, meat shoveler (yes, that is a thing!), construction, barista, hotel valet / driver / bell man, working in a steel factory, and contract sewer, to name a few.

More importantly, there are many days that I wish I could be living in a hidden room like another character from the film; this is especially true in the age of Covid:

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