Insider Story: Snakes, Security, and a Good Night’s
Marine Westbrooks would like you to know a few things about snakes. For starters: “Most people misunderstand that they’re slimy—they’re not slimy feeling at all. They also recognize you have had them for a while. They don’t have eyelids, so you can’t tell if they’re asleep or not.”
For years, in addition to her regular job as a 911 dispatcher, Marine did educational shows in schools near her home in Georgia and also in northern Florida. She gave talks about what they eat and how big they get, and letting people touch them in a safe manner, while she always kept control of the heads. She also owned several—“first it was a couple and then the couple went to a lot more,” she says with a laugh. “We were doing rescue. But then I had two falls, which messed up my legs and made it very difficult for me to take care of animals. So I can’t pick up snakes and clean up their cages, so we started downsizing and now we don’t have any more snakes left.”
Marine’s leg issues also prevented her from being a police officer, she says, which is how she ended opting for “the next-best thing” and becoming a dispatcher. She worked for a city for a while, then a sheriff’s office, “until I had kids and the twelve-and-a-half-hour shifts makes it hard to see your family. So I got out of it and stayed home for a year or two,” although she later went back to work in dispatch for a security firm.
Because of the leg problems and also fibromyalgia, for many years, Marine had pain while she was sleeping. About ten years ago, she and her husband were in Charleston and wandered into a Sleep Number store. They tried it out, bought one, and, she says, “You know what, I actually sleep at night!” At the time, she was still working in dispatch, often during the night, so she and her husband were on different schedules; they also like different levels of mattress firmness. The Sleep Number bed was such a good fit that they recently got a new one, this time an i8 with an adjustable base and foot warming. “I have responsive air on there and I forget about it, but then it adjusts, and I love it,” Marine says.
Marine’s retired from dispatching now, and snake-keeping. But she’s not just sitting around—a while back, she and her husband started mud-bogging, and even purchasing new off-road vehicles so they each had one. “I was raised everywhere,” Marine says, “so I’ve always had an open mind, but I never thought this would be something I would have fun doing. But, boy, have I ever fallen in love with it.” The things she’s done in life have changed over the years, but there’s always a new adventure, and no matter what it is, it helps to have a good night’s sleep.
If you could sleep anywhere, where would it be? A haunted castle. I love castles and I love watching ghost movies and stories on TV, and I laugh at some of the stuff that seems so fake on a lot of them. I doesn’t even have to be haunted—just an authentic old castle.
What is your Sleep Number setting? 40
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