November 1, 2006

The Fear Reflex

You may have noticed the National Blog Posting Month picture over there in my sidebar. This means I've committed to posting something for you to read every day of the month of November along with hundreds of other bloggers. If you have subscribed to the feed of this blog, this is your chance to unsubscribe rather than receive daily drivel as I can't guarantee the content of my posts. Usually if I write something for the blog and it stinks, I just don't post it and wait for another day to bring a better idea. But not this month. Anything goes in November. Check out the new poll in the sidebar to give some suggestions as to content!

But enough with the disclaimer.

We got home late from trick or treating last night. I was sitting in our dark bedroom using the computer to catch up on email when I felt a presence beside me. I turned and saw an ugly old bald man grinning at me from less than two feet away. I screamed shrilly, and smacked him. My darling husband ripped off his mask and laughed hysterically while I tried to restart my heart.

But what if it hadn't been my husband? What if a crazy madman had entered my apartment to do me some evil deed? All I could muster in self defense is a slap? I always tell myself that I would be tough if attacked but instances like last night prove I would simply melt into fear. A slap wouldn't deter any villain. I've listened to all the seminars and watched the videos. I'm supposed to go for the groin, neck or eyes. I know this. Yet in the split second it takes to realize I'm in danger all I can think is GAHHHHHH! and pansy slap them on the cheek.

I hate being scared by people. It strips everything from my awareness except fear and leaves me totally subject to an attacker's will. Whenever I find myself the victim of these kind of pranks I always feel weak, stupid and mad at myself for being such a wuss. Which is why it is so satisfying to scare people. You instantly pop the bubble of security that they take for granted and get into their very core. It's empowering for the attacker to have such instant crippling results.

So how do I toughen up? Do I tell my husband to continue scaring me until I develop the appropriate defense reflex? But I doubt he wants me practicing a crisp elbow to his groin. My friend Shannon swears by a 3 day intensive course in Northern California to learn self-defense but I doubt I'll ever sign up for that either since it takes so much time and money. I bought mace last year but stopped carrying it after my toddler kept finding it in my purse and chewing on it. So I'm just stuck with being a slapper? Unacceptable. Any suggestions, my friends? Or is fear an impossible reflex to overcome?


Lindsay said...

I don't know what to tell ya. I've got the same problem. Once, when I was re-shelving books at my bookstore job, a customer in a not-at-all secretive manner, approached me and spoke up to ask me a question. I literally jumped out of my shoes, I was so startled. The guys felt so bad, too. I mean, what do you do when a customer (of all people) startles you half-way to Australia? It was incredibly embarrassing. So yeah, I'm with you...somethings gotta change.

Also, good luck with the daily blog posting. Now that it's Nov. 1st, I'm starting to seriously question my sanity for signing up for the write-a-novel-in-November bit. Sheesh!

five days til surgery said...

Yay, I'm excited that you are going to blog every day! Regarding your fear reflex, it never gets old when Trent scares you on the stairs! :) Maybe the only way to conquer your fear is to start scaring other people. You can get Adam back . . .

Contrary said...

Someone inadvertantly scared me today, by walking up behind me and not being at all sneaky.

Usually I'm so relaxed as to make people check my pulse, but occasianlly I get jumpy like a cat.

The upshot is that I jumped and yelled,'Jesus Christ on a cracker', which made them giggle like a 6 year old and will probably lead to some on purpose scaring.

I'm also participating in NaBloPoMo and am wondering how you got that button on your sidebar. Could ya help a sister out?

kaff said...

I had so much fun scaring the trick-or-treaters last night. One passed out on the porch, right onto some pumpkins and another one flew from the porch to the street on one fail swoop...she didn't even want candy! It was very funny! There wasn't one defense move all night (thank goodness). So I don't have any tips for you, sorry Sarah.

Jippy said...

I don't know but I did just scare my kid. LOL and your bubble of safety is 100% accurate. You think he'd be used to me by's just more irritating. I stopped by because of NaBloPoMo.

Andrew said...

I'm 6'4", 220 pounds and I would have jumped out of my skin at an unexpected mask like that too. It's a pretty normal reaction, I think.

To Love, Honor and Dismay

amanda said...

Welcome to being married to one of the Flake boys. Cannon still tries to scare me about once a month. I can see most of his scare attempts coming, but every once in a while he still gets me pretty good.

I think that it's funny that all of my kids start hiding and jumping out trying to scare me when they are about 18 months old. Is is nature or nurture?

I guess it's not just the boys though. Mindy has pulled some of the scariest tricks on Marc. Poor guy.

claiborne said...

I took RAD (Rape, Awareness and Defense) in college. The best part is the last few classes, when you beat the heck out of a man (who is covered in pads). The guy scares you first...then harass esyou..then you're so ticked you just hit him silly. It's a great way to get over your hesitancy to hit - and hit hard. We ended up actually hurting our instructor, but he said it was worth it to help teach us to defend ourselves. Our sweet ole punching bag.

amanda said...

I just thought of a good story about when the Flake family scare gene totally backfired. When Grandpa and Grandma Flake brought Penny up to visit we went hiking at Mt. Ranier National park. Grandpa and Penny were ahead of me, so they ran and hid behind a big rock and planned on scaring us when we passed them. What they didn't know was that a nice 60ish couple had passed me (I was preggers with a 2 year old walking with me). So when the 60ish couple approached the rock, Grandpa jumped out and screamed at total strangers, who were not at all used to having people scare them once a month, and they JUST ABOUT DIED. HAHAHAHAHAHA. He is lucky that they didn't use all of those defense techniques that have been thrown around in this comment section.

Anyway, sorry I don't have any good advice on what to do if the real thing happens. yah, good luck on that one.

Kristine said...

I'm afraid I'd be a slapper too!

Are there any self-defense classes nearby? Maybe that would be a good option...'cause I don't think a slap would deter most deranged madmen.

Oh, and I would have been scared to pieces too!

Sarah said...

Glad to see I'm not the only wuss.

Claiborne, I found a local RAD program and am going to see about doing the program. It's something I've been thinking about for a while and just needed some moral support to enroll in. Thanks!

KAFF!! I'm so glad to hear from you again! But I really can't believe you made someone pass out on your porch on Halloween! You evil, nasty little girl!

Amanda - this is the first time Adam has given in to his Flake tendencies of scaring people out of their gourd, but I've got to say, he's got a knack for it. I love that story about grandpa attacking that couple in the redwoods!

Great comments, everyone! Thanks for reading :) Adam keeps asking me when I'm going to stop commenting on my own blog like all the other legit bloggers, but I guess I don't want to be legit.

kaff said...

Keep commenting, its great! Adam doesn't know what he's talking about.

The Grandpa Flake story is going to have me cracking up all afternoon, how funny!!!

s'mee said...

Our #3, who is about 5'4"-120lbs took her dad out one night when he just walked in from the bedroom and she wasn't expecting him to be up that late. She had been training with Billy Blanks and well, one scare lead to a around the back and over the shoulder back kick with her foot right into Thor's chest, at which point he fell to the floor in a heap. Did I mention he is was well over the 250lb mark at the time?

There are two camps, fight or flight, she's a fighter, I get scared and find a fetal position fast.

Catherine said...

you should've keyed him in the eyes.

Lady Steed said...


So far so good.