Recently while visiting the Holly Ridge town hall with my husband I looked up at the sunglasses perched on his head and saw a giant spider walking over them. Oh my God, my heart started pounding and all I could think about was that I had to kill it and quick before it jumped on me. With only my cellphone in hand and raised up high (I had to contemplate this course of action since I would have to put that spider killing phone against my face eventually) I hollered out “spider!” and threatened to strike. With fear in his eyes (more from my actions than the spider I’m sure) my husband quickly flicked the giant beast onto the floor and squished it. Death by spider adverted.
This made me think. Were my actions appropriate? What could I have done differently? What if I had a rolled up newspaper instead of a phone? This was getting serious. I had been caught off guard and I didn’t like it. I should have known better.
This simple event lead to further discussions in my head. What if that had been an armed robber instead of a spider? What if someone tried to grab my purse and run? What if someone actually tried to break into my home while I was there and off guard? Concentrating too hard on these scenarios will make you have ulcers, but not giving them any thought might be worse. Our imagination is a wonderful thing. I often find myself daydreaming about riding a hunter/jumper course in the Olympics. I can feel the horse move, I can gauge the distance, I find myself holding my breath as he leaps up and over the water jump. I am there.
So why don’t I do the very same thing with scary scenarios? It only takes a minute and yet it may just be the practice that saves my life.
When you get in your car this afternoon, look around and see what you have within reach to defend yourself. When you go home tonight and turn on the lights, pretend you see something that has been visibly altered (a broken window perhaps) and visualize what your plan would be. Always run from danger if the option is available. Give yourself space and time between you and what may harm you. Get to a phone, call for help, get the attention of others, but just don’t freeze. Only crazy actors in movies go toward imminent danger. There is no badge of courage out there. If something goes bump in the cellar or attic don’t go there! Run away and get to safety. Listen to that little voice inside. Stay alert and be in charge of taking care of you. There is no possession in this world worth your life, remember that.
Knowledge is power and spiders are gross. Keep on top of your game and make yourself proud!
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club. Email queries and comments regarding this column to Gun Gal at firstname.lastname@example.org.