In continuing my practice of "I admit it when I screw up so that I can be a useful example to others of what not to do," I have to confess that I derped so hard this morning that if someone had wanted to hurt me, there would have been little to nothing I could have done to stop him.
To begin with, I am not a morning person. I am so, so not a morning person that, as far as I'm concerned, life doesn't begin until at least 10 am, and truly civilized people wait until noon to conduct their affairs.
However, I have a 3:15 flight this afternoon, and the combination of 1) driving to Orlando from Daytona, B) flying with a checked firearm in my luggage, and III ) getting through the TSA checkpoint led me to believe that I needed to leave the house as soon as I was functional. So I left at approximately 9:30 am, just after walking the dogs, and at around 10 am I was gassing up my car.
Despite being at a gas station in a place that I wasn't familiar with, I was completely oblivious due to being up too early. I was leaning against the car, my attention on the gas gauge as the numbers spun, and my mental acuity was somewhere between "beige" and that low electrical hum you hear from transformers. In other words, I was completely and utterly in Condition White:
White is the lowest level on the escalator. In Condition White one is unaware, not alert, oblivious. This state can be characterized as "daydreaming" or "preoccupied". People in White tend to walk around with their heads down, as if watching their own feet. They do not notice the impending danger until it literally has them by the throat http://www.teddytactical.com/SharpenBladeArticle/4_States%20of%20Awareness.htmSo there I was, mindlessly pumping gas, when the first thing I became aware of was that there was a voice -- a male voice -- behind me and to my left, and it was talking to me. Unfortunately, I still can't recall WHAT that voice was saying -- all I know is that my brain made that skipping sound associated with vinyl records as it went "WHO WHAT HOLY SHIT MAN BEHIND ME SNEAKED UP OH GOD ROBBERY MURDER ALERT ALERT."
|Condition Derp. Also, she's holding it wrong.|
I suppose it's a good thing that I'm naturally jumpy, as those reflexes served me in good stead today. The first thing I did -- the only sensible thing I did in this situation -- was to whirl around while jumping backwards, putting the fender of my car between me and him. My hand clawed uselessly at my hip for the gun that wasn't there, because I had packed it for travel.
I suppose that maybe I could have pulled the hose out if I had needed to, but I'm not convinced it would have had enough pressure to douse an assailant anyway.
Fortunately for me (and thank God for looking out for fools, small children, and Erin Palette), the person behind me wasn't some random assailant but actually someone who knew me, had recognized my car, and was saying something like "Hey, what are you doing here?". Mind you, I only found this out after he had finished slapping his knee and laughing at me for jumping out of my skin.
This could have gone so much worse than it did. If this had been an actual assailant, he could have easily mugged me, or stolen my car if I put it between me and him. This was a dramatic wake-up call for me (both figuratively and literally in my case) and I'm telling you this now to help reinforce in me that I need to be aware of my surroundings every time I leave my house.
A gun is a good tool for self-defense, but it is not THE tool. That honor belongs to your brain -- but only if you use it!