I've often wondered how I'd react in a horrible situation. Throughout my life, I've done my best to blend into the crowd, to be unnoticed. I've done my best to avoid showing too much emotion because in my head, it makes you vulnerable. I'm from a big family, and I'm one of the young-ins, so I'm used to getting picked on. I think that's where this need to go unnoticed comes from. If you aren't noticed, no one will pick on you, right? If you don't show any emotion, they have nothing to pick on, right? And so the repression began. I learned that I couldn't react to the teasing if I wanted it to stop. It was easier that way.
Then I got older and started going out on my own, and I've started wondering how my suppression of reactions would handle a dangerous situation. Like, if I went to a parking lot and didn't find my car--would I calmly call the police, or would my tears burst forth? Or what if my house was on fire--would I emotionlessly go around making sure everyone was out, or would my mind go blank as I hid in a corner, or would I be able to find my voice and scream for everyone to run? The situation I feared most was a person attack, like someone sticking a gun in my face and asking for my valuables, or grabbing me and pulling me into a grey, rust-spotted van.
Well, last weekend I got a taste of how I'd react to something like that.
As I was walking through a big town mall with my cousin (Michael Scott--the king of no reactions) on my left, and our friend to my right, we came to a section that was narrow, one of those ramps that's next to the stairs. Michael went first, then me, and then our friend. Out of no where, a blur appeared at my side. I felt a tugging at my neck. It took me a few seconds to figure out what was happening: that blur was a man in a black sweater and black hat; and that tugging on my neck was my the strap of my purple Santa Barbra purse that was slung diagonally over my shoulder, which the black-clad man had grabbed and was now attempting to run away with...and as expected my mind was fairly reactionless: "Whelp, there goes my purse. I've been lucky for quite a while now--It's probably about time for something like this to happen to me."
Looking back on it I'm not at all surprised by that thought process. What I am surprised by is my body's reaction. Instead of doing nothing as I'd expected, or even curling up into the fetal position, it decided to scream--scream like a little girl. Frantic, high pitched, screams, pausing only long enough for me to inhale once. And then the tugging stopped, and I heard laughter. Yes, Laughter. And that's when I realized who the Man In Black was. He was my friend--or better, he was* my friend. He'd seen us walking by and thought "I can't resist it." Isn't that true friendship? Wasn't it so kind of him to help me finally answer that nagging question I had about my reactions? ...I don't know how he knew I had that question, since I'd only ever thought about it, and had never voiced it, but I guess that's beside the point. Now I know that my fears are true: when mugged, I scream like a child.
Just thought you might like to know. ;-)
*was, as in, past tense; isn't anymore; He will have to EARN that privilege back.
And FYI, buddy--that's 2 strikes. Think back (to about a year ago) and you'll remember the first strike (which still haunts me, and is why you no longer get to select movies for me). Beware of the thinning ice.