March 21, 2006
Some might call it a form of mental illness. Perhaps it is; but I call it being prepared. For as long as I can remember, (and more so since I’ve become a Mommy,) I’ve had in my head what my family and I lovingly refer to as "action plans." Action plans are simply this: pre-thought out "actions" that will occur in certain situations including, but not limited to things like:
- an unsolicited knock at the door by trench-coat-wearing-petitioners, sales persons, or religious zealots, in which case the scenario is pretty much the same as a fire as in, "Stop, Drop, and Roll" (to the nearest wall where one can not be seen or heard under any circumstances by someone standing at the front door and stay there for at least five minutes or until Mommy gives the "all clear."
- a dog loose in the neighborhood while we play outside (Action Plan would be to elevate the children in any way possible, such as placing the kids on top of a car or preferably a mini-van (if the adrenalin is pumping enough) while Mommy fends off the dog with yet-to-be-learned karate vs. dog techniques until children can be brought safely inside or dog is somehow contained.)
They’ve been a constant source of entertainment for my husband and mom, as in "What would you do if ‘x’ happens?" It only takes me a second to get going because in some form or another, I’ve already thought them out and thoroughly, Jack Bauer style. Got a wrench to throw into my plan mid stream, as in unsolicited team of sales persons are now at both front and back doors? Bring it on; I’ve got the answers. My family is always shocked to hear me answer without hesitation in explicit detail about how I would deal with virtually any situation. While they laugh, I’m streamlining my action plan for possible implementation. I’m quite serious about them, and am rarely caught without an executable plan.
This is how they come about. I see something on the news or in a TV show that gets in my head. Maybe it will be something about how unsuspecting children were playing when a swarm of bees attacked, or maybe it will be something more sinister. Either way, I come up with a series of events that would take place if said terrible thing would happen to me. I know, it’s a little crazy; but it makes me feel better knowing I’m prepared for anything, and that’s all that really matters.
When I was pregnant for the second time, my action plans were in overdrive. So much so, that when a young pregnant woman was attacked in the Midwest by some crazy loon who wanted her baby, I went to karate that week and asked my instructor to please teach me immediately how to fend off a knife attack. My instructors are happy to feed the frenzy of my action plans. One instructor spent an hour teaching me all the different ways to get away from someone with a knife. His shoulder was recovering at the time from an injury; and in one overly energetic move, I fended off the rubber knife and simultaneously did something to his shoulder that sounded like a twig snapping. He walked it off; I felt terrible. But I found out it worked and the lesson continued. . .at a little bit slower pace.
At my local grocery store, a woman was forced into her own car with a gun at her back by two armed men and driven around the city for hours before finally being released unharmed. I immediately developed a plan of attack for such an occurrence should that ever happen to me. That week, a pregnant me learned the fine art of swinging my elbows in the style of "Eww, back off, I so do NOT want to dance with you" to move a gun trajectory out of the way of important parts like, oh say, my head, chest, etc. and I felt much better about going to the grocery store again.
The truth is, I am so hyper aware when I am out in public or even in my own yard that the likelihood of some stupid criminal deciding that I am a worthy target is probably slim to none. It just wouldn’t be worth their while to attack someone who is so vigilant and constantly paying attention to her surroundings. And if they did decide to attack, well, let’s just say that I already know that I don’t freeze up when someone attacks me. I’ve been there in the past and the recipient of my wrath was not a very happy camper (and that was pre-karate).
It doesn’t matter if you are 5’2", 90 lbs. and your attacker is 6’8" 280 lbs. I’ve learned that you may not be able to overpower your attacker in the traditional sense; but there are so many cool untraditional ways to make your attacker beg for mercy. I am 5’9"; my husband is 6’3". He’s also got me by about 60 lbs. (Oh, you totally thought I was going to give our weights, didn’t you! So not EVER going to happen, especially with mine, and now that you have the formula, Mr. B minus 60=me. . .I’ll never tell you Mr. B’s either so just get it out of your head). Anyway. . .
I often come home from karate all keyed up with what I’ve learned that evening and with school girl excitement tell my husband, "Come on, grab me in a bear hug," or "Grab my arm like this." Usually, he obliges so quickly that I have to stand there for a few seconds and collect my butt-kicking thoughts before I work my moves. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes he’s hurting a bit; sometimes I pull a muscle or break a nail. But a few weeks ago I learned something very cool that will work on anyone. . .
All you need is one finger. Add to that one very unnatural angle to bend it, and you’ve got a winner. All you need is one finger to have someone begging for mercy. It totally works, and that one finger is just one of the reasons why I LOVE going to karate class each week. It’s empowering and confidence building. What bad guy ever thinks you’re going to take his pinky, or any finger for that matter, and have him begging for his mama?
None, and that is precisely why it works . . . (at least against my husband).