Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reflexes - that's how they getcha...

You never realize how things are honed into you until you get taken by surprise.

Every normal restraint somehow gets thrown out the window and you kinda just go with your impulses. What I've learned after nearly a decade of on-off martial arts instructions - impulses can be pretty damn dumb if you don't take time to think about what you're doing.

Yesterday I was preparing to take out the trash. It's the day before Trash Day so instead of my usual jaunt to the backyard, I instead went to the front door. Lost in my own world, I was prepared to turn the key to the screen door when out of nowhere I heard a low 'Hi' coming from the other side of the door.

When I was a kid, I was pretty much fearless. And if I wasn't, I was out to prove I was. Forever climbing trees and jumping off roofs - it's a miracle I didn't kill myself. As I've gotten older, I've become much more of a chicken.

What do you get when you have a grown up chicken with an advanced tae kwon do/kick boxing belt startled by a disembodied voice coming out of the dark?

Someone that screams like a little girl and then shoves the screen door so hard she nearly splits her poor uncle's face open with the force of her blow.

He was a little pissed. "What are you doing!?" he screeched, looking startled. "I thought you saw me!"

"I didn't!" I snapped, trying to recover my own breath.

"Well, then why did you unlock the door?!"

"Because I was taking out the trash! I didn't know you were standing on the porch!"

But seriously - who stands on a pitch dark (foggy) porch waiting for you to open the door without bothering to ring the doorbell first? Who?

Well, my uncle, that's who. I maintain it was his fault that I nearly killed him.

For some reason I have the personality that makes people want to sneak up on me and try to frighten me. Only to freak out and duck back when I scream like a girly-girl and then swing a fist in their face.

It's why I don't go to Knotts Scary Farm, or Halloween Haunt, or any other place like that. Because I'm terrified I'm going to be unreasonably startled and accidentally ax-kick some guy and break a rib and end up in jail. Did you know that after a certain belt you get fingerprinted by the LAPD? Yeah. Because your hands are technically considered deadly weapons. I'm not there yet but can you imagine if you did? Before every fight, you'd have to publically announce that your hands are registered as deadly weapons to whoever wants to fight you - just to avoid a jail sentence.

Sounds pretentious, doesn't it?

But it's interesting. The whole reflexes thing was tested yet again when I ventured into the backyard of my father's that lives to attract wildlife at 5AM this morning. The original goal had been to get my lazy butt up, let the dog out and then work out for an hour before I took her for a walk and then went about my day.

No such luck. Thalia instead honed in on foreign invaders and then before I knew it, she had chased a white kitten up our avocado tree and flushed a smaller one up against a corner. The little one I picked up pretty easily. And she was a sorry shape. The poor thing had a serious eye infection.

The other kitten, however, aside from being scared out of its mind and up in a tree, seemed healthy and twice as large. But I was still half afraid of leaving a kitten up there in a tree. So I sat out there for about half an hour, a dozing kitten in my arms, trying to coax the other one down.

Finally, I gave up coaxing and grabbed a bucket, put a towel in it and gently placed the sickly one. I then climbed the tree and grabbed hold of the stronger one.

All hell broke loose. There were yowls, screams, hisses, a FURIOUS bite to my hand and a barrage of scratches that were painful.

I didn't even wince. I just held on, watched as the kitten sunk her teeth again into my hand, and then just concentrated on trying to climb back down.

Stupid, I know, but I've had my shin dented by a brown belt - this was nothing. I finally landed on the ground and let them both go, having spotted the mom. After the last stray I brought home, I've been forbidden from taking in any more ferals, but I still felt bad for the scrawny one.

Now I've got a tiny little vampire bite on my hand - the reward for my good deed.

But plus side? I didn't drop the cat.

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