Saturday, March 24, 2007

Moments of Brilliance

Once upon a time, I owned a conveniently small, clip-to-my-waist canister of pepper spray to take along with me when I went running. It was one of my checklist items before heading out the door:

Cell phone? Check.

mp3? Check.

Stopwatch? Check.

Pepper spray? Check.

Shoes? Oh crap. (Five minutes later)... Okay, check!

I hadn't always run with pepper spray attached to my shorts. But after having one too many run-ins with dogs (including a doberman that bit a chunk out of my calf a month before my marathon), I decided it was probably the smart thing to do. Many of my routes take me along isolated farm roads and while I savor the peaceful solitude and freedom from people and traffic, I'm aware of the potential for danger should I ever cross paths with anyone who may be harboring malicious intent. I like to think with my endurance, strength and survival instinct, I could beat the stuffing out of anyone who crossed me, but came to the conclusion a quick shot of pepper spray in the eyes would serve its purpose just as well. Wouldn't want to waste energy dishing out beatings when I have a long training run to finish, you know?

Soon after acquiring my new beating-in-a-bottle can of pepper spray, I was out for a run through the farms surrounding my home when I realized I ought to test out the spray just to be sure I knew how it worked... or if it worked, for that matter.

Now, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent human being, but I'm the first to admit I sometimes do really, really stupid things.

You know what's comin', don't ya?

I flipped open the lock on the can with my thumb, held it out at arm's length at my waist and quickly pressed the big red button. What I neglected to realize was the very slight, but nonetheless present breeze in the air. I had, in a moment of proudly embracing my blondeness, sprayed the contents of the can directly into the breeze. No more than a nanosecond after pressing the big red button did the spray get sucked into my open and unsuspecting mouth. There, in the middle of a secluded potato field was me hunched over with my throat on fire.

Fortunately, the misery didn't last too long. I managed to cough and sputter it out after a few minutes and continue on my way, silently cursing my foolish self. But then, a mile or so later, having put the whole experience in the past and continuing on my run, I started sweating. And of course, when I start to sweat, I instinctively wipe it off with my hands. Hands with pepper spray residue all over them. I realized then having your throat on fire is nothing compared to flames shooting out of your eyes and face.

Oh yes, the pepper spray works. It works juuuust fine.

Unfortunately, I misplaced my conveniently small, clip-to-my-waist canister of pepper spray some months ago. As spring has now officially sprung and my running takes me again to the wilds of the farm roads, I'll need to buy a new one.

Those with malicious intent, beware! I'm packing pepper spray and I know how to use it.

Well... maybe.


Jim said...

That is too funny!

Ovens2Betsy said...

Oh my God! I was cracking up reading your post, 'cuz I know EXACTLY how it feels. During the WTO riots in 1997 my husband was shooting photos of all the commotion. The buses weren't running because of the riots, so I walked several blocks to meet hubby (he was parked in the north part of town, I was working in the south part at the time). When we met he gave me his handkerchief to place over my mouth due to all the teargas, not realizing that the handkerchief was already covered with mustard powder (which the cops were also spraying). Dang that stuff BURNED!

Chad said...

LOL - I think we have all had those moments (although I've never carried pepper spray). Good luck with the new pepper spray (I hear it comes in handy with bears as well).

See Zanne Run said...

omg! am laughing so hard ... right after i read, "you know what's coming, don't ya"? was actually yelling. out loud. NO! NO! she didn't! ... oh god, yes, she did. Great, great post! good stuff - thanks for sharing!

Angie said...

If my moments of brilliance can make the world a happier place by giving it a laugh, it's all worth it.

I'm sure there'll be many, many more such moments.

Chesno Slova said...

Good one Angie. I've had to go through similar experiences ON PURPOSE in the Army. They like to make sure your gas mask "works". They do this by having you put it on, breathe normally, and then take it off in a small room filled with CS gas. It was the only part of basic training that terrified me. Now though, when I go through it, it's no biggie.

Joe said...


Charlie said...

Hi Angie...I saw your post on another blog and came here for a visit.

I love how your pictures match your blogs!

I love your humor and wit!

I love...oh never mind...I've said enough for now!


runliarun said...

God! You remind me of Janet Evanovich's heroine, who works as a bounty hunter and gets herself in trouble with all the gadgets.