Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just your average Sunday

Our A/C broke yesterday evening.  This is like the fifteenth day in the city with temperatures above 90 degrees…. which is not completely abnormal for Atlanta in the summer, but we don't typically hit that stride for at least another six weeks or so.  I was not so bothered by it when it initially crapped out.  I'm cold natured and it was dark, so the temperature outside was cooling and it helped keep the house tolerable.

I have lamented the fact that the cat will not cuddle with me for months now.  I woke up in the middle of the night to find her laying across my body with a smug look on her face.  For fuck's sake, NOW she wants to be close?  I was dripping sweat and she was pretending to be the highest quality mink wrap.  I cursed all night, and kept waking up to her sprawled all over me in various positions, I swear I heard her evil voice giggle once or twice.

Needless to say, when I got up this morning I was in a right horrible mood.  The higher the sun got, the more intolerable the house was becoming, so I threw on my gym clothes and decided that if I was going to sweat, at least it should be while burning calories in a climate controlled environment.   Plus, I'm having serious fitness issues right now and am teetering on the brink of giving up altogether on this whole attempt to keep things high and tight.  I keep threatening to cancel my gym membership, give up the trainer and invest that money into some muumuus, a Lay-Z-Boy recliner and cake.  Lots of it.  I'm struggling with being everyone else's support system and cheerleader while I spend so much time doing my damnedest to self motivate all alone.   But that is a post for another day.

I put in my fifty minutes of horrible cardio and finally decided to get off the death machines and finish up in the boxing room at the gym.  I've got a lot of pent up aggression and frustration going on so I figured that kicking some bags would help blow off steam.    I walked in and saw an elderly but relatively fit man absolutely wailing on one of the heavy bags.  He was packing some heat, let me tell you.  We nodded to one another, I went to the other side of the room and started some side kicks, roundhouses and jumping rope in between.

I could see him watching me through the mirror, which doesn't particularly bother me.  After all, you don't see many women in there (and not to toot my own horn, but most can't kick you in the head either… I'm short, but I'm flexible and have deceivingly long limbs).   Anyway, I stopped to catch my breath and he sat down to remove his gloves.   He struck up conversation, asking me if I did it as a sport or just for exercise.  I told him I have a trainer and that I really enjoy it, but obviously I don't get in a cage with anyone.    He nodded knowingly and the floodgates opened.

Turns out this man is a sixty eight year old Vietnam era Army Ranger.   He spent the next thirty minutes demonstrating to me how my technique could hurt someone if I got lucky, but given my size, it would be beneficial to learn how to totally incapacitate or just flat out kill a man if I needed to in a real life defense situation.   After all, he reasoned,  I'm a very small woman, and if I don't seriously injure an aggressor in the first few strikes, I'm dead myself.  Since this is obviously true and deep down I've always had fantasies of being a lethal weapon, I was a willing student. (Besides, I have a soft spot for the older set, they have better and more interesting things to say than most anyone else.)  He wowed me with some incredible pointers in which I could take what I knew, skew it just a bit and hurt someone twice my size badly.

At one point, a ponytailed housewife entered the room with her yoga mat as he had me pinned down on the ground saying, "If you're lucky enough to actually drop them after that throat shot, you kick them here with your toe leading and they'll probably die.  Sure, you'll limp away and be hurt yourself, but you live to tell the tale."  She turned around and high tailed it out of that room so fast that we both started guffawing over the timing of the situation.

Before I knew it, a pretty long time had passed.  He had finished his impromptu lesson and we had moved on to just sitting on the floor discussing the military, his war stories (he and my father had done tours in Vietnam in the same years, and he even kindly refrained from slamming Marines for me), to shotguns vs. handguns for home protection, to basically the difference between young men today and young men fifty years ago.  I really did enjoy every minute of it.  It's been the best conversation I've had in months.

He then turned to me and said, "It's been fun giving out pointers, and you've done a nice thing by allowing me to be helpful and by listening to me.  I've tried to teach some things to my daughters, but they lack… how do I say… the tenacity to be able to use any of my skills.  It's pretty clear that you're different.  Maybe I'll see you around again some day.   Tell your father that I said  Welcome Home."  

With that, he proclaimed that he was going to run a few miles and left.  I drove home with a small grin on my face from the whole encounter.  He really made my day, and I don't even know his name.  


  1. Wow, all I have to say that is very powerful. Most of been fun about the lesson. But, the older generations can teach all of us lessons. Thanks :-)

  2. I'm glad you liked the account. I did have a great time. Thank you for stopping in to read it.

  3. I got misty eyes at the 'Welcome Home' ending. The difference in how we honor our service members between generations is staggering.

    Thank you for posting this, and if you ever see him again, if you are willing, tell him thank you for his service.

  4. Isn't it? He and I discussed that, as well as the difference of the mindset of the branches of military themselves. We're living in a different world.

    I did thank him for his service and his time, and would be thrilled to see him again, because I'd be honored to repeat the sentiment.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  5. See I want to write something about your next post telling us your off to become a ninja. But having seen all the comments that seems kind of disrespectful of the guy.

    So I'll just say wow !

  6. I'm sorry it took me so long to reply, but I was busy scaling the neighbor's house in my black catsuit. (I don't think he'd mind.)