I am a big fan of trying new things and having new experiences. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to do something that I never in my wildest dreams imagined myself doing.
Everyone in my office was going to an inter-office event, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to meet some of the people that I know exclusively through email and telephone conversations. The event was to take place at the nearby hunting club.
That's right, a hunting club.
I was assured that we would not be killing any actual live animals, but rather shooting at clay pigeons which, I was again assured, are literally made of clay and are not and never have been alive. "Skeet shooting" I believe it is called.
Okay, I told myself, I can handle this.
I was wrong.
As I drove up to the club, I thought, "This is pretty. It is sunny out, I'm in a fairly woodsy place, I like this." Then I turned off the car and heard LOTS OF GUNSHOTS.
I try to act calm as I walk into the lodge and meet up with the people from work. The front desk person asks if I will need to borrow a gun or if I've brought my own. (?!?!?!?!)
I borrow a gun.
She then asks me if I will need a lesson. "Have you ever fired a gun before?"
"Uh, once . . . in a play . . . I fired a gun . . . for, um, a sound effect. I was . . . offstage."
"Yes, I need a lesson."
As we walk outside, I try to ignore the incredibly loud gunfire all around me. I hang back and let the others shoot first, hoping that I will get used to the sound and stop trembling. Eventually, everyone else has gone, and I walk up to the - I don't even know the word - little half-cagey-thing where you stand while firing guns at clay pigeons. One of my co-workers hands me the gun. I am startled by how heavy and unrelentless and powerful it feels. My hands are shaking as I try to get the shells out of my pocket and I drop one on the ground. I fumble to pick it up while holding on to the gun but not wanting to hold the gun too close to myself oh my god what am I doing - okay, okay, load the gun - she told us how to do this - the safety, where is the safety? don't pinch your fingers while you push the shell in - that's right push it until it clicks but don't push too hard or you will pinch your fingers - now turn off the safety. Aim. "Pull". FIRE.
I'm nearly thrown backwards as I experience the kick of a gun for the first time. I don't want to do this again, but I have three shots left for my turn. C'mon be a good sport you can do it calm down breathe breathe stop trembling hands push 'til it clicks wait put on the safety okay here we go again.
I finish my turn in a blur while trying desperately not to show how much I want to cry.
I politely deline any more shots and try to enjoy what would have been really peaceful surroundings if not for the bullets flying around me.
On the upside, I won a prize in the drawing. I was really hoping for the Carnivore Blood-Tracking Light, but I was happy enough with my camouflage beer cozy made to resemble a shell.