Last week the Deaf Education instructor at my children’s school emailed me and asked if I would be willing to contact and then meet with some friends of hers. Her friends are a Deaf couple couple in the process of adopting a little girl from China and since I have been there, done that, she thought I might be a good resource and provide support for them.
Yesterday after my morning at the range, I rushed home to spend a few hours with the kids and then I met up with the couple at Starbucks.
First, I have to say these two are some of the neatest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Had a fabulous time talking with them.
Talking with them in a public place was a new challenge for my situational awareness because since they are deaf we were signing. Eye contact is incredibly important for the politeness, but also if I looked away to check the doors, I would miss what one of them was saying. They had arrived before me and found seats, so the only seat available left my back to the only incoming door as well as everything happening at the counter. Fortunately, the chair was not bolted down and I could move it a little to give me a better view of things and still be able to see them. I was amazed at how much I have actually learned and processed. I was able to scan the room, count how many people were there, converse with my new friends, and be aware enough to find times that I could take a quick scan of things. It was pretty natural. Eventually they asked to see pictures of my kids and I moved to sit on the loveseat next to the wife. That was a much better place to see the haps inside the coffee place.
We had been talking for about an hour when the wife asked me if I worked and if so where. I told her that I work for a firearms instructor. The husband immediately lit up and says “I want to take your course” I explain that I am the gopher girl, but that if he took the course from John, I would make sure to be there. He told me there was no way his wife would go for it. She does not like guns.
I have mentioned before that every time I go somewhere I have no intention of talking guns or about being mugged. It never crossed my mind in a million years that I would spend an hour discussing shooting and my attack, but I am starting to think the universe is determined to squeeze every ounce of good it can from my misfortune. Even with gun people I try not to bring it up, but generally when I meet new gun people they are curious and often ask me how I got into shooting. I say a bad guy encounter and try to leave it at that. Men don’t tend to ask me for details. Women always do.
After the husband tells me his wife will not go for it, I look at her and she smiles. “Guns scare me.” I smile back and say “I get that”. “Guns used to scare me too.” I tell her the traditional once I realized the gun is just a thing and I control it, I was better able to open my mind. I tell her that my kitchen knives tend to be more dangerous because I am not as careful with them. I am so comfortable I will pick one up and start chopping food while chit chatting and signing and oops, I just took a slice out of my finger. I tell her I am always aware and careful with my guns, so my confidence in dealing with them is high.
We get back to talking about adoption for the next 30 minutes or so, and she says “I want to meet your kids” I said sure, lets set up dinner. She looks to her husband who says “Yeah, great, I want to take her shooting course.” Again, she smiles.
She explains to me that her husband grew up hunting and likes rifles, but has never shot a pistol and she does not understand the need. He chimes in with “What about to protect our home?”
I want to say this was a very friendly light-hearted conversation. There was no tension at all and I did not feel like I was put in the middle between these two people. He genuinely cared about her feelings and she about his. Honestly, it was sweet and tender to be a part of their conversation. I loved to watch them loving each other.
Anyway, I do decide that I will share that I was mugged. No details, no tears, no drama, just me saying, your husband has a point. Self protection is a concern and I know of what I speak. She is shocked that something like that happened right in our town, to me, in the day time, not too far from where we were having coffee.
She listens and then starts to asks a lot of questions. Lots. She would make a good detective. I do end up going into the full account, in more verbal detail then I ever have before. I am fine. Not traumatized at all. She gets teary eyed once, but I do not. At one point I am talking to her and I come to the part where I put E in the car and she looks me in the eyes and says, “Why didn’t you get in the car?” I am taken a back for a minute because I thought, What? Wait? Why didn’t I get in the car????
In all the times I have recounted this story I have said I should have ran into the store, I should have yelled, I should have done this or that, but I have never said I should have got into the car. Why didn’t I just get into the car?
I look at her for a few seconds and I very softly say, “Why didn’t I.” “Good question.” “I did a lot wrong that day.” Then I told her that at the start of every self defense class the question is asked what does a criminal need? He needs a victim and then I tell her a good deal of the class is spent discussing how not to be chosen. She asks me why I think the bad guy chose me and I tell her, “Because I was the perfect choice.” “I made it easy.” She said “How?” We talk about what bad guys look for and how I fit each of them.
I loved this conversation because she was honestly wanting to know. She was not being judgmental or harsh or accusative. We were discussing things she had never thought of and if I did nothing else yesterday, I got her thinking.
Somehow we get back to adoption and we talk for another 40 minutes. At the end the wife says, I can’t wait to come to your house for dinner. Her husband says, I can’t wait to take her shooting course.
I laughed and said, “Yep, I am a full service friend”. “I am here for all your adoption and shooting needs.”