Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Although I might now be a spoiled rich girl, I have not forgotten my roots. (You do notice the tongue stuck firmly in my cheek, right? Whatever else I might do, I tend to take myself lightly.) Tonight I drove a hybrid car for the first time, and I enjoyed it very much.

The part where the engine stops (apparently) running when the car is stopped, however, kept freaking me out. I'm sure I'll get used to this, but my history with cars that die when they stop is not one that involves vehicles functioning well. I used to drive an old VW Rabbit that died whenever you hit the clutch unless you gave it a little gas simultaneously. This made approaching 4-way stops and driving in rush hour traffic especially challenging as I had to pretend that I had three feet. Ah, the good old days. When I leased my first new car, a standard, entry-level Saturn SC2, I thought I was living in the lap of luxury. And I was, for an editorial assistant with student loans and no independent wealth!

I was out on my own tonight, in the new car, because it was Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime "Get Your (Right) Gun" night at Top Gun Shooting Range in Imperial, Missouri.

I had a great time and learned a lot (though a nice chunk of the material was familiar to me thanks to Lori L. Lake's guest blogging at The Graveyard Shift) but I'll include just the personal injury report for now.

By the end of my time at the range, I was flinching badly with each shot. The instructor assumed it was because of the recoil, and that was partly true. (I'd moved up from a .22 semi-automatic pistol to the same model 9mm that the St. Louis County Police carry.) But mostly it was because the casings kept attacking me.

Several of them landed on my head or on my arm. One somehow got behind both my glasses and safety glasses, and others must have have hit my forehead, because it's streaked with soot. My (formerly favorite) white shirt is a bit charred in front. And, worst of all, two fresh casings went straight down my neckline, burning my chest! I have a couple of painful little blisters to show for this, though they just look like blemishes from afar. The weird thing is that I chose the shirt because it does NOT have a stretched out neckline and fits up above the collarbone, as I prefer. My shooting partner wasn't having the same problem, but the instructor said that the issue was with the gun, not with my stance.

Anyway, it was a GREAT program and I had a wonderful time, malicious casings notwithstanding. And then I got to drive home in the fabulous "new" car, which is especially great because we haven't had to start paying for it yet (with the exception of the check that passed from Geico to the dealership via our checking account).

It wasn't just the shiny hybrid car in the parking lot that probably stood out at the range. I wore khakis and black Danskos, carried a canvas bag that says, "Fall Into A Good Book!" and walked in carrying a latte from Starbucks. (Ah, latte. Is there any more wonderful food on this earth? I think it's better than pizza.) And so we end with a reprisal of the spoiled rich girl image.

The big surprise, of course, was that none of these things really stood out, at all. Because, though we on the left love stereotypes at least as much as our friends on the right, gun lovers don't fit into neatly categorized little boxes, either. And there was a clearly marked recycling box right behind the firing stalls for empty ammo boxes.


  1. LOL, I had to read this twice because I had a hard time wrapping my head around the notion that you were off shooting guns after you drove to the range in a hybrid car. You are making my internal sterotypes fight each other in my brain and it's too early in the morning for that. :)

    Good for you on both counts.

  2. Deb, khakis, Danskos, Starbucks latte, hybrid car . . . I really imagined I'd stand right out!

  3. Tony has taken me to a shooting range a few times and I have found I really enjoy it. Speaking of recoil, my favorite is the .30-06 - something about the punch it gives my shoulder makes me feel like I'm *really* shooting a gun.

  4. Jessica, I'd imagine so!! If I ever write a character who shoots one of those, I'll come to you for a detailed description of the experience.

  5. I've had plenty of cars such as the one you mention that died out at every stop as well, so if I ever get to trade in my 1991 Escort for a hybrid, I'm sure the stopping of the engine will freak me out as well. My first car was an '82 Ford LTD (think old school cop car type) that I had to quick shift into neutral at stop signs and rev the engine before popping it bakc into drive (automatic clutch--really weird to drive with two feet!)

    So far my husband hasn't taken me with him to the shooting range, but I think that's just because he's worried I'll beat him! Handguns still kind of freak me out, but they do give one a certain feeling of power that I'm afraid to enjoy too much!

  6. I'd love to learn how to shoot.

  7. New coincidental development: David and I have scheduled a Friday date afternoon, with the boys in daycare. David's first suggestion? He's taking me to the shooting range! Ha!

  8. Guns freak me out. Especially handguns. And I've been having violent dreams and daydreams for the past 24 hours, so I'm thinking that trips to the range are not going to be common in my future. As I watched my bullets rip holes in that piece of paper, I couldn't help thinking about the destruction of precious human tissue. Chilling. Horrifying.

    Still, a really really cool experience.

    Krupskaya, I found it surprisingly - almost disturbingly - affordable, using a range gun and relatively small caliber ammo.

    Liss, it's fun and all, but . . . man, I'd choose a relaxed meal with no pediatric distractions! Or a non-animated movie! But enjoy the range and let me know how it goes!