I got shot the other day. I was driving kathy and myself home from langley Park when I heard a crack and then felt a sting against my left jaw. My first thought was that a pebble had flown up, cracked off the door somehow and then richocheted up into my jaw.
But I felt whatever it was that hit me fall on the floor against my foot, and so I leaned down and found what I thought was a bb. My thought then was that if it had been a bb, it would have been in my jow, not ont he floor – or, really had careened off the door enough to slow it down considerably.
Picking it up, I found it was indeed a bb, but this was made of plastic instead of copper. Smooth, white, hard plastic, the same size as a bb from my memory – but it hasn’t bounced off of anything before it hit me. The first crack I heard had been the gun, itlsef likelyu plastic, firing. And the continued stinging in my jow seemed to confirm this.
So some kid – person: bot, girl, teenager, kid, adult – had randomly shot me through a passing window as our cars slid by one another at about 35 miles per hour. In the dark of a warm summer night, it reminded me immediately of the sniper shootings.
Of course, those had been real bullets, and I was the victim of, all things considered, a pretty harmless prank. In fact, it was a pretty lucky shot that I got hit at all – perhaps the shooter had only intednded to hit my car and not me?
Then again, it was only three inches away from my ear canal, or my eye, or missing me completely and hitting Kathy in some vulnerable area. That of course is the dark seceret of pranks: you never know what the consequences will be. Once you set them in motion, it seems the range of possibilities are, by the very nature of pranks, quite wide: from funny to serious, from harmless to life-altering.
This incident seems to have fulfilled some fear of mine that I’ve been lugging around from perhaps just after the sniper shooting, namely that someone was going to shoot me through the open window of my car. Funny that it had to be open – th eglass seemed to offer some unrealistic protection to my sense of anxiety. But it was usually someone pulling up on my left, travelling int he same direction – something a la Easy Rider.
This fear was of course irrational, but also powerful enough that once in a while – twice a year perhaps – it felt strong enought to cause me to brake and let the car paralleling me go on ahead. I wonder if anyone else has this fear . . .
And of course the lesson is to respond by remaining open and free to drive where and hwo I want, without fear, but there’s somethign else here, too. Which is, in order for me to shrug it off, I have to first get over the feeling that it was personal. It wasn’t. It was just a random prank, and I just happened to be in the wrong place.
Put another way, it would only be my wrongly-inflated ego that would lead me to believe that this was somehow aimed at me. And even as, whenever we are violated, it can be difficult to shake that feeling, it seems necessary.
And now that I think of it, how many other thousands of places/times/incidents could this need apply to?