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Adventures in the world of pain

So, yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of getting to prove that I was capable of fighting while under the influence of OC. I passed, such as it were, but good goddess, that stuff is absolutely horrible! It's like having a can of compressed hell sprayed in your eyes. One of the other people doing the course with me described it as like "bobbing for habanero peppers in a deep fryer", and I think that puts it pretty accurately.

The whole thing was an exercise in masochism and insanity: You get on the line, turn around and get a 2-second blast of military-grade (10%, so really weaker than what the cops use) OC discharged directly into your face, aiming for the eyes. You then tell the shooter how many fingers they have up, and run to the first station. I got about two steps, stopped and shouted "Oh, shit!" at the top of my lungs. Thus began the pain. The first station was knee strikes. Not so bad at this point, but by the time I was done, attempting to open my eyes was futile. Second station, punches. Good, as far as that goes. Couldn't see anything for all the mead in Midgard, wanted to cut my eyes out with a corroded spork, but tolerable. Then the blocking. Eyes were clamped shut at this point and I switched to using my other senses. Only got clocked once, somehow. Looks like even though my Kenpo training has a decade of rust on it, I haven't lost everything. Fourth station, they gave me a foam baton and had me whack a target - only this asshole decides to play silly buggers and dance in circles around me. Silently. God damn him! Took me most of a minute. I could have used that minute to tear my face off with a chunk of broken mirror - which would have done wonders to mitigate the searing agony. So then they have me move on to the mass-attack scenario. About now I can finally open my eyes a little, though it makes me want to scream, cry and fall on my ass. Dealt with the first two through sheer anger, then took on the third, who actually tried to fight, and wasn't just a target to hit. I managed to pull my brain back together a little bit and get into a good fighting stance, whack him with the damn foam baton a few times, sock him in the nuts (yay for foam armor), then order him to get the fuck on the ground. With the "fuck", even though technically that's the last thing we're supposed to say. I didn't care. I had to find that beaker of hydroiodic acid to pour in my eyes.

That first five minutes was the easy part, too. After that was half an hour of feeling like someone had lit a magnesium flare on my face and doused it with methanol. It was bad enough that when I ran full-tilt into a knee-knocker and bruised the bejesus out of my shin, it didn't hurt at all. And anyone who's ever smacked an unprotected shin into a piece of metal can testify to how painful that usually is. The pain didn't fade completely for about six hours, though it was tolerable after about one.

So, test passed, and I'll never have to do that again unless I become a cop. Which I won't. Suffice it to say I'm now fully confident that OC will indeed stop a maniac. And me. I'm also now quite aware of how being in severe pain will play unholy hell with your adrenaline, endorphin and cortisol levels. Good grief! I got a semi-day-off out of that, but bozhe moi, that's probably the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. A broken ankle was worse - for about a second, then started to fade.

A day later, vision in my right eye is still distorted, and I'm a little worried about some sort of permanent, or at least lasting, damage - we shall see...

I don't have a "favorite season" so much as I appreciate the high point of each one. Well, here we are at fall's end and the trees are afire with all the lovely warm colors of the spectrum from near-fluorescent yellow to deep reds. The apples have been picked. Pumpkins abound. Mulled cider scents the room with its spicy/fruity aroma. Outdoors, the smell of wood burning in neighbors' fireplaces adds a kind of warmth to the chilly evening air.

Color me parochial, but there's no fall like fall in New England. The fall seasons of my youth were spent in New York, where but for the public parks there's precious little foliage. I really appreciate the ability to walk around the neighborhood kicking up the leaves and not find garbage mixed into the leaf-piles.

Soon pies will be coming out of the oven. Fricassees chock full of vegetables from the late garden harvest simmer on the stove.

This is the first time in two years I've seen fall in color instead of black-and-white. I am enveloped in warmth.

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