Like I told you yesterday, Monday felt like my first day of retirement (though the last day was actually Friday). Preferring the couch and a little TV, Tex was sorely disappointed in the choices I made, but that’s ok. It wasn’t her Red Letter Day afterall. It was mine, mine, mine and all about me.
There were lots of things I could have done (sleep in, watch reruns with Tex, or sign up for meals at the Senior Center), but instead I began checking things off my retirement to-do list. I picked some low hanging fruit.
Shooting at the range. Check. Go out to lunch. Check. I even nailed two that weren’t on my list: I got a new range bag, solvent, and cotton squares to clean my Glock (I call her Bonnie Belle, after one of the toughest but nicest girls I hung with in high school), and I went in for some long-deferred maintenance on my chassis (pedicure, haircut, and face wax).
TMI? Perhaps, but this is my story. Ask me if I care (I’m practicing things I’ve learned from my new book about not giving a f*ck). Anyways (I hate it when people say that), back to my story.
Some of you remember that I recently took an Enhanced Concealed Carry course to spend more time with our daughter, Meg the Realtor. Turns out I really enjoy shooting, so I bought Bonnie Belle soon after. Now two classes, 5 range visits, and about 500 rounds later, while I’m no sharpshooter I’m improving and having a lot of fun. Guns no longer intimidate me because I’ve learned how to handle them safely.
So even though I’m comfortable with Bonnie Belle, I was still uneasy about going to the range. Not only is it unfamiliar territory and I’m a gun-newbie, but I go by myself. Then too there’s a little matter of an unfortunate experience (or two or three) that I’ve had there.
A year or more ago my political party got evicted from their usual meeting place and began using the large training room at the range to hold monthly meetings. I wasn’t favored for an endorsement so it was awkward at best. Libertarians controlled the party then and the range appeared to be their occupied territory. There’s been a bit of a shift – they may still exert a measure of dominance over politics in the Legislature, but they don’t dominate me.
So on my Red Letter Day I put on my most-excellent t-shirt (“The only place to start is HERE and the only direction to go is FORWARD“) and flushed those memories down the toilet they came from once and for all. Walking in like I owned the place, I grabbed a box of 9 mm ammo, picked out a target, and signed up to be a member in under five minutes. Endorse this, I muttered under my breath to no one there or in particular.
The woman behind the counter was friendly and helpful. The range master didn’t even scoff when I started filling my magazine loader with bullets (backward), a matter of some self-control, I’m sure. So much for being a badass.
On balance I felt empowered, not tentative or humiliated (not even by my loading snafu). I went forward to the net (a visualization exercise that’s helped me overcome meeting self-introduction anxiety for years) and scored. There’s just something about leaning into a target with a full magazine that makes me feel invincible. I have nothing to shrink back from. There’s just no way to leave the range feeling bad or inferior. I’m glad I gave it (and myself) another chance.
Yesterday was a Red Letter Day because I’m retired, but also because I overcame things that I typically avoid and had a hell of a time all by myself. It turns out I’m pretty good company afterall. Yesterday was more than fine. It was epic.
Had I gone home then, the day would have been a smashing success, but then I went to lunch and met Cord (of the muscle shirt and charming personality)…