Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Auntie Mame and the Police Academy

I've been trying to figure out how to sum up the police academy experience.

I accomplished things that I never thought I could.  I got OC sprayed (pepper sprayed) directly in my face and eyes and proceeded on to the required fighting without decontaminating first.   Being OC sprayed, without a doubt, was the most painful experience of my life.  It hurts terribly initially and then gets more and more intense.  No amount of washing it off seems to help much.  Only time really works.

After we all decontaminated and showered, we headed down to dinner. Most of our faces were on fire.  No one felt much like eating.  Some of the instructors put bottles of hot sauce down in front of us.  Ha ha.

I was amazed to see myself later on video on the big screen walloping a punching bag and hollering while I counted out the requisite number of hits.  I took down my defensive tactics partner (a male SWAT medic) three times.  He actually said "ouch."

My defensive tactics sergeant stopped the class and said, "Everyone, look at Annie."  My heart stopped because I thought he was going to ridicule me. Then he said, "Do it just like she's doing it."  There was only one person in my class older than I.

On the other hand, life with four women sharing two bunk beds and 8 women sharing a shower and a bathroom was challenging for me.  I abhor being in close proximity with a group of people I don't know. I crave privacy and down time.  If it wasn't for the three free hours we had a day and a one-hole bathroom at Starbucks with a door that locked, I think I'd be dead.

After not being able to sleep for two nights, I ended up going down to a bathroom that had a little lounge area on the first floor, near a big classroom that didn't seem to be in much use.  I get up frequently at night to use the bathroom (I pee, therefore I am) and cringed every time I had to flush loudly in the hearing of 7 other extremely tired women.  I would sleep with my clothes on, wrapped up in a quilt, trying to nod off while listening to Joyce Meyer podcasts from my cell phone.  Thank you, Joyce.  If I got two hours a night, it was a lot.

One night at four a.m. I woke to see three male trooper trainees standing in front of me - inside the ladies room. These poor slobs have the extreme honor of being charged with unlocking all the doors and turning on the lights before the rest of the trainees have to get up at 5 to go running.  They said, "Ma'am, we didn't expect to see a woman asleep in here," I said, "That makes us even because I'm not used to seeing three guys in a ladies room." They said they were turning on the lights.  I noted that they were already on.

Since nothing goes unnoticed at that institution,  I mentioned the incident to the Sergeant who was in charge of us.  He thought it was hilarious.  Later, he planned to razz them for not securing the "homeless" woman the bathroom.  This was funny, but I have to add that I had some miserable hours trying to sleep there.  Dark, scared hours.  This has nothing to do with the academy or its staff because people sleep successfully there every night, but more to do with my own chronic insomnia in tense situations.

A big shout out to the Chesterfield, VA Starbucks on Midlothian Turnpike (Route 60) who all kept my sanity.  I was able to get email, have a latte, and relax for a while.  Thank you to everyone there.

Many of my friends like Terry, Jim, my beloved Suzanne, Nancy, Lt. Jackson, Jason, and also my Mom, Dad, and sister were a huge support.

Another shout out to my Bruce who followed me up to Chesterfield to ensure that nothing happened on the way, came up Wednesdays with the dog to have dinner with me, and even drove up on a Monday to bring the mouth guard I had forgotten so my teeth wouldn't get punched out.  You think romance is about thong underwear, chocolate and champagne?  Love is...bringing a pink mouth guard north in a 3-hour round trip.  For the record, I have nothing against pretty underwear, a toast, or chocolate. Definitely not against the chocolate.

So even with the uncomfortable times, I was grateful to be chosen to be there. Going to police academy training at 51 is proof of God's grace, his sense of humor, and is proof that he does, indeed, give us back the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

I embark on a new career with the Sex Offender Investigative Unit in which I can use my education and my previous experience to directly affect public safety and be a minister of justice.  That is huge for me.

I guess I can sum it up with these lyrics from Auntie Mame:

Open a new window
Open a new door
Travel a new highway
That's never been tried before
Before you find you're a dull fellow
Punching the same clock
Walking the same tightrope
As everyone on the block
The fellow you ought to be is three dimensional
Soaking up life
Down to your toes
Whenever they say you're slightly unconventional
Just put your thumb
Up to your nose
And show them how to 
Dance to a new rhythm
Whistle a new song
Toast to a new vintage
The fizz doesn't fizz too long
There's only one way to make the bubbles stay
Simply travel a new highway
Dance to a new rhythm
Open a new window every day!

The incomparable Angela Lansbury as Auntie Mame sings it stirringly to her nephew Patrick here:

Ignore the stuff about Edison, just listen to the sound track.  I love show tunes. I always loved Auntie Mame, but now I get to be Tia (Auntie) Annie, which is even better.  Compliance Officer Tia Annie.


Judy said...

Oh, wow!
I am thrilled for you and all you have accomplished!
Although, to be perfectly honest, I am not surprised.

Debra said...

Loved this! Probably my favorite of your posts, ever. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us and I'll be waiting to hear more as time goes by! Blessings, Debra