Saturday, May 22, 2010
"I didn't mean to startle you," the embarrassed (or annoyed) party says. I fear the subtext is: That shouldn't have startled anyone. What's wrong with you!?
Friends and family are used to it. Strangers think I'm nuts. Actually friends and family think I'm a bit nuts too.
I first noticed this in high school. One day the bell rang and I jumped. I've been jumping ever since.
Intellectually I know bells, shoulder taps other surprises are harmless. A more primitive part of my brain must have other ideas. "Loud noise?" it reasons, "Mortal danger! I repeat, mortal danger! Dispatch the adrenalin!"
Maybe someday some sense will someday trickle down to the part of my brain that hits the panic button.
Until then, I'll be jumpy.