Adrenaline. Fuel of fight or flight. Caffeine substitute. Motivator, life-saver, provider of energy boost just at the moment you need it most. Enemy.
My legs hate adrenaline.
What I mean by this is my legs respond to adrenaline. Violently. Painfully. Rudely.
Any stimulus that causes even the mildest rush of nerves, excitement, fear, stress, panic, even a sudden, unexpected noise, sends my lower legs into a spasmodic scream. It’s as if I can feel it coursing through my veins, like a shot of acid down the back of my calves. It is that literal a sensation. That strong.
I only have to think of a mildly stressful situation – an interview; a disagreement I had with someone months ago (one in which I can now, frustratingly, envisage the exact perfect comeback that would have shot them down in flames….but that sadly escaped me at the time, so I just mumbled instead); a violent scene I saw on TV; a fight down my street that I witnessed about 9 years ago that still haunts my nightmares sometimes; my son’s future career; my future career; my best friend’s current emotional state; whether I remembered to take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner… Anything really. As this list illustrates perfectly, it doesn’t have to be serious. It is surprising how many of life’s situations cause a mild, almost imperceptible spike in heart rate that could easily go unnoticed, were it not for the burning sensation, creating an image of a billion bastard wasps stinging their way merrily through my blood stream. If someone were to jokingly spring me with a “boo” it would be like an actual assault. Not even exaggerating. Ok, maybe a little.
So whilst walking back from the school run this morning (slowly, flowery walking stick in hand – always more slowly back than the outbound journey – I think I embarrass the girl when I am too slow so, I realised this morning, I overdo it on the way there, dragging the concrete calves as quickly as they are reluctantly able to manage, then compensate on the very slow meander home. I often just gaze poetically at flowers in people’s gardens, purely to create the illusion that I am lost in the wonder of my own thoughts, rather than struggling to lift the dead weights from my arse down. I digress…), when a car beeped its horn whilst almost alongside me, making me jump, just slightly, not enough to look like I suffer from some sort of anxious phobia, just a proportionate, rational “car-beside-me-beeped-its-horn-suddenly” sort of a jump, my legs went into overdrive.
If my calves could talk, they would have shouted this woman down. They would have screamed in her face, questioning her obvious illegal sounding of the horn, for there was no apparent danger to life (the only legitimate, legal condition under which horn may be sounded, and then only in a moving vehicle – just saying), she just wanted to wave to her friend. A few years ago this act would have had no impact on me whatsoever. To be honest, I recognise that this (now a page of) writing is perhaps an over-reaction to this tiny action.
But, even 40 minutes later – it still bloody hurts!