Kentucky Stories and Tips

Week 05 - Who Said 10cm Isn't Lot to Shout About! (USA)

Mammoth Cave Photo, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

As I didn’t have that much planned to do this week, I was hoping it was going to be a short entry, but it really hasn’t turned out like that at all!

The week didn’t get off to the best of starts, as I was talking to one of my girlfriends Uncles and he started laughing when I said the word ‘university’. When I asked why, he replied that I sounded just like Mrs. Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances (what an insult—an even bigger insult is that Keeping Up Appearances is the most popular English comedy programme over here!!!). Things didn’t get any better later in the day when, while I was out shopping I spotted a 60-year-old woman wearing the identical pink polo shirt that I was wearing (I pulled it off better than her I swear!!!). I also learnt that the sweet ‘jelly babies’ is also the American slang for ‘semen’, and seeing that I have gone into every shop since I have been here looking for jelly babies as energy food for my marathon running, I wonder how many people have actually thought I have been looking for semen (a scary thought!). If you add all these facts together, I suppose you could say that I sound and dress like a 60-year- old woman and enjoy asking people for their semen at every given opportunity!! I don’t know if this is quite as bad as being thought of as Japanese, a 14-year-old, and a girl while in Kenya, but if you put all those together as well, a 14 year old Japanese girl, I don’t think either are good for my self-confidence!!!

As it was Halloween weekend, I decided that I should at least join in with the spirits of the occasion and join in the fun at one of the local haunted houses. The haunted house that we chose, turned out to be a pitch black walk through a freezing cold forest, with numerous poorly paid college students dressed up and hiding behind trees, whose job it was to take out their anger on the world on the unsuspecting people walking through the haunted trail. Most of the time their white masks in the blackness gave them away, but I still shrieked like a girl on numerous occasions—I think my girlfriend was quite embarrassed at the end. The Halloween celebrations were continued on Monday where we were all expecting many trick-or-treaters to pass by our door. Unfortunately through the entire evening we were visited just the once (which isn’t all that bad as it has left us with a bucket load of chocolate). When I opened the door to these trick-or-treaters, I was met with the words, “give me sweets” by two scruffy looking kids. Shocked at their lack of manners I made them both ask again using their please and thank you's before handing them their sweets. I think this approach might have backfired on me though as when I woke up the following morning I found our Jack-O-Lanterns smashed up in our front garden—that’s gratitude for you!!

Last weekend involved a trip to Mammoth Cave, apparently the largest underground cave system in the world, but as that’s all the interesting things I can think of about Mammoth Cave, I wont talk anymore about it any longer!! Afterwards we took a drive into rural west Kentucky as we went to my girlfriend's Grandpa’s farm, as it was his birthday. I was quite excited about this as I was going to take part in another of America's favourite past times (both legally and illegally!), shooting. To get there we had to travel through the exotic sounding places of Lebanon, Sweeden, Versailles and Glasgow (completely different to the Glasgow in Scotland, as I failed to see even one drunk or drug addict), although I feel there may be a little plagiarism going on with these names!!

I have never held a real gun before, let alone been in close proximity to one, well apart from the time when a Kenyan Policeman had an AK-47 pointing at my head with his finger on the trigger, while checking a women’s collection of chickens on a cross-country bus! I had four guns to shoot with—two pistols, a shotgun and a rifle, and after a very in depth description and demonstration I was let loose with each of them with my girlfriends father guiding me through my every move. The first pistol shooting experience went well, and I managed to hit a beer can and an apple out of my first 5 shots, but when I moved onto the much heavier and larger second pistol I struggled a bit—my first shot was nowhere near the target and my second wasn’t much closer.

The third shot was even worse… as when I had the gun pointing towards the ground, just as I was about to lift it towards the target, I clenched too hard on the trigger. Normally when people clench the trigger too hard it fires the gun, and this was exactly what happened, firing the bullet into the ground, no more than 10cm from where my foot was. There was a lot of nervous laughter after I had done this and when I saw how close I had been to shooting a bullet through my foot, I realised how close I had come to putting an end to my running career while at the same time bankrupting myself through medical fees. I was so scared I think a little bit of wee came out! Even worse than this was the fact that the bullet ended up 15cm away from my future father-in-laws foot, and I have a funny feeling that shooting him wouldn’t have done much positive towards my relationship with his daughter. Who said 10cm isn’t a lot to shout about, it was more than enough to keep me happy! Even if I had wanted to stop shooting, I don’t think I would have been allowed, so I had a few more rounds with the other guns on offer, and was able to laugh off the whole experience, but I have definitely seen how dangerous such a weapon is. Obviously it's not dangerous enough to not sell such guns in the local Walmart store, four isles down from the sweets we bought for Halloween (it doesn’t really make any sense).

Anyway next time we will be shooting bow and arrows. I’m not sure if this will be any better for my safety or not!!!!!

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