After I finished all of my interviewing in Lawrence, Kansas and was officially off the clock, I met up with my cousin who drove down from Omaha to cross paths for a short while.
I’d had a rough day, and I was incredibly grateful to chat with her and needed to let off some steam.
So we had dinner and as we walked through the darling downtown area of Lawrence taking in shops she stopped me and said, “This is what you need to do.”
We had stopped in front of an ax throwing facility.
We entered and a girl who looked to be about 12 walked up to us with a big grin on her face.
Was she old enough to throw an ax? Was this the person I wanted teaching me how to throw sharp objects?
I expected more of the lumberjack type to run this sort of a place.
Full disclosure: I have actually been to an ax throwing place once before in Seattle and was terrible at it, thanks to the guy who trained our group by missing the target three times and then leaving us to our own devices. I was shocked when we all walked away that day with all limbs attached.
It wasn’t shocking to me when a tech looking guy was our coach in Seattle. And that he wasn’t able to do it. It’s really not in the Seattle skill set.
I did expect something a little more than a young girl who I was worried was out too late on a school night to work her ax throwing job.
She walked up and told us we were her first customers of the day, and asked if we had ever thrown axes before.
My cousin told the Tween Ax Coach we had just happened to walk by and I needed to get some aggression out so it seemed an appropriate fit.
The girl told us that we couldn’t wear open-toed shoes, which is all I wear in 80 degree weather. She pulled Crocs from the back, which she promised she sanitized after every customer (believe me when I say I asked because this was a legitimate concern).
This place had Crocs readily available like bowling shoes when one rents a lane. As if they were going to protect my feet if an ax came bouncing back at me.
I wasn’t convinced my toes were safer from being detached in Crocs than in my sandals. But I reluctantly put them on my feet, knowing very well they didn’t go with the dress I was wearing.
The girl went over the rules of ax throwing with us, one being “don’t throw the ax with more than one rotation.” As if I have the ability to control how many times the ax actually spins around once it leaves my hands.
My theory was summon all of my courage, throw as hard as I could with my non-existent upper body strength, and pray that it came somewhere near the target.
Both my cousin and I watched, learned, and succeeded in throwing axes successfully into the target with this girl’s guidance.
I was getting a little cocky, even though I still was horrible at it, when a man walked in the front door.
“Y’all throw axes in here?”
“Yes,” said the girl, walking over and giving him prices.
“Y’all don’t look like country folk,” he said.
I wondered what I did look like in my dress and Crocs. How would one categorize that look? A little white trash maybe? I couldn’t say, but I guarantee it wasn’t good.
“I bet I’d be good at this. I was raised in the country. I know lots of people who would be good at this.”
I glanced at my cousin with a horrified look.
“Oh, this is how I die,” I thought to myself. “I would never have guessed I would be murdered at an ax throwing place. Nor that it would be by a man who deemed me ‘city folk.’ I am going to die because he decided I’m not rural enough in my upbringing to be throwing axes. How do I get myself into these situations? Jesus, I wish I wasn’t wearing Crocs. What a way to go…”
I panicked and threw harder. I acted like maybe I couldn’t hear him.
Worst case I guess I had an ax handy to defend myself. But in all reality I was horrible at throwing it. I likely wouldn’t stand a chance defending myself against this man.
In then end, he vowed to the girl that he would bring back lots of his friends when he got some money.
I was fearful for her, running this place alone. But I would never be back again, so at least knew my own death wouldn’t come at the hands of that man. Or while wearing Crocs, as I made a vow then and there that this would be the first and last time they would ever be on my feet.
All in all, it was an interesting and fun experience.
And it turns out my cousin was right, it was the perfect way to let off some steam.