Humans, when faced with a surprising stimulus, often react in one of two ways: fight, or flight. I tend to go for fight, and lately I've developed an oddly specific defensive response mechanism. I stand up straight, lock my knees, and fold my arms up like a tyrannosaurus rex.
Though I can see why this wouldn't be surprising to you, readers, it is to me. I usually walk around like a dinosaur as a joke. But I worry now that it is becoming all too natural. T-Rex Mode is honestly my brain's first subconscious response to stimuli. The other day my roommate and I were just walking back to our building when we encountered a sudden patch of ice. With a wave of squeamishness I slammed on my feet-brakes, stood stock-still, and held my arms up for attack.
My roommate made fun of me, justly, and ever since I've been trying to remember when and why I do this... this t-rex thing. In the days since the first incident, I've noticed that if I am suddenly facing a fork in an unfamiliar path, or if somebody shouts out something foreboding like "STOP!", I seize up like I'm braced for meteor impact. Clearly it's the fear of the unknown that gets my primordial, more accurately mesozoic, instincts to kick in.
I've yet to decide if this defense mechanism is actually beneficial or not. For now, it makes for good laughs. Cuz people make fun of me. A lot. Thanks, sympathetic nervous system. You are sympathetic to my survival in stressful situations yet ultimately you lack sympathy for my social life.