Yes, I did just screech and fall down in the middle of a quiet hallway after my boss greeted me with a normal-voice-level "Caroline" from behind. It's more of an involuntary twitch than it is a lame attempt to attract attention or cause passers-by to question my sanity (although it probably does produce these outcomes as well).
I'm still not quite sure when it started, but in high school my above-average jitters became evident when a friend of mine caught on. I think it's fair to say he exploited the 'element of surprise' and by the time I left for college, I was scared even if I knew someone was waiting around the corner. If you have ever been frightened (be it a roller coaster, haunted house, or a well-planned prank), you might understand my distress and sympathize, because I am in an almost-constant state of scare.
I am rarely actually afraid of anything; I just somehow always end up on the floor if I'm caught off guard. It was really horrible when I worked in a restaurant in college. Once they found out, I somehow managed to always have a pan clashing behind me or a loud voice surprising the silence in my ears. The kitchen of a chain restaurant is not a place you want to be falling on the floor - but my fright seems to not know when it is and isn't appropriate to fall and make a scene!
I have tried many things to cure this curious behavior, including but not limited to: furrowing my eyebrows and clenching my fists in preparation for the fright, strategically placing myself near furniture so as to catch my fall, walking very lightly so as to kind of bounce back without too much of a scene, and avoiding standing in front of people who could surprise me from behind (a terribly hard thing when you are 5'1 and 1/2). Well, none of those tactics work, as my boss found out this morning as I crouched against the wall in the fetal position.
I can only hope that I can control the spasms long enough to fool those who need to be fooled and then count on my good friend humor to bring laughter to observers in a "joke's on me" kind of way.
And I'm already off to a great morning:)
Cheers for Thursday!
Can I just add as a postscript that I fell in fright AGAIN this past weekend (it's Tuesday now). I was walking out of the bathroom, all dressed up for church. I opened the door and Darin had just climbed the stairs. I promptly collapsed to the floor - skirt and all - and let out a startled yelllp. Of course, I laughed it off once again... but I'm starting to be concerned!