Monday, June 26, 2006

I Say Float, You Say Where (the end already)

When I crossed the threshold into the log cabin I was met with an unexpected rush of cold air and truly, I cannot express to you how much I wanted to hug that icy cold blast. Air conditioning in general is like being in one half of a stereotypical relationship. When they’re there all the time you kind of grow to under appreciate them. You forgot the little things they do for you, like keeping the stray floating cat fur from attacking your sweaty body in the middle of the night or the anticipation it provides in allowing you to jump in a hot shower in the middle of a summer heat wave because that air conditioner loves you and wants to make sure you get all goose-pimply when you open the shower curtain. These things are easily overlooked until the one day when you realize that the air conditioning has packed up his compressors and stores of Freon and moved elsewhere and dear Your Favorite Deity Name Goes Here in Heaven, it dawns on you that living without his frigid touch is just not a life worth living. You must win him back no matter the cost, even if that cost involves just a smidge of a fabrication. A gentle stretching of the truth, if you will.

There were three women and one man working the counter inside and while normally I would have approached the man first I decided to scrap that plan immediately. I wasn’t near cute enough in my sweaty pony tail, dirty face and mud-encrusted legs to win over anyone’s attention and though some will find my fumbling neuroticness kind of amusing and cute at first, there is no way that the aforementioned fumbliness was going to work in conjunction with my present state of dress, not to mention the really nice river-smell I was undoubtedly leaving in my wake. So I walked to the side and patiently waited in line to speak with the woman with the super sporty pink scrunchy adorning her permed poof and hella-big bangs greeting the world with enough hairspray to kill a maggot.

When I first opened my mouth to speak, to tell this woman about my desire to forgo the ‘floating’ trip, a spiel that would include witty remarks about how ‘floating’ was actually ‘canoeing’ and while I may have grown up in the Delta I’d never been clued in on the difference and HA HA HA isn’t that funny Miss Convenience Store Worker? And then I got on the bus that said he was going over to the campground ‘round yonder and I somehow ended up here and HA HA HA look how that’s funny again Miss Convenience Store Worker! Look at us faux-bonding! And then I ended up here and it’s now 2pm and I’ve been sweating nonstop since 1pm yesterday and could anyone be so kind as to take me to the next campsite over? Yes, well, instead of all that I got about two words out before big fat tears just rolled down my grimy face and I started to hiccup, loudly, chest heaving out of sync with the deep shaky breaths I was trying to choke down. It was like scraping your knee as a kid and being perfectly fine with it until you got home and mom looked at your knee with such worry and kindness that you realized Hot Damn that DOES hurt and the big fat tears, you could hear them coming a mile away.

In my defense, I hadn’t had anything to eat since 6am not to mention a total lack of caffeinated beverages. This was back before I really started paying attention to the ulcers or the pain of the soon-to-be-diagnosed hiatal hernia so I downed cups of coffee like I should have been downing water but there’s nothing like going through so many packs of Extra Strength Tums that the Walgreens worker eventually makes a recommendation that you try the new vanilla flavored Rolaid chew because her 89-year-old grandma has ulcers too and she just LOVES them. My point being that you could have stabbed me in the arm and it would have been only relatively annoying in comparison to the no-food-and-caffeine-withdrawal headache I was sporting at that very moment.

What’s really unfortunate about all of this is that even though I’d opened up the floodgates in front of the permed worker, she wasn’t displaying a whole lot of sympathy, merely nodding her head and saying I was welcome to wait outside until I could get a hold of a member of my party, you know, with my non existent cell phone, my non existent fundage and my entire freaking party floating on a river in the middle of absolutely nowhere but with a whole lot of beer so YEAH I see one of them having a cell phone on them RIGHT ABOUT NOW.

Well, she wasn’t displaying a whole lot of sympathy until I dropped the Big Fat Lie on her. I may have been in the midst of a 24-hour panic-slash-hissy-slash-menstrual-cycle-approaching-abort!-abort!-fit but I could recognize an unsympathetic ear when I saw one. So just as she was angling her eyes to the customer behind me, my not-so-subtle signal to step to the side already, I dropped the clincher on her:

“It’s just that I’m diabetic and I left my insulin shots in the cooler and it just kind of freaks me out that they’d be so far away if I needed them and I haven’t eaten anything since 6am and I don’t need to go that long without eating and I’m so sorry to cry all over your counter but I didn’t realize it was going to be an all day trip and then I got on the wrong bus, like I told you a second ago, and I ended up here which is totally not my campsite but I’m feeling kind of woozy so I think I should just sit down here for a moment.”

And that, my friends, started a flurry of activity like I have never seen. Granted, I’m not diabetic but I sure do get cranky without a bit –o- food in the tummy. And I’ve never taken an insulin shot but I sure do support research that will get people off needles and bottles. Plus I give to the Humane Society every month and I figure that’s like a Karma Bank, right? So my one Big Lie is just debited against my good Karma credits and I’m fairly positive that saving cute puppies and kittens is way more important than stretching the truth a little so someone will drive me back to camp already.

Within fifteen minutes I’d been handed two chocolate bars, a delicious fizzy Dr. Pepper and been loaded into the passenger seat of the camp owners shiny new Trailblazer. For whatever reason she drove super slow so as not to dislodge my pancreas because obviously being diabetic means you have to drive very carefully so I’d like to stick up for the diabetics of the world and say WE ARE NOT INVALIDS. I mean, I was only diabetic for like 20.4 minutes but I FEEL YOUR PAIN, MY SISTERS.

Back at camp the nice lady dropped me off less than 10 feet from my tent with a sweet good-bye and a pat on the arm, indicating she hoped I got better real soon. Hate to burst your bubble there sugar but I hear that diabetes just isn’t something you get rid of but then, who am I to judge? The woman just drove me in Air Conditioned Splendor all the way to my tent after my word diarrhea combined with my self preservation skills completely took over the functioning parts of my brain. Plus she dropped me off less than ten feet from my tent, which was a mere 50 feet away from my vehicle and though my black Honda was dusty and dirty and the tires were sporting urine-tastic remnants courtesy of at least three females (including myself) who refused to either venture into the wooded area or walk half a mile to the concrete holes masquerading as civilized toilets, I could have given two dead rats and a goat about that. I drove myself to the camp showers three miles up the road and stood under streaming water that alternated between wicked scalding and wicked cold but my industrial strength hand soap came in wicked handy as I scrubbed my body free of the past 27 hours.

With fresh clothes and soppy wet hair I drove into town where I met my new BFF, Janelle, at the local Sonic. After I sucked down my first Route 44 Strawberry Limeade she was kind enough to bring me another, even after I just shook the styrofoam cup in her direction, making a gesture more commonly used in establishments that serve actual alcohol, a gesture indicative of ‘Gonna need another one of these, yeah, thanks.’ I then happily drove back to camp where I decided I needed another shower, so I stopped on my way in and scrubbed the scrubbable bits again and emerged feeling, if not pretty, at least free of residual debris. I then drove back to camp where I alternated sitting in a lounge chair in the direct path of a giant boxfan (amazing how well those things work when you don’t have to share them with ten other people) and sitting in my drivers seat in the direct path of my air conditioning.

The evening when everyone returned was fairly uneventful, unless you count driving to some random guys house, watching Gumby’s doppelganger pass out head first into an ant bed, cramming said Gumby into the backseat of my vehicle and finally passing out (from tiredness, not beer) in a tent around 3am uneventful.

Once the weekend was officially over and I was officially ensconced in the blessed coolness of my apartment, I gave my a/c a big hug and a tickle, just so it knew how much I appreciated it. I also figured out that there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING wrong in being the girl that insists upon staying in a hotel, ordering room service and watching reruns of Sex and the City on TBS. There’s nothing wrong with insisting the air conditioner remain below 75 degrees during the months of April through October. There’s nothing wrong with insisting that your head will viciously and mortally attack some rocks should you stay in that canoe. But I have to give Lilleee some mad props or whatever the hell the younguns say today because without her *sniff* I would never have known just HOW MUCH of That Girl that I most certainly am.

Though in my defense I do kill bugs on my own and fix stopped up bath tubs and stand supportively by when friends have kitchen sinks that spew forth foulness. And I only take like thirty minutes to get ready and that includes shower and putzing time.


Carl from L.A. said...

Glad to see that your little adventure had a happy ending, that you didn't get eaten by the big bad wolf or run into zombies, or stuff like that.

Apparently you and AC have an orgasmic, passionate love-hate relationship. Any guy should be so lucky.

I never liked camping. I believe that when you are away from home, you should pamper yourself even more because you don't have all the convenience that you have at home. It's tough enough trying to find your way around in unfamiliar surroundings, so why make it even harder?

leahpeah said...

lovely. i say use whatever comes to mind in the heat of the moment. also, it sounds like you had low blood sugar, which as everyone knows, is practically the same thing as diabetes, just not with the needles and insulin and everything.

Coyote Mike said...

I've read your story from start to finish and am now ready to propose marriage. If for no other reason than that your apt has A/C and mine doesn't.

Jenni said...

Camping is totally yucky. I'm with you on that. And it was totally clever of you to pull the "diabetes" bit!!!

lilylala said...

god, i love you! i was there and still laughed so hard while reading this. i have never been more proud of you when you told me that you got free candy and pop from some big-banged hussy at the campsite convienence store. props to you and all the people in the world who love their air conditioning, but still went on a camping trip with her friend!!!