Frost Bites

Ahhhhhh, The Great Outdoors.....

is very cold in March, on a mountain.

I think that at some point on Friday night while trying to "sleep", I died of exposure and the Sarah Sitting Here and Typing is actually the ghost of Sarah Who Went Camping. I'm still not warmed up and it's been like three days since I was out in the see-your-breath chilly night air.

I also have some rotting gut situation that others in my office also are experiencing. The whole place smells like intestinal discord, Pepto Bismol, and Fruit Punch Gatorade, God love it.

But I digress.

Camping taught me a lot of interesting things, aside from the lessons that center around the weather. And those can all be summed up as: March is cold; Do not sleep outside in March; and, You can indeed wake yourself up from shivering, especially if you voluntarily sleep outside at night during the month of March.

First of all, although nature is a tough mistress in March, She is nevertheless beautiful and interesting. While gathering wood (Check it out! I'm so olden times! "Gathering wood" - I love it!), I happened upon a little creek that ran under a little bridge. Southern Arizona has had a bunch of rain this winter and so there was actually some running water on the mountain. I'm wandering around kind of looking for wood to gather and kind of wandering around because I like to wander around; I feel like wandering around while other people are working gives me a certain Victorian je ne sais quoi to the eyes of onlookers, kind of like, "Sarah's wandered off a-gain." and I picture myself in a long, gentle dress, maybe something simple and champaign-colored with an Empire waist and a satin ribbon. My shiney hair is put up loosely and bits of it are falling down under the strain of having to do work like gathering wood.

While everyone else is contributing physical labor to the task of survival, I wander off into dreamland, like all Victorian girls whose party assumes that they are not really capable of doing the indelicate work that is necessary to stand out the night in the wild. They already know that I'm not good at things that are not cross-stitch, crochet, or birthing the kittens that nobody else cares about in the stable while I am supposed to be learning how to set a proper table.

So I wander off with child-like curiosity and stumble upon a creek. I see a pawprint that I assume belongs to a dog that I assume belongs to another camper.
Then I notice that there are literally hundreds of these pawprints and that they are of all sizes and that they are definitivly cat paw prints.




I saw the coolest thing that I think I have seen in nature since I was a little kid and things in nature were all relatively unknown to me. This creek area had so many Mountain Lion prints that there just had to be a big den somewhere in the immediate vicinity. I did not come across the den but my Spidey Sense told me that the Mountain Lions were watching me. Well, okay... maybe it had nothing to do with Spidey Sense and everything to do with logic. There is no way that so many paw prints could be a Mountain Lion family that's "just passin' through, ma'me" like some band of merry hobos resting under a bridge with their colorful scarves, cut-off gloves, and old-timey bowler hats.

No, these Mountain Lions lived in the immediate area where I was wandering and I have never in my life been so thankful to have such an over-active imagination regarding my surroundings. There is a good chance that had I not been pretending to be some other version of myself, I would not have wandered away from my friends and I would not have seen this amazing trove of animal tracks.

But what about the camp fire and the beers and stuff?

Well, kinda boring, to level with you.

I love to party - that's no secret - but I felt like there was a sine wave (or is it cosine?) whereby everything is fun and entertaining and you're laughing, you're laughing, you're dancing, keep laughing, and then begins the descent.

And the descent for me came in the form of feeling like I didn't have anyone to talk to. I didn't know the private jokes and I wasn't able to find the common ground. There was a lot of the use of "fuck-en" as both adjective and adverb and when I drop the F-Bomb, I like to drop it like it's hot and say with a great deal of enunciation: Fuck-ing. As in, "Un-Fucking-Believable," emphasis on the "-ing".

Think about it. You've heard me do this a million times. I'm not one to take the pronunciation of my profanity lightly.

So my over-pronouncing, fantasizing, freezing self was trying to contend with the downward drop of the sine wave (or is it cosine?). I couldn't talk about music that much, I couldn't talk about irony that much, I couldn't get my jokes to fly and I'm not going to bitch out and attribute any of my buzz-kill to anyone.

Fact: I had a fun experience.

Fact: Much of the time, I was bored out of my mind and was making up little games and dreams for myself.

Fact: Although at first I was opposed to the idea of coming home early, I was out-numbered and I am ultimately glad that we packed up and headed home a night early. It was fuck-ING cold out there.

Fact: I have GOT to start taking things to be the way they are and many times before and many times ahead am I in situations with people where I don't feel like I fit in because the levels and the concepts and the words are bigger.

Sue me: I like grammar. I'm not so much for spelling but I do like grammar as much as I like Miller Lite and I like evenly exchanged discourse as much, or more than I like toasting a shot, "To the Fuck-en Green Fairy!"

I also like quiet and things took a turn for the pissy, as things are wont to do when girls do things together. On Saturday afternoon, there was some lazing about the tent by myself and another camper we'll call Amy. The tent was warm from the sun. The tent was far away from the smelly fire. The tent had comfortabel air mattresses and every other goddamn argument you could think of that would cause you to want to laze around in the tent and talk about people.

But the other member of the party, we'll call her Shelly, was getting mad about the lazing.


Because it is apparently cause for a Federal Holiday if a group of girls can go camping and not find something to pick on about one or more of them. Although I am not known far and wide for my maturity, I did feel like saying to "Shelly", "Grow up. I possibly lost a couple of toes due to the freezing temperatures and I got no sleep because you kept waking me up to announce that you're sure a bear is outside the tent, plotting and scheming acts of terror on three sleeping (allegedly) women."

Newsflash: There's no bear. If there's anything out there, it's a deer - the first animal in nature to become accostomed to, and expectant toward, human food stuffs to supplant their diet. And trust me, that deer ain't gonna do anything more than sniff the sweat socks that have frozen into stinky little icicles in my backpack.

I guess it's true that not every camping trip can be a disguise for a Salon Atmosphere of drink and pointed discussion, but the simple fact is that I would have been having a lot more fun had there been any actual exchange of ideas on any topic, including but not limited to Mountain Lions, Victorian Women, Frozen Toes, and Terri Shiavo. So now it's back to the grindstone and back with a stomach bug that is hopefully not a parting gift from Nature.

Although, I don't see how it could be a parasitical remnant (oh shit those big words feel GOOOOOOD) since my whole department is in the same sorry state as me.

arizonasarah at 9:30 a.m.

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