I hardly ever post on my blog without a picture, WIP, recipe, etc. I know most people use their blog as a kind of journal or diary, but as talkative as I am on the phone or in person, I'm just not inclined to take the time to record an event or my thoughts. However, I'm making an exception and telling you all about my Girl Scout Adventure.
I was driving up to my parent's house in Arnold, about 20 minutes up Hwy 4 from my house. About halfway there I saw a young woman trying to wave down traffic as it passed. I pulled over. She appeared to be in her early 20's and was quite overweight. I quickly decided I could totally take her down if she turned out to be a nutcase, lol. It turned out her name was Emma. She was from Stockton (about 90 minutes away). Her car battery had died and she was without cell signal. She had gotten out of her SUV to walk up the road to see if her phone would work and, altho she had grabbed her purse, she had locked her keys in her car. With a newly opened can of soda, she was quick to inform me.
I asked her where she was going. "To Arnold" she replied. Cool, was going there anyway, so I put her in my truck and we started up the highway. She told me she had just graduated from college, a BA in PolySci, from San Diego State. "Oh, I'm from La Mesa" I said. Cool, another thing in common. Who was she seeing in Arnold? Well, she was going to The Girl Scout Camp. She was a lifetime member (who knew they had such a thing???) and she was going to be a camp counselor all summer. Huh...I had never heard of a Girl Scout camp in Arnold, but I wasn't going to argue with her. We got into Arnold (that means we crested a hill that opened up to a turning lane into the shopping center!) and I started to slow down. "Oh, no" she said. "I'm actually going to Camp Connell."
Okay, Camp Connell is 7 miles further up the hill. I'm low on gas (needle is somewhere between Empty and 1/4 tank - but that yellow gas pump light thingy hasn't come on yet...) and it's the middle of the day, so I tell her "no big deal" and we head further up the highway.
In my mind I'm dropping her off at the Chevron in Camp Connell. In reality she asks me to turn left at the Chevron. "See the sign that says Camp Menzies? That's where I need to go. It's a couple of miles up this dirt road." (Camp MENZIES? Really? Sounds like they will all be menstruating! Who the HELL named a camp for girls MENZIES???) Turned out the guy who donated the land had the unfortunate last name of Menzies...again, who knew? Not me!
Ok, now I'm seeing a different picture in my mind. Where the HELL am I going? I turned at the sign. Sure enough, after about four houses/cabins the asphalt became red dirt. Newly graded dirt. With pine-trees-still-laying-across-part-of-the-road-thank-goodness-I'm-in-the-truck-and-not-the-Mustang-new dirt.
Right about now I can feel the panic start in the pit of my stomach. For those of you who don't know me, I have panic disorder. A few things are big triggers for me. Driving where I've never been before, driving in wide open or very closed in spaces, driving in one of these scenarios alone. Now, I'm not alone, but I will be after I get her to Camp Heavy Flow and I'm a little worried about getting myself back out to the highway. Most of you know I recently had a little panic attack on a plane and passed out, so this fear of not getting out seemed valid to me.
I don't drive the truck very often, and I didn't think to stop and look at the odometer. She said about two miles and I took her word for it. She'd been coming there almost her entire life (if she was being honest about the membership term she'd signed up for!). We drove. And then we drove some more. There were felled trees, dirt burms closing off side roads, steep drop-offs, and once in awhile a sign for Camp Menzies. We climbed that road for what seemed like half an hour, but judging how long it took me to drive out, it was probably only ten minutes. The longest ten minutes of my life. With every turn and switchback I thought, "OMG - I am never getting out of here!!"
We ran into another counselor (jogging at 5,000 ft elevation on her first day, bless her young, in-shape heart!) named Puck. She looked like an elf. Or Peter Pan. Turned out she just liked hockey. Whatever.... (cough, snort...lesbian...). At this point I was so happy to see another person, even an elfin-like one, and was considering asking her to ride back to the highway with me (brain was not in gear - how would she get back to camp?? At that point I didn't care).
Emma and I did eventually get to camp headquarters...where she found out the phones were out of order. Once she knew she had a ride back into town to call a tow truck we said our goodbyes. And yes, while she was inside whining about her dead battery I was downing 2 Xanax with a warm water bottle!
On my drive out I passed Puck, who waved gayley as I passed (ok, just had to put that in there!) and again I was frantically trying to figure out how to get her to ride along with me out to the real world. Here I was (where was I exactly?), driving along a labyrinth of dirt intersections, trying to just stay pointed downhill. I started to panic. My hands began to sweat, my mouth went dry, I was loosing circulation in my fingertips. I had the air conditioning on hoping that would help. Oh! What if that uses up too much gas? I turned it off. Now I'm sweating, it's too hot, I'm sure to pass out if I don't have the air on...air back on. Need distraction. The only CDs with me are numbers 8 & 9 of the 5th Harry Potter book! Ok, HP to the rescue (love the narrator's voice, very soothing those Brits!). After two carloads of what I assumed were other lifetime Girl Scout members trying to run into me (flatlanders can't drive in the mountains!) and the cool air hitting my face and Hermione explaining S.P.E.W. to Ron and Harry I did hit the asphalt once again. I have never, ever been so happy to see Camp Connel's Chevron sign.
No, I did not stop and get gas, I was still that shaky. I just wanted my mom and dad, and drove straight to their house. My dad was at his computer and I don't think he even heard me come in. My mom was up in her sewing room on her computer (do you think they IM each other?) and she had been wondering what was taking me so long to get there. You know, it's nice even at 46 to come home and tell Mom all about your day! :-) Well, until she lectures you about picking up strangers on the highway, but that's what Mom's do, and I didn't care. I was just happy to be "home".
No matter how old we are it's nice to know home is waiting for us. Someone is worried about us. Even if the adventure was small, and pretty much only in our head. I wasn't in any danger, except from myself! And, like most of my panic attacks, afterwards I felt stronger - I've conquered one more "fear of". This time it was the fear of being lost in the woods. I know this story will seem silly to most of you. I hope you do laugh, because my fears were silly and the adventure wasn't much of anything. But when you live out in the middle of nowhere even picking up a Girl Scout can turn into an adventure.