Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Remember how I said this job could be less than glamorous?
My world literature class ended in disaster. Inspired by reading The Last American Man, a couple of the boys set about building a rabbit trap in the woods. Normally they would not have much time for things like that but today was a mandatory day off the river. So one of the boys, C, perhaps lacking the precise skills of Eustace Conway, busts his finger open by smashing a rock against it with all his might. When I happen to walk into the main cabin he's standing there holding a palmful of blood, dripping over Andy's precalculous study sheet he's laboriously written out by hand.
It's too bad, because it was supposed to be a lovely afternoon off, our only off-river day in Canada. Instead of rushing around getting cold gear on, scrambling in and out of the eddy and participating in flushfestive '09:
with a side of windowshade, pulling gear off, getting caught in the rubber of a dry top, throwing on (by now extremely dirty) sweatshirt, driving to dinner, piling food into your body, driving home, starting study hall, teaching an SAT class, helping with homework, responding to mom ("you never write anymore....what, do you not love me?") reading aloud, putting the chilins to bed, preparing for classes and brushin your own teeth and falling into bed to worry for a while about your personal finances and then next thing you know you're waking up and doing it all over again....
instead...it was supposed to be an afternoon of taking the dog for a walk, maybe hand washing the delicates, taking a little nap, rewatching arrested development, organizing your scattered things and all.....well. Ha. Instead we wrestled one kid into the van to go to the ER, three more hopped on because the ER is close to a Wal-Mart, Matt went along to sit in the waiting room, Dave went along because we're out of food, Stephen went to shop with David, Tino went MIA, and Andy and I were standing there blinking in a cloud of dust with a pile of blood spattered documents inside the house. The rest of the kids were watching a movie and eating a bowl of popcorn, completely unfazed.
Andy and I sat in silence for a while. I didn't have the energy to study. So I played him the single most amazing video ever made on this entire planet. And then I went to get the kids rounded up for dinner, found them sitting a fetid room watching Shooters. marinating in a haze of stink. What's IS that SMELL? I demanded. They didn't look up. That's just popcorn, One answered. Sure. I stalked into the bathroom and found the toilet clogged in the most vile of manners. I hit the pause button, which seemed to emanate a chorus of protests. Nobody's leaving this place till you all clean the toilet.
Then I tried to explain that on a Grand Canyon expedition, packing away the groover (the group pack out toilet) can actually be a fun activity to do with a buddy. The unusual proximity to human excrement. The sprinkling of lime dust. The disinfecting the hands. It all wraps up to be just a neat little ritual.
I explained that. They didn't get it. But they trooped into the bathroom like good little soldiers and did something to remedy the problem, and then I drove them to Wilderness Tours to eat giant plates of spaghetti, very similar to the giant plates of spaghetti we'd had that day for lunch.
It's 9:30, and the Wal Mart/ER/Food Shoppers aren't back yet. They've been gone 5 hours and counting. I took a kid to the ER just two days ago and waited in that waiting room for 6 hours, rereading a Canadian People, so I have little hope they'll be back any time soon.