Monday, May 23, 2011

Rock and Temptation

This boy at the camp site is walking straight towards me. He's got the look I tend to fall for- trip and fall for- trip and fall head first into the dirt for: the dusty t-shirt, tousled hair, those tell-tale ripped forearms of a climber, the Chris Sharma grin. And he's looking at me, I mean he is staring shamelessly right at me. And I'm looking right back, you'd better believe it, I'm like come on over here, cowboy, and introduce yourself. I'm sitting in the back of my car, legs swinging, drinking a bottle of beer, feeling pretty good about myself. I've just taken one of those two dollar showers they have here at this parking-lot-turned-campsite where all the Smith climbers stay. You can set up your tent anywhere in the surrounding fields but fires are only allowed in the parking lot, so it becomes somewhat of a shoulder to shoulder community experience once the night falls.
So I've been told.

I'm pretty proud of my hands right now. Even after a shower they're still rope-darkened and covered in chalk with patches of blood on the knuckles. I'm feeling all casual and strong and straight up hot, you know? Because if you're ever going to feel good about yourself it's after a long day of cragging, when you're finally in clean clothes and you're sitting around relaxing, it's just a positive place to be.

The best part is I still have my Vermont plates on the car so everyone assumes that John and Diana and I just rolled in all the way from the East Coast. And we let them think that because it gives us some street cred. "Oh, yeah, we got in at about 3am," we say, which is true, but only because we were slow to leave Seattle and we lost the directions and no one was in a big hurry to leave the grocery store where we had dinner.

We're still eye locked,  me and the boy.  And that moment comes where one of us should look away, but neither of us do. This is a good sign. I'm well versed in the meaning behind the meter of these staring contests. If someone glances at you for a hot second in a crag parking lot, or the river put-in, or whatever, it means you've been noticed. If someone looks at you for two beats, it means they're interested. And if that obvious but intangible moment comes when they should look away but they don't and suddenly they're looking at you for three beats? That means - USUALLY- they're interested and they're available. Pretty much it means let the cows out, there's gonna be a barn dance.
After three beats, you're free to look away because it's been established: one of you is going to happen upon the other at some point during the evening, and it's going to seem like a coincidence that you both went up to get a refill at the same time at the one diner in town, but it's no coincidence and you know it. And all of this is understood and agreed upon in under five seconds, which is just impressive.

"Who was that!" Says Diana as the boy waltzes into the bathroom. "He was cute!" Diana is one of those gorgeous girls who crushes hearts just by walking through the grocery store, but she's together with John so she can't do the three-beat eye contact thing. And she wouldn't anyway because those two are most maddeningly in love.

I tell Diana how the boy was looking at me like he meant business and I was looking back cause I'm open for business or something to that effect and she says "Yeah girl get after it!" But then we all load up in the car and start to drive away because we are not actually staying at this fun, four dollar camp site, with the showers and all the people. John has found us free, isolated camping twenty miles away that we're sharing with a homeless man and his Minn Pinn, Fang.

Evidently the man had been kicked out of his house and was now living permanently at the site that John thought only we knew about. He had rigged up a whole kingdom for himself out of tarps and lawn chairs and woke us up that morning by blasting us a welcome to the neighborhood good-morning gangster rap. The only comprehensible lyrics of this song were: Show me your cock! Show me your cock! Show me your COCK!!!! Either that or Show Me Your God, Show me your God, but at 7am, pumped through the base- saturated speakers of a Toyota Camry, it's hard to tell.
A little bit later, the Minn Pinn came running through our site and grabbed a breakfast sausage from the pan and ran off with it, and the man lowered the speakers just enough to scream FANG! FANG! FANG!  FANG! GIT BACK HERE! FANG! FANG! FANG!

And that's where we are going to spend the night.

As I back the car out of the parking lot I see the boy emerge from the bathroom and he looks at me through the car window like, wait what are you doing? I thought we had an agreement? And I come so close to stopping the car and throwing Diana and the keys and asking them to just leave me here for the night. I could fend for myself. In fact, I fend best when I'm by my bad self.  Once, Lisa and I flew to Austin, TX with no place to stay upon landing and suckered a whole team of ultimate players from Western Washington University into giving us a hotel room.  I'm a hella fender for myselfer.

But I don't stop, I just keep driving away, because I have my little tent set up and I'm going to sleep it in and enjoy it and enjoy all the things I brought for myself.  That and, I'll let you in on a big secret: sometimes, not all the boys play by the rules. Sometimes they smile and wink at you and make you feel like the bell of the ball and then you see them waltz across the parking lot and return to their lovely wife, who is fixing up dinner in the back of their pick up.

It's a tough world. Sometimes, it's best to drive away with your friends towards the package of mint oreos in your tent which will not let you down. Besides which, we're meeting a few friends at our camp site, and one of the boys is celebrating his birthday and probably I should be there.

Well, this is how it turns out.  John and Diana cook lamb burgers and they see me gnawing miserably on apple rings for dinner so they fix one for me. This is the only up. Beyond that, the friends at the camps site don't talk all that much, and the birthday boy is stoned out of his mind and no one will tell any camp fire stories. I slink off to bed unceremoniously and then it starts to rain. And then I hear a pop and my tent breaks and collapses on my head. So I remind myself as I wince into a damp sleep to STAY where the boys are ALWAYS STAY WHERE THE BOYS ARE.

 Meanwhile, back at the Smith Rock Camping area, there's a big bonfire and everyone is playing music and dancing and removing pieces of clothing as the flames grow higher. And the Dusty boy who stared at me has found some other girl to bat his eyes at and the game commences. 

In the morning, I crawl out of my heap of a tent and John's made some coffee. Rainy, rainy coffee.

Rainy breakfast.

By the time we get to the cliff, the rain's mostly parted and the sun is spotty but the dusty boy is never seen again.

And I'm not too worried. The season's just beginning. And it's going to be straight baller.


Adriana Iris said...

that's the spirit...

Anonymous said...

I often tell myself exactly that: "Always stay where the boys are"...and it hasn't lead me wrong yet!

Also, as a post suggestion, how about writing down all these Rules of Engagement for those of us out there who don't know them all? You know, because this friend of mine is curious. Yeah, that's it, a friend...