So the New Friend that invited me to the Not-A-Public Speaking event spirited me away to camp for the afternoon yesterday. I left the house thinking I was just going to drop off my final assignments to my computer professor, but I ended up several hours from home peering into the disheveled contents of a camper’s suitcase in an attempt to assemble an outfit for an ‘80’s-themed prom.
“Just think of it as research,” my New Friend said, casting a new light on the impromptu trip.
Of course. Research. After all, I am writing a series of teen novels set at summer camp. No matter that emails would go unanswered and trip preparations would be stalled—-writers will drop their keyboards at a moment’s notice for an opportunity for in-the-field research.
Not to mention that this was a chance to forward the whole female bonding thing prior to the dice and gifts event.
Conversation on the two hour drive to camp drifted to our respective prior experiences at the camp that had, somehow, never overlapped.
I was surprised by how quickly the conversation led to tricky ground.
Two years ago while volunteering at said camp, I found it necessary to kidnap a puppet, an event that subsequently incited hysteria among a group of chauvinistic men and led to a mock trial with the entire camp in attendance. The case went unresolved, hampered by a hung jury, tampered evidence and contempt of court.
As soon as I opened my mouth to recount the tale, I could tell that it was too soon to have introduced the Puppet Affair. New Friend looked puzzled. I spent the rest of the drive fearing I’d put too much strain on the budding friendship, babbling about puppets.
I have a handful of tight female friends, but they’re people who have had a long time to get used to me and my quirks-—my sister, for instance, and Lori, who is well acquainted my dysfunction but chooses to love me anyway.
Evidently I don’t really have a feel for what girls REALLY like to talk about. After a mere five minutes in the cabin, we knew who was constipated, who was experiencing monthly distress, and what cup size each girl wore.
Now I'm not sure how useful that research will prove, but the camp’s 80’s week theme was a gem and stalwart readers should take note to look for above influences in future Camp Edson adventures.
And—as a bonus—I discovered that the Puppet Affair has gone down in camp lore. New Friend introduced me to a counselor who connected some quick dots and exclaimed:
“You were the one who stole the puppets! I’ve always wanted to meet you, you’re my hero!”
The jury is still out on whether or not New Friend thinks I'm a lunatic, but I felt acquitted.