I did it again. I was playing around in my room with my imaginary friends (yes, I do that often) and misjudged the distance from where I was standing to the corner of my bed. The bed corner did not like being jumped on from that awkward angle, so it spit me out. I landed in an untidy heap head-first on my bedroom floor with an ache behind my right ear. You'd think I'd learn. I will now share with you the first time this happened, several years ago.
Eighth grade had just started. I felt like a complete nobody, a useless husk, a waste of space, whatever you want to call it. Black was my color of choice-long sleeved turtle necks, black jeans, black lace-up ankle boots, black socks, and a black zip up jacket. The only other color was the red stripes that ran the length of the jacket sleeves. I kept my head down, my hair in a braid down my back. I didn't speak. I didn't make eye contact. I did my school work; I just didn't participate in discussions. So silent and such a shadow I was that people in my classes thought I was someone else, until the day that I could no longer remember who they were.
Yes, I was once again engaged in playing with my imaginary friends, namely various characters from the Star Wars series. Not just the movies, mind you. The books-Expanded Universe novels, pre-Clone Wars, et cetera. I was a completely different person-Shae Solo, youngest daughter of Han and Leia Solo, set out to rescue my nephew, Ben Skywalker, from the Yuuzhan Vong. Well, I misjudged my landing on the escaping Vong speeder and shot off backwards, landing hard on my head.
In all reality, I was making the same jump towards the corner of the bed that I did today. The bed didn't like it that time either; it spit me out. I ended up with severe tunnel vision and ringing ears. It got to the point where I realized that I'd severely injured myself. My mom took me to the ER and I was told that I had a major concussion. As I lay in the bed, the world blurred and so did my memory. I could not remember faces, names, anything. I asked for people in my classes, but I didn't know who they were. I barely remember what happened that night. I remember that they sent me home, but I was brought back after throwing up several times. I remember the IV that was put into my arm, being terribly cold, and not being able to see. That's about all.
Four or five days later I went back to school. This was the time when people actually noticed I was in their class still, but I didn't remember most of them. I remembered small details about them, but no names. We spent a lovely time in first period reintroducing everyone, with me remembering some better than others.
Luckily I had no problems with that today. It is rather embarrassing to recount that adventure, only to have it happen again. Stupid Lord Beckett. No, not the Lord Beckett of the already released Pirates stories; his son, Lord Beckett, Jr. If only he weren't so jealous.
I'll leave you to figure out what the devil I'm going on about whilst I tell you of Saturday, May 16-otherwise known as The Last Day of the AP Environmental Science Field Trip.
As I think I mentioned before, the night spent at Dead Horse Point Campground was freezing cold. I again woke up to see the moon shining brilliantly through the tent window, but instead of being too lazy to get up and take a picture I was too frozen. I found it totally brainless of me that I'd packed a stocking cap that didn't come down around my ears; what is the point of that? I spent the night as a popsicle, teeth chattering so loudly I was afraid that I'd awake Meri. She was dead to the world, though, so I was lucky.
5:35 came around (not that I knew that until later) and I finally gave up trying to sleep anymore. I went up to the small bathroom and let out a wail of frustration that brought Mr. Clark running. "What?" he asked, "is there a scorpion?" "No!" I replied, "This bathroom was obviously designed by a man because THERE IS NO MIRROR!!!"
Yes. I was upset because how was I supposed to get ready for the day with no mirror? I was more upset when Mr. Clark laughed and walked away. I was even more upset when I realized that I didn't need a mirror because my hair was still nicely placed in French braids. So, I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and tried to remain dignified as I walked past my teacher to my tent.
Never pack fresh bagels for breakfast on a camping trip. Make sure they're properly packaged in plastic sacks. Otherwise Mr. Brown can use them as hockey pucks with holes in them to throw at sleeping students. It was rather fun to watch, even though it was sad that we couldn't eat them. Yogurt, Pop Tarts, Instant Oatmeal, and hot chocolate were good enough for breakfast. Lunches were the same as yesterday, only this time I smuggled a Yogurt for good measure. What? I can't eat apples, okay? They hurt my teeth. Had to figure out some other way to get a little bit of fruit. So Yogurt hardly makes the cut, but it's better than nothing.
Meri and I didn't need help getting the tent down this time. We asked Mr. Brown for help at first, but then changed our minds. The girls got to shout about our power to the boys again, seeing as we all got our tents down before they did. Spencer was too busy having Josh hold a mirror in front of his face so that he could put in his contacts. I joined in the teasing, though I'd berated myself for not thinking of packing a mirror. I'm such a hypocrite. Anyway, the tremendous shout of "GIRL POWER" was not met with an shut ups, just rolled eyes and further furious packing. Everything was ready to go long before the bus arrived, so we sat around doing nothing and being cold.
Our first stop came at Upheaval Dome, which is either an impact crater or an old collapsed caldera or remainders of an earthquake. I only know that it isn't a salt dome, which the original geologists believed. I didn't get to hike to the top; I made it about fifty yards up the trail before my arm started to ache horribly. Pam and I tried a to go a little farther after the group passed us up, but I couldn't do it. We went back down and discovered flowers, birds, mini pine cones, and some lovely dirt to draw in. I spent some time tracing out a name which is particularly fun to draw, while Pam laughed at me. Ah, well.
The drive down from the top of the plateau was uneventful, because I was again asleep. It wasn't until we reached Arches National Park that I decided to grace the world with my alertness. I love Arches; it's my other favorite place in the world. And seeing as it's right outside of Moab, it works rather well.
We hiked down Park Avenue (one of the sites inside the park), which is all down hill and very easy. I stayed at the end with Mr. Brown and Todd. They're both photographers, so they didn't mind walking slowly. I got some good pictures, and they taught me about photographing from different angles and such. "Unconventional angles are your friend," said Mr. Brown, "That way you do things differently than other photographers." It's true, really. I've seen hundreds of pictures of the Three Gossips formation and they all look the same. Crouch down on the path and it's a whole different story. Fun stuff.
After Park Avenue came The Windows, Castle Arch (pretty sure that's the name), Double Arch, and driving past Balanced Rock. Don't tell me that erosion takes millions of years; I was in Arches a year and a half ago and trust me, Balanced Rock was bigger then. It shrunk! A lot! I couldn’t do any of the hikes up to the arches in the area, so I stayed in the bus with the driver (Lee) and Meri’s mom. I felt very sick to my stomach, my arm hurt, and I was feeling very depressed for some reason. Meri’s mom wasn’t feeling well either. Motion sickness, probably.
We had a bit of a run-in with an environmentalist, because Lee left the bus running so that Mrs. Chamberland and I could have the air conditioning on. The guy took pictures of the bus and wrote down plate numbers, called Lee names, et cetera. Lee told him to buzz off because there were sick people on the bus. The man replied saying things like the CO2 emissions from the bus were bad for the environment and would degrade the rock formations faster, that it would result in acid deposition, blah, blah, blah. I knew what he was talking about, and I knew that it takes a heck of a lot more emissions than from one bus.
Now, I’m not generally a mean person. I’m not a very brave person, either. I was, however, sick, tired, and out of sorts. I’d had it. I was not going to give up my A/C for some measly mouthed Enviro freak when those rocks had been standing around for whoever knows how long, withstood plenty of carbon, and hadn’t gone anywhere. A few grams of CO2 were not going to bother those rocks. I grabbed hold of the rails on the stairs to hold myself up and stared the Enviro Stormtrooper Geek in the face. I looked him up and down and opened my mouth.
“You know what, Bud? You’ve got some pretty nice hiking boots on there. Must have cost you, what? Fifty odd dollars? Now, if you want to keep them nice, you’ll leave, because I don’t think I can stomach your crap for much longer.”
I know! I’m such a jerk! I feel bad about it now. Sort of. Anyway, he left, and we didn’t hear anything else for the rest of the trip. Lee was rather proud of me, I think. Meri’s mom laughed, but I think she was a little surprised at me. I know I was. I guess the moral of that story is this: Do not mess with a sick Environmental Science student, because she knows what you’re talking about and won’t put up with skewed facts.
And I don’t hate environmentalists. I care about the planet a lot. I don’t, however, care about idiots who listen to one-sided arguments. You’ve gotta know both sides before you can start spouting.
All right, that’s over. Once the rest of the kids came back, we left the park and went to the Visitor’s Center for potty breaks and lunch. I’d eaten some of mine, but I didn’t want to eat anything else (too sick) so I went into the Gift Shop. I found some pens for my family, one from each of the places we’d stopped at. Practical, right? I also got a key chain with Delicate Arch on it for me. It’s one of my favorite formations, though I’ve never had a chance to hike up to it. Next time, for sure.
Heading home was the worst part of the trip, especially when we picked a movie to watch. The choices were three John Wayne movies and The Dark Knight. I’m not allowed to watch the last movie I mentioned. When people told me that my parents would never find out, I knew I’d still feel guilty. Mr. Clark put in Rio Lobo (John Wayne) which is really a horrible movie, but at least it wasn’t something I’m not allowed to see. Most of the boys enjoyed it. Probably because it’s sexist and shoot ‘em up. Don’t make fun of me because I’m 17 and still obey my parents, even when I’m on a trip miles from home. I’d feel guilty and I’d be breaking the rules. Besides, if you do make fun of me, I won’t really care. I’ve had plenty of experience with people making fun of me because I keep the rules. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t care much anymore.
So, Rio Lobo was a total fail and I was wishing that I’d brought Mulan or Pirates of the Caribbean or something like that. Sitting in front of people trying to convince me that The Dark Knight is a great movie was a fail on their part, because I wouldn’t listen. It’s dark, evil, and disturbing. I’ve seen parts of it, and the utter darkness I feel when watching it is way worse than being made fun of. Anyway, now that you know the story of my run-in with the Stormtrooper I dare you to take me on. ;) Just kidding.
We stopped in the canyon near Price about an hour and a half from home to see a large exposed coal vein. No one really cared enough to take good notes; we just wanted to go home. Tony did bring out his rock hammer to take a sample; I thought that was funny. He really enjoys geology.
We arrived home around 4:30 in the afternoon, ahead of schedule again. Dad picked me up and helped me get my stuff in the car. I got to tell him about my trip, and was in the process of doing so when I was met with a complete surprise in my living room. There against the wall stood a shiny, dark brown, beautiful piano. I do play the piano (though not well), and I suffered a great heartbreak when the piano I had was reduced to uselessness when some children who will not be named pounded on it and broke most of the keys. It was way too much to fix it; over 38 of the keys no longer played and those that did sounded terrible. To come home to an instrument that actually worked, had gorgeous tone, and was ever so wonderful was amazing. To be told that it was mine struck me speechless. Seriously. I didn’t play it though; I was too dirty to touch this treasure. I waited until the next day to play it.
My mom and I watched Surf’s Up that evening, and I went to bed early.
That, my friends, was the AP Environmental Science Southern Utah Field Trip of the year 2008-2009. I will never forget it, because it was truly amazing. Not to mention that a certain boy asked me on a date during that time. *sigh* Good times.
This has been a terribly long post. Forgive me, and if you read the whole thing, type something like.....hm....99/> or something. I hope it was at least somewhat interesting. And if you type "hm....99/> or something. I hope it was at least somewhat interesting" in the comment box to let me know that you read it, I will laugh and the smack you upside the head with a 2 x 4. ;)