||a very loud Tiny Dancer
I'm so tired now that hysteria comes in waves. All I want to do is go to bed but the fucking idiots who live directly below me are playing their obnoxious bass crap r&b bollocks and no jumping up and down on my floor is going to stop them, goddamnit. This weekend has been fucking fantastic. And it's only Saturday. The mind boggles. So yesterday The International Group of Bad Accents and Great Drinking Skills set off for camping, under the (misguided) impression that we would somehow miraculously get to Tennessee in 3 hours. We do not. Luckily, Suzie, Katur, Dejan, Steve and I are in the Car Of Fun (as it came to be officially and universally known), banging out the classic rock, Suzie and Steve the two resigned parents handing back sweets and threatening seperation of us kids in the back, who spent most of the trip kicking the shit out of each other and shouting expletives for no reason.
So yeah. We got hopelessly confused, lost, split up - why we attempted to drive in convoy formation Harrison Ford style is quite, quite beyond me - there were many frustrated phone calls involving Chevrons and exits and traffic lights, a random smoke break in Waffle House (great foreigners pictures of us under the yellow neon sign - we have no shame in exploiting our accents to get away with things that would otherwise seriously taint our reputations).
Finally (finally) made it to the campsite (the wrong campsite, as it turns out, but it all worked out). Trying to set up tents when one's technical and scientific sensibilities stretch only to an unusual capacity for improvisation when it comes to opening bottles of beer is silly. There were 19 of us, attempting to assemble shitty tents in the pitch black, in a campsite we don't understand, simultaneously chainsmoking and beginning the cider process. With Suzie sitting on a picnic bench at the bottom of the hill overlooking the lake and Stone Mountain, and the air just smells heavy and damp and the winds hit you from both sides simultaneously. Everyone talking about how it looks like rain and then being inexplicably surprised when the rain comes. And, my God. It was ridiculous -we are literally in the MIDDLE of a fucking massive thunderstorm, every thunder crash sounds like a tree being felled (we are surrounded by trees, which was not comforting), lightening is reflected off the lake and lights up everything for 3-4 seconds. Tents are floating serenely across the site, People are running around trying to salvage the beer, I'm lying flat on my stmach spreadeagled across the inside of Rachel's tent to make sure it doesn't do a Dorothy and Toto. We think that it's going to be ok, but within minutes of smoking in the boys tent everything is soaking. We reconvene, chainsmoke under the toilet overhang, have long drawn out pseudo arguements about what our game plan should be (pseudo because really, deep down, noone could give a shit). Decide to stay, get shitfaced and lean breakfast club style against the wall, everyone just talking shit until 3am or something. Ladies toilets and cockroaches, waterlogged tents, 3 hours of sleep, up at 6 - I never saw that campsite in daylight.
We eat random crap we find in the bottom of car-boots and back pockets. I begin a long and sustained whine advocating the Importance of Wendy's. Subsequently we find out in the next 30 minutes that finding Wendy's is both complicated and useless (it doesn't open until 10.30. Ejits. I hate that ginger hooker anyway. Creepy pigtails).
Everyone in the Fun Car is not so fun. But what we initially thought to be a lack of funness was actually a lack of Egg Bacon and Cheese McGriddles and coffee and after another stop we were back on track. That drive up to Tennessee has caused a new theory about these scattered American "towns" - the less windows/the uglier the shop, the more enthusiastic the superlative is that is included in it's name, e.g. the big grey windowless metal shack with the swinging letters "The Only American Warehouse", the yellow boarded up one level ..thing "America's Favourite Grocery Store". Or the infinitely ambiguous "We Buy Houses" sign outside some random house. Thanks for that, I'm happy for the size of both your wealth and property holdings.
Singing Sinead O Connor, Avril Lavigne (shut up), Bryan Adams, Queen along with the radio, being ridiculous because we are cracked out. Finally reach the white-water rafting place, it is this woody place with ridiculously hot outdoorsy extreme Jackass boys who tell us that "key to rafting is staying in the boat". The Fun Car banded together once more,looking sexy as hell with big red helmets nad lifejackets on, driving the 25 minutes up to the top of the rapids, beginning to regret the 2 hours of sleep, 30 bottles of beer/cider, pack of smokes and general lack of energy/will to live that did not seem especially conducive to surviving "Level 55 Rapids", all with names like "Slice and Dice" and "Hellhole" etc.
Got out of the bus and proved my fantastically damaged coordination by immediately knocking over every single paddle. Big rafty things, complete lack of hand eye coordination when it came to paddling, constant hungover hysterical laughter which pissed off our guide girl person thing. But it was so cool. They should totally do buy one get one's on white water rafting. We got completely soaked, almost died, and the paddle just cuts through the water, we are in this ravine which is covered in trees, waterfalls, old slate-grey rock. I did the Coupland reverse blink to try and capture it forever, but had no faith and took pictures too. Jumping off into the water at one point and just serenely floating down a river, Dejan being "sent to the back" of the raft for being silly, our idiot guide who was in turns both frantic "FORWARD!! FORWARD!! GOOD GOD NO!!!" and completely nonchalent "Relax, we're ok" (both statements usually follow each other in quick succession). We did a spinny thing where our entire raft span down an eddy, Rachel fell out - great picture just of her feet sticking straight up in the air Witch-style).
The trip back on the bus was ridiculous, lifting up different layers of clothing released whole new loads of water, we all got that hot musty smell of wet anoraks and human bodies drying in an enclosed space, we all needed changing and acted like small children. Ate real ham sandwiches with mustard that we made on closed carboots, true picnic style. Took more photos that are only ok if you are a foreigner. Tried to make everyone take a rock with them but the symbolism of rememberence and material groundedness was lost on them, fools. I want to do it all over again.
I can't believe I am still awake, and I can't believe it is R&B's fault, how do you fight that?