Saturday, November 15, 2014

Memories of Girl Scout Day Camp, 1997

The summer after third grade a bunch of my friends went to a Girl Scout day camp together. I have very few memories of this experience, which is very strange since I remember most things entirely. I did not make any new friends, nor did I forge stronger, better friendships with my troupemates. When I think back on the one or two weeks it's a haze of popsicle sticks, one very obnoxious multiple-verse song that was eerily satanic, and standing inside a lodge while it rained. I told Peppermint, "At least the mosquitos will be dead now," and she explained it was actually just the opposite.

Two things though. One is that on some afternoon our counselor told us there was going to be a talent show, so our group would sing some lame song in front of everyone soon. Once we arrived at the talent show it was painfully clear that other groups had spent all morning preparing and had funny skits and choreographed pieces. Our counselor had, instead, decided we would do a craft with egg cartons, which we didn't have, and spent the AM shift lying on a picnic table while we, in a big pod, walked from campsite to campsite begging for craft materials like some weirdo forest urchins. During the talent show I was absolutely horrified to follow a group of girls who did a cool interpretive dance with hula hoops. We stood in one line screaming that terrible devil song because it was the only one we all knew. I saw we would be awful and tried to hustle everyone to find a different common tune even moments before we "performed." "What about Phantom of the Opera? Don't we all know Phantom of the Opera? Look, it's not hard. I can teach you." I was murmuring to everyone in line. My cousins were visiting that week, and when I got home I recounted the whole disaster to one of them who grew extremely agitated to be listening to my patter. It was the first time I realized that not everything about me is interesting by a very very long shot.

My friend Ick and I became completely obsessed with the friendliest and prettiest counselor who went by "Star." "If only we had Star as a counselor," we'd pine while watching her group run around giggling. We'd turn back to our counselor who was still trying to get her cd to work so we could "listen to it and be quiet." We wrote Star fan letters and stalked her during all-camp festivities. During the Friday luau she was nowhere to be found. I noticed another counselor, Froggy--a fat white guy with an ever sweaty red face--looking suspicious. He entered a telephone booth sideways. I darted over. An exhausted Star was in there too! I watched through the glass. She would make some tired motion, he would say a couple things, she would laugh hysterically--nearly crying. Her eyes sparkled like her namesake. I finally knocked on the glass. Star turned around and recognized me as one of those psychotic children who chased her down every day. She just put her finger to her lips, so I walked away. I still don't know what that meant--the sign she gave me. Don't tell I'm not doing my job? Don't tell I might be in love with Froggy of all people? Just don't say anything, you whacko? I think of them every couple of years and hope they are married.

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