Monday, February 15, 2010

The Sounds of Silence

I just want to say that any attempt to wake up early, make coffee and take care of a few tasks without waking up a room full of sleeping Girl Scouts is foolhardy to begin with and next to impossible at that. I say “next to” because after the second night of Scout camp the girls were so exhausted no one even stirred when I dropped a heavy Tupperware container into a crinkly paper bag a bit more rapidly than planned. I think even the leaders kept right on snoring.

After the first night, however, my cell phone alarm went off on low volume in my sleeping bag at 6:30 a.m. and it scared the living heck out of me. Luckily I’d slept with my finger on the snooze button. After a quick squeeze, I sank back into my pillow for a few moments to gather my resources. A minute later, the coffee-maker that I had set to start brewing automatically turned itself on. Honestly, I had no real idea how unbelievably LOUD my coffee maker is. It brews in the kitchen at home and I guess there’s enough sound insulation in my house to dampen the noise. In a large, high-ceilinged, one-room cabin housing seventeen girls and six leaders, it sounded like an avalanche on the Matterhorn.

So I scrambled out of my vinyl sleeping bag (loud) on my flimsy camp mattress (louder) and tripped on my bag (even louder) before frantically turning the machine back off. The machine, for its part, took it’s sweet time realizing it had been switched off and continued to make resounding clicks along with sounds like a heavy smoker clearing her throat, for about another two minutes.

At last, all returned to peaceful quiet, but the damage was done. First in one quadrant of the room, then another, the high-pitched hiss of preadolescent whispering began to rise above the hum of the central heating like a distant rain and once it had started, it steadily swelled into a downpour.

I apologized to all the leaders a little later that morning, when everyone was up and dressed and moving about. None of them indicated they’d even heard the noise I’d made, and all were very gracious in suggesting that since all of these girls go to Oak Point, which begins at 7:40 in the morning, they’re all used to waking up around six thirty anyway. So it just may have been that their early rising had nothing at all to do with my clumsy attempts at silence. I’ll take the grace, but I gotta tell ya, I felt like an elephant at a tea party that morning! Lesson learned? I’ll let you know next year.

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