Every week, I get 24 hours off. I usually sleep for about 10 hours and then spend the next 14 hours shopping for necessities and catching up with the outside world: sending letters and emails, calling family and friends, and updating my blog. But 2 weeks ago, my day off was a little different...
One of my former campers, Augustin, was staying in Boston and really wanted to see me. Hannah, one of my close friends on staff, opted to come with me for a short overnight to Boston. We were excited to spend a big chunk of time together, talking about girl stuff and camp issues. At dinner, the night we were leaving, Michael Princiotta, a 17 year old worker, discovered that we were going to see Augustin and before I could blink, he had gained permission from his parents and the camp director to come with us. Michael has been at Chop Point every summer that I have, but I've never really gotten to know him. Needless to say, Hannah and I were a bit bummed that our girl time was to be invaded by 17 year old boy.
We got in the car and I prefaced our 3 hour drive by warning Michael that he was in a staff car and everything said over the next 24 hours was strictly confidential and not to be repeated especially to campers. And then we talked. Hannah and I talked about all the things that we would normally have talked about, but this time with a third party who, to our surprise, offered intelligent relevant comments. By hour 2, we were laughing wildly about the flirtatious gas station attendant, eating M&M's and hint of lime chips, sharing stories and feeling like we'd all known each other forever.
We spent the night at my parents' condo and in the morning, we picked Gus up and took him to my favorite breakfast restaurant in Boston, Sorella's. If you're ever in town, you should definitely check it out. Best pancakes in the world!
After breakfast, we took Gus down to the Arnold Arboretum and just walked and talked. He and I have been close for several years but we don't get to talk very often. It was great to hear how he's doing and see how he has grown since last year.
On the ride down, Michael had kept us in hysterics with stories about his crazy grandmother. She lives in the Boston area, so after we dropped Augustin at the train station, we went to her house where she fed us more food than we could have eaten in a week. She was thrilled to meet us and referred to me and Hannah the entire time as "the girls". "Michael, you should show the girls where your dad used to go fishing." "Michael, next time, you need to take the girls to your aunt's house too." She was just as crazy as he had described and it was so hard to keep from laughing out loud.
We got into the car with plenty of time for the ride home, so I told my friends that we could stop anywhere they wanted on the way. Our first stop was at Stonewall's Kitchen in York, Maine. We sampled close to 50 different salsas, sauces and jams, and modeled some of their kitchen outfits.
Our next stop was Cabella's, a giant camping goods store in Scarborough. We checked out their aquarium, the elaborate arrangements of wildlife (dead and stuffed), and practiced target shooting.
Just as we were leaving Cabella's, we realized that I did not have my phone. After an unsucessful search of the car, we decided that I must have dropped it at Stonewall's when I fell on the hill picking wildflowers. So we called Dave, the camp director, told him we'd be about an hour late, and drove back to York. No phone. Hannah called it for the 5th time and finally, someone answered. My phone had been found at North Quincy station, the train stop where we had deposited Augustin that morning. There was nothing for it but to drive back to Boston. The man assured us that he would be working at the station all night, so we could get it any time.
At North Quincy, Hannah stayed with the car while Michael and I went in. There was no one there. We called the T headquarters and were informed that North Quincy does not have staff after 7:45pm. Oh dear.
As I was talking with headquarters, Michael suddenly shouted, "Look, Kez! I can see your phone!" And there it was, sitting on the desk less than 2 feet away from us, behind a locked window.
We waited for nearly an hour until an MBTA official came and opened the kiosk for me. At that point, it was too late to try to drive back to camp, so we decided to spend a second night at my house and return to camp in the morning. We even got to watch the last innings of the Sox game!
All in all, my 24 hour day off lasted 40 hours. And although given the circumstances, it could have been a very hectic and frustrating day, it was actually my favorite day off in 3 years at camp. I could not have asked for better companions and now, we are best buddies. The whole camp teases me about my extended day off, but it was more than worth it!