by Rachelle Allen
Any aspiring writer worth her salt has journal upon journal of assessments and musings about the people and situations who grace her life on a daily basis. Each of mine is dated, but I'll be posting them randomly rather than in their chronological order.
October 24, 2016
One of the stand-out scenes from the movie Annie Hall was when the main character is asked, during a one-on-one counseling session, how often she and her husband have sex.
"CONSTANTLY!" she sort-of laments. "Three times a week!" When her husband, during his own individual counseling session, is asked the same question, he laments, "Hardly EVER! Three times a week!"
Life is all about perceptions.
It’s why a policeman, fresh on a scene, says to witnesses, "Tell me what you saw," rather than, "What happened?" The premise for the movie Vantage Point was about how differently one incident was seen by five people who watched it unfold from different locations in an enormous space.
All these examples came to mind this past week when a fifteen-year-old piano student of mine gave me the play-by-play of her Family Camping Weekend birthday present in a gorge-and-waterfall-infused town about three hours away. Two days earlier, her mom, a dear friend of mine, had told me, over coffee, about the trip, too. But had I not known it was the same excursion, never in a million years would I have guessed it as such.
The Fifteen-Year-Old’s Version
"It was a reeeeally nice day out, and I was so looking forward to going because we’d gone camping once this summer, and I loved it!
It was sooooo beautiful there–all these trails and beautiful hills and valleys and so much color with all the leaves changing! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Plus everything smelled so fresh and pine-y! The cabin we stayed in was soo cool–there was even electricity and a refrigerator...though it was pretty cold, so we could’ve probably put any stuff outside that needed to go in there.
There was a trail behind our cabin that someone told us would lead up to a beautiful waterfall, and even though it was only, like, two or three miles long, my parents didn’t want to do that. So I never got to see any waterfalls, really. But that’s okay.
We had a campfire, and it was so fun to be outside and see how it filled up the whole area with this orange-y glow and everything smelled so smokey and woodsy and good! I think it was all that fresh air that made it so easy for me to fall asleep. I can’t remember when I slept THAT well! It was all so perfect.
The Mom’s Version
Omigawd!. It’s six days later, and I’m still trying to get the smell of smoke out of our clothes and sheets and blankets. I’ve done ten loads of laundry since Sunday, and I’m still not anywhere near done.
My husband spent a good two-and-a-half hours packing everything into the car, and then once we finally arrived at the cabin–three hours later–it was the girls’ and my turn to unload it all.
The view was pretty, I guess. Definitely colorful. But you could only see a waterfall if you were willing to walk three miles one way up a steep, narrow trail.
We ate dinner outside, which was alright if you like that kind of thing, but it would've been a lot nicer if it hadn’t been thirty degrees out.
Right before bedtime, our thirteen-year-old saw a spider near her bed, so I spent the next hour shaking out all her linens to find it–with no success. So she ended up crying herself to sleep, and that took at least another hour if not more.
Her falling asleep pretty much coincided with an escalating drunken argument a couple campsites over, so my husband and I took turns making sure it didn’t spill over into our vicinity. Besides, it was so cold, there was no way I could sleep.
The only ones who did were the Birthday Girl and her seven-year-old sister–with peaceful smiles on their faces, no less.
In the morning, it was still unbelievably cold, my husband and I were exhausted, and after re-loading the car for an hour, we had to make the three-hour trek back home and then haul everything back into the house.
I love my girl, of course, but we will NOT be camping again in the foreseeable future.