The Twenty-Four Hour Relay is a big annual Memorial Day Weekend tradition at my school; this year marked the twentieth instance. According to some, it's supposed to be some kind of 'challenge' to be taken seriously, but my impression is more that it's supposed to be a big sober party to prove to highschoolers that sober parties are fun as well as safe. Sober parties are the only kind of parties in my world, of course, but that's not the point, and not the case with many of my classmates anyway. But anyway, yeah, on the Saturday going into Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, every year, about half the school assembles and pitches camp on the football field and keeps one person from each team of ten walking on the track while the other nine party. This was my first year doing it. It was fun.
Several weeks ago Regi just shanghaied me onto her team - grabbed me by the arm and said 'MacAvity, you wanna be on our twentyfourhour relay team? yes you do, excellent.' And that was that. The rest of us gave her a bit of grief about not telling me anything more than that, like that paperwork and money and costumes and so forth were involved, but all the necessary information did get to me eventually and everything was okay.
Our team was villain-themed and called the Super Pestilent And Really Killer Leaders of Evil Schemes. Leaena made it up. It acronyms out to SPARKLES. So yeah, we were an evil villains' convention named SPARKLES.
Each of us dressed up as a different villain: Catwoman (our team captain), a Dalek (Leaena, whose Dalek costume was brilliant and needs to be brought back for Hallowe'en when the Doctor Stalkers execute their evil plans of dressing me up in a badass coat and dweeby shoes and nerding around the town in a big DoctorStalkery trickortreating party of nerdage), the Wicked Witch of the West (Stevie; his nametag said 'Your Highness'), Macavity the Mystery Cat (me! just because of the name, which was on my nametag for two whole days and some people, especially Stevie, actually called me Macavity sometimes, which was utterly fantastic), Dr Drakken (Regi's Compickle), Dr Doofenschmirtz (whose costume consisted of a lab coat that he only wore for the first, oh, five minutes?), 'The Welding Dr. of Excellence' (at least, that's what Regi wrote on her nametag - her costume was my lab coat and welding goggles (they look eviller than science goggles) which she didn't wear much longer than Doofenschmirtz wore his, after which Bonnie took over the welding goggles and wore them quite a lot, and both Regi and Bonnie made the welding goggles look cuter than welding goggles have any right to be), the 'Grim Creeper' (Bonnie, who quickly shed her hooded cloak and tickling-feather-instead-of-a-scythe in favor of my welding goggles which were part of Regi's costume), Bellatrix Lestrange (Doofenschmirtz's girlfriend, whose costume was good but disappeared just as soon as the others' did), and some anime villain (whose nametag said 'Rei' but whose name was actually something else entirely, three or four syllables long, and starting with the letter 'A' - he actually wore his costume for pretty much the entire twenty-four hours, which is better than just about anybody else did).
Yay for ridiculously long sentences with ridiculous quantities of parenthese and lots of words that spellcheck doesn't acknowledge.
Anyway, yes, we were SPARKLES, we were villains, we were not very evil, we had a campsite with nice evil-lair-y cobwebs and guardian owls. One owl was named Archimedes, the other, Alonzo. Nobody ever said 'Allons-y!' to Alonzo, even though Leaena named him that for that specific purpose. And we had a really big tent and a couch and a bunch of chairs and a table full of snacks.
Our baton was a stick of dynamite. Leaena took a cylinder of wood and painted it red and put a string in one end and wrote 'TNT' on it in big black letters, and we were all ready for cartoonish supervillainy with dynamite. Some teams had conspicuous batons, some didn't. Team Camelot had a crown. The Cereal Killers had a spoon. One team had a plush penguin and another had a plush little-green-three-eyed-Toy-Story-alien. Et cetera. A lot of the walkers just didn't even bother with batons.
So, we walked, one, sometimes two at a time. Meanwhile in the middle of the football field things happened to keep the rest of us entertained. There was food. There was a bounce house. There were students' garage bands playing. There was that thing where two people get into giant bulky sumo-wrestler suits and sumo-wrestle. Doofenschmirtz sumo-wrestled against the Compickle. Catwoman sumo-wrestled against me. Regi refused to sumo-wrestle at all, even though the rest of us told her that it was pretty fun. It's wicked hard to move in those suits, though. Especially difficult is getting up once one has been knocked down. But it's still fun. Jude found me there, too, and challenged me to a sumo-wrestle, which he won.
Everyone got sunburned. The heat in the middle of the day was such that it became highly impractical to wear my badass long black coat (not sure whether the Doctor Stalkers will accept my black coat as sufficient for their evil schemes or whether they'll try to find me a brown one) and even my shirt (the red one that is actually considered a shirt - the white t-shirt that is really more of an undershirt stayed, of course), but my paper ginger-cat mask (made just that morning while everyone else was trickling into camp) stayed on except when it would have been extremely inconvenient, like during sumo wrestling.
In the early afternoon there was a water-balloon fight. Water-balloons and water-balloon fights are... not my favorite things. Too cold and wet. Regi's Compickle thought likewise. But we both swimsuited up anyway, and mostly remained in camp, guarding our tub of balloons. Jude, whose team lacked water balloons as well as a theme and costumes, came to steal some of ours, so we tried to drive him away, but for some reason our balloons never burst when they hit him, or they didn't hit him at all, which was frustrating. And then at the end of the battle he saw me still pretty much dry and decided that it would be appropriate to get me wet by smearing his wet body all over my dry one.
Me: Blaaah! I kept throwing water balloons at Jude, but they kept not hitting him! And then he got me all wet! And rubbed his big shirtless boy body all over mine!
Leaena: Is that a bad thing?
Me: ... ..... .... Yes! ...IfithadbeenanyonebutJudeitwouldhavebeenworse but yes! That is a bad thing!
Anyway, er... what happened then? The rest of the day happened, day turned into night, everyone walked around the track a bit, Alonzo the owl started wearing my Macavity mask for whatever reason, blah blah blah blaaah.... Dinner! ...was not very interesting.... Regi's invisible pants! Yes! Those were interesting! See, Regi was wearing very short shorts, which would have been fine, perfectly normal teenage-girl-wear, if her upper garment had been a tank top or something, but no, she was wearing her boyfriend (the Compickle)'s shirt, which was so long as to make her shorts completely disappear, leaving just a whole lot of bare leg sticking out from beneath a big baggy shirt.
Regi: Do I look like I'm not wearing any pants?
Several People: You're not wearing any pants...!
Regi: Yes I am! Look! These are pants!
Us: Mmmm...no. Not pants.
Regi: You guys! I am so! wearing pants!
Me: Eh... You know what, it's like 'The Emperor's New Clothes!' You think you're wearing pants, but the rest of us can't see them!
Regi: Oh. Mygosh. You guys. I. Am. Wearing. Pants! Seeeee? Pants!!!!
Us: ...Nope. No pants.
And so on for quite a long time. Every opportunity.
'It (whatever 'it' is)'s invisible!' 'Like Regi's pants!'
'Oh, Regi, that's you - I though you were the Compickle for a moment, because of the hat and the shirt...' 'The Compickle wears pants!'
And so on. Not funny quips in themselves; the entertaining thing was seeing Regi get all mad. And then Rei started freezing whenever Regi looked at him, and then sneaking up behind her and making claw-hands and a big snarly-face and freezing so that when she looked behind her there he was all scary-statue-like and Regi is deadly scared of statues like that (This is a Doctor Stalker thing) so she got even more annoyed because Rei managed to frighten her a little. So then Catwoman started freezing when Regi looked at her, and keeping her hands over her eyes, and eventually they got me to do it too, and Regi got even more annoyed. But eventually we harassed her enough about her nonexistent pants that she went to the tent and put on some actual pants, and when she opened the door of the tent, there was Rei, all frozen and snarly-faced and claw-handed, and Regi freaked out most amusingly.
And... eventually it got to be nighttime... blah blah blah blah....
At some point Stevie climbed a tree with me and we sat way up invisible in the tree and made owl noises to the people below (except that the people only responded when we made crownoises) until the principal himself came along and asked us nicely to come down.
...Blah blah blah blah, nighttime progresses... The air started to become very wet. Also cold. The wet air gradually turned into light rain. My paper mask, left on the face of Alonzo the owl for safekeeping, grew mushy and fell apart the next time it tried to stay on my face. The rain alone would not have been a problem because my badass long black coat happens to be at least reasonably waterproof, but the weather was also cold and my coat is not very warm. My evil plan therefore was to let Jude find me and have him let me steal his body heat. Very evil. It sort of worked. He found me (easy to find someone so eager to be found but not bold enough to take the active role and be the one doing the finding), but we just sort of talked and didn't do any good warm snuggling. Even though he certainly wouldn't have objected. Boo on me for not being able to initiate physical contact or indeed any sort of interaction at all.
But eventually we went into the gym and watched a hypnosis show, which was very impressive... blah blah blah blah...
And after that we sat on somebody else's cold wet couch in the middle of the field and watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off (can anyone explain to me the appeal of that movie? Is it better at times that aren't three o'clock in the morning?) and still no more contact than my head on his shoulder and my hand on his arm, which is not warming, and my coat did sort of let some water through, and the air was still very cold. Well, not very cold, but cold by California-in-May standards, and cold for someone with no real insulative layers. So when the movie was over and Jude had disappeared off to who-knows-where-but-not-keeping-me-warm-at-all, the cold (and the fact that I was undeniably sleepy) forced me to retreat to the tent, where a good two-thirds of the team was already asleep, and Regi and her Compickle were all spoony-like, which made me a little jealous because spooning (not sure with whom, though) appeals to me at the best of times, but seemed particularly desirable then because it must have been wonderfully warm. But no spooning for me, just warming up my old purple sleeping bag all by myself and trying to lie there and stay awake for forty-five minutes, by which time the sun would have come up and my twenty-four hours of waking (though not yet twenty-four hours of relaying) would be over... but no. Of course, the warmth and the horizontal position and the twenty-three-and-a-quarter-hours of not sleeping dragged me down no matter how hard my eyes tried to stay open and fixed on the thing just in front of them, which happened to be Leaena's golden cardboard Dalek skirt. Five-thirty in the morning.
And the next moment (in my perception - not far off from the truth) it was broad daylight and Stevie was shaking the tent and telling everyone to 'Rise and Shine!' An hour of sleep, maybe two? Alas, not even. Six o'clock. Blaaaaaast....
Three more hours of walking in the cold, waiting for char-tasting pancakes, walking with one eye half open and the other completely shut, giving a delirious high-five to Alonzo at every lap, packing up the camp, searching for missing items (never did find my two black pens), having people sign my yearbook, et cetera et cetera, all while thoroughly delirious. Sober party indeed; not sleeping is probably almost as bad as whatever the alternative to sober party may be. But the baton did make it fifty miles around the track by the end.
Eventually, closing ceremonies. Closing ceremonies involve everybody doing the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey. Most of our team was too embarrassed to chicken-dance or hokey-pokey. We made fun of them later. Catwoman was proud of me and Bonnie for being brave enough to dance stupid dances. Especially of me, who danced largely, and with a badass long black coat to boot, while Bonnie put her right foot in and put her right foot out about three centimeters and didn't shake it all about perceptibly at all. Ah well. Better than the other seven, who just left.
And that was it. We said our good-byes, et cetera, and went our separate ways home, where each of us presumably slept the rest of the day.
Yup. Fun weekend.
Closed the italics...
Buck-buck! How did that escape mention? Buck-buck is some really random manly game that's one of those excuses manly blokes use to tangle their bodies in a manly fashion. You know, like football and wrestling. And in the bright and hot and sunny hours of Saturday, there was a big buck-buck... event - can't really call it a game as there was no winner - and just about everyone who wasn't playing gathered 'round to watch. There were two teams, of maybe a dozen or a score of blokes each, and what they do is one team lines up back to front and each guy puts his arms around the waist of the guy in front of him and they form as strong a structure as they can, and then the second team sends guys one at a time to jump and fly over the backs of the first team and land on top of the first team and hold on and not fall off, and as soon as anyone from the second team touches the ground, the teams switch places. Most of the audience thought it was amusingly dumb... which it totally was. And yet something about it appealed to me as most daft manly activities most definitely do not.
Me: I'm oddly tempted to join in....
Regi: Go for it!
Me: Really? ....Okay....
So that's just what happened. Jude pulled me onto his team, and we didn't get too much action but it was still fun. We were toward the front of the line, where the skinnier or weaker guys belong, when it was our team's turn to be on the ground, so that nobody ever jumped on top of us. We each only got to jump once when it was our team's turn to jump, and that was about all the buck-buck action either of us experienced. The one time we did jump, the guy who landed on top of me fell off a few seconds later, and the game was declared over before we got to do it again.
So, yeah, buck-buck. Daft, but oddly enjoyable.
And... nobody cares about seeing a photograph of Leaena the Amazing Dancing Dalek.... and... that's about all the editing that needs to happen, then.
Oh, no, wait! The setting, family dinner on Sunday evening:
Mom: Mom, isn't it cool that [MacAvity]'s initials are only one letter off from yours?
Oma (being generally confused more than not understanding the idea): What?
Mom: If [MacAvity] had one more middle name, her initials would be the same as yours! You're [&M@] and she's [&@]. She just needs another middle name that starts with an M!
Me (pointing to nametag, still on despite Relay being long since over): Macavity!
Mom: Yeah, &----- Macavity @-----! Now you two have the same initials!
Oma: Well isn't that scaaaary... Are you scared now &----- Macavity @-----?
Yay joy glee delight family calling me MacAvity.
Oma's home now, by the way - her home. We took her back yesterday, at her long insistence. Yesterday was her eighty-fourth birthday. She was glad to be back; she's incredibly attached to her impractical two-story house. We put a baby-gate over the stairs so she can't go up, but according to my Tante Carolyn, she tried to rip the gate down today even though it bore a big sign saying 'YOU PROMISED!' Promised that she would obey the condition of staying downstairs. And we're having people come in twice a day to take care of Oma. The first day has gone pretty well - apparently she actually liked the evening caregiver, and she almost never likes anybody new. Wonder if she called her 'Olga' like she called the people we had here. Anyway, the prospect looks pretty good as far as Oma goes. And it's definitely a relief not to have her here anymore, terrible as that is. We have our lives back.
Okay, that's really all. Wonder if anybody will actually read this; it's pretty far down on the list of recent things by now.