BY SARA PALMER
Inspired by the suggestion of “ocean.”
As mentioned in my previous story, I was part of a giant slumber party that took place due to an extreme weather situation. During this slumber party, I met a group of people who I would be taking my next spring break trip with. This is the story of that trip.
We were somewhere in New Mexico on our way to Tucson. It was our second day of driving. I could say at least the scenery was getting better from that of Nebraska and the darkness, which was most of Colorado.
We were excitedly listening to one of several Phish CDs that had played throughout the trip. This was the jam band period of my life; my musical intake consisted of a mixture of Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic. Pretty much any car I hopped into or dorm room I entered was guaranteed to have one of these bands playing at any given time. And, yes, my roommate did make her own clothing consisting of a lot of corduroy and colorful patch work. It was beautiful and certainly created a comfortable reason for Birkenstocks to exist.
Our friend Kyle had moved to Tucson from Nebraska the year before. We had planned this trip around seeing him. His proximity to Mexico added a certain allure. The idea was to scoop him up in Tucson and head to Rocky Point, Mexico. The ultimate lap of luxury for a handful of broke, nutritionally deprived, college twenty-somethings.
Once in Mexico, we had our first four nights planned out as far as hotels went, with the fifth night heading back to Kyle’s house where we’d stay for a day before making the two-day trek back to gorgeous Nebraska and the opulence that was our little white house on the corner near campus a house free of a necessary air conditioning unit that during peak humidity created a sort of spa-like appeal. Yes, of course, we considered ourselves lucky to have snatched up such an ideal arrangement.
Not surprisingly, considering our age and moral maturity, our schedule did not go as planned and due to an excited afternoon of drinking on our fourth day the day we were to head back to Tucson we realized there would be no driving and we’d need to find a hotel. After a mediocre try at finding a hotel, we came to the conclusion as a mildly intoxicated group that we could totally just sleep on the beach that night. In fact, how cool would that be? Falling asleep to the ocean, maybe even starting a bonfire with the imaginary wood we did not have. I think you can see why this sounded like a perfect plan and so it went. The day passed along, we continued to drink, play sand volleyball and explore our little area until the sun went down and it was time to find our perfect little spot on the beach.
We laid down some blankets and each grabbed a sweatshirt from the cars. It had been a hot day and after being in the sun all day, most of us, especially our fair-skinned friend, Kyle were pretty burnt. I remember thinking how great a pillow my blue pullover hoodie was going to be. As the night grew on, none of us anticipated how cool or should I say freezing cold it was going to get. I know that we had all taken science as a prerequisite, but for some reason, Newton’s Laws of heating and cooling had managed to escape us all. I blame the excitement of spring break and slushy, fruity, pink and yellow drinks. Also, the little lady that owned the small restaurant with the sand volleyball court and the all day two-for-one drink special. How she turned a profit, I’ll never know.
At any rate, the night grew extremely cold and the eight of us who were once stretched out along three blankets were now packed together like sardines on one blanket with a very passive aggressive game of tug-of-war between the two remaining blankets going strong most of the night.
Eventually, we all grew tired from shivering and passed out. I’d like to say that the warm sun gently woke us, but it was mostly its sheer brightness. We woke slowly, peeling ourselves from each other’s backsides after some intense spooning, when suddenly Kyle expressed some confusion as to where his shoes had gone. Gradually, we all started to notice that our shoes had disappeared. How could this be? I hadn’t even taken mine off. My Midwestern naivety stepped forward as I thought: what kind of animal would take off with our shoes? Where mid-thought someone else in the group stated a more realistic scenario that they were probably being sold somewhere down the beach. My mind quickly agreed that theft was more likely possibility here. Tired from lack of sleep and the long day prior, we gave less than a college try at finding our shoes on the beach before calling it a loss and heading back to the cars.
Within a few of hours we arrived back at Kyle’s house in Tucson. Tired, dirty and each down a pair of shoes, we crowded into his living room and reminisced about the last few days. There was a silence that fell over the room as everyone mentally traveled someplace elsewhere. Suddenly Matt spoke: “Man, those where my favorite shoes!” We all laughed and talked into the night agreeing that we’d have to just chalk it up as a story we might tell down the road sometime.
Sara Palmer is a an improviser-writer-storyteller based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Share your ideas for her next blog in the comments below.