Swimming reluctantly up to consciousness, it took several moments for my brain to register the stomping outside my door as the reason why Mr. Sandman’s spell broke. Burrowing into the warm covers, I hoped a speck of his sand remained to help.…
….When the shouting started just outside my window I gave up all pretense of sleep, unrolling myself I headed to the shower, trying to drown out the voices of the unhappy campers.
When I emerged fresh as a daisy from my shower (though much less perky), I deduced the Party of Much Yelling would no be heading out anytime soon. The continued cacophony showed no sign of abating, Sue’s flashlight died; it wasn’t Rudy’s fault that the extension bar of his pack was missing; Paul couldn’t find his first aid kit; Why couldn’t they take a boat there and skip the hike.
I decided if this many individuals were up at the crack of dawn coffee must be present somewhere. Where else could they be getting enough energy to shout this much? Descending the stairs in search of this magical bean based elixir, barely controlled chaos met my eyes when my toes touched the lobby.
Some sort of school outing was the only explanation I could think of as to why there were so many teenagers milling about at such an hour. And from my count, the adults did not enjoy majority status in the Party of Much Yelling. On the upside, their frenetic faces lent credence to my coffee theory, the artificial stimulation it provided was their only hope of winning the day.
Following my barely firing logic circuits, I searched. The dining room? Nope. The lobby? No dice. But I did notice a trend, a steady stream of parental types sipping steaming cups while walking thru the front entrance. Deducing my precious first cup lay just outside the doors I brushed past the other adults into the crisp morning air. Where I beheld the most beautiful sight, an island of sixteen airpots, featuring eight different kinds of brewed coffee.
A sullen teen tried to cut in front of me, but the judicious use of the stink eye (I might smell like a rose, but my attitude currently featured their thorns) sent him scurrying to the end of the line.
Cup in hand, the aroma helped me focus on the world beyond the shouty people. And the first thing I spied? Wood sitting alone at the end of the porch wholly engrossed in his phone.
Weaving my way past yet more teens, I managed to catch a glimpse of the screen a moment before he noticed me.
Me (mock sternness): “Laney will kill you if she gets a hold of your phone.”
Wood (pleading): “It’s the Manchester Derby, and she isn’t awake yet.”
Me (laughing): “Lucky for you.”
Wood: “It’s the eightieth minute…”
Me: “Watch your football. I have coffee to drink.”
So we sat together enjoying our harmless vices. I thought herding kittens posed a monumental chore, watching ten adults trying to wrangle thirty adolescents? They wished for some as simple as kittens! Then it hit me. The kids weren’t kittens. They were squirrels! The adults were attempting to corral squirrels. The Squirrels sheer exuberance meant they could not stay silent or still long enough for the chaperones to get a handle on the situation. Without any stake in the dramedy and a cup of coffee in hand – the scene provided high entertainment.
Wood’s ‘whoop’ of victory pulled me back (his cheer didn’t even dent the din around us).
Me: “City win?”
Wood: “Of course.”
Me: “Laney will skin you if she figures out you’re watching matches up here. How are you, by the way?”
Wood (slipping the phone into his pocket): “The office bought satellite phones, so they could get a hold of us if something urgent crops up with a patient while on vacation. I reimburse them back for the data I use. Kids wake you up?”
Me (sipping my coffee): “Yeah. My window faces this way and stealthy they are not. But neither were we at their age.”
While we reminisced about days gone by the Party of Much Yelling’s shouting reached a crescendo. When the Adults of the Party of Much Yelling were satisfied they’d collected all their Squirrels, the entire party put forth one last effort to wake the whole hotel at this unholy hour, before filing onto the path and out of sight. A stunned silence descended in their wake. Even the birds took a moment to savor it before a tentative chirp tested the morning air. The only artificial noise left? The soft gurgling of the coffee pot under my fingertips, The Party of Much Yelling emptied them all, well not entirely – the decaf remained untouched.
Wood and I wandered back inside looking for a refill, spying a pot behind the front desk we went to beg for a refill. Fortunately for us, Sam was more than willing to oblige.
Sam: “So what’s on the agenda for you guys today?”
Me (adding milk to my coffee): “I thought I might rent a boat and hike Pumpkin Mountain again. Meditation is easier without dogs…”
Sam (tensing up while shaking his head): “We aren’t renting any boats today. We don’t want you to meet The Pink Lady.”