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Saturday, September 2, 2017

One Smart Fellow, He Felt Smart.

The line in the title of this post is the beginning of a tongue twister the PE instructors taught our classes on school camp last week at Lake Moggelydoogelly. I was there for two nights and three days with my buddy teacher and the two school principals.

There were expert instructors who ran our activities over the three days and two nights and they, in their youthful exuberance, heightened my self-awareness, that I have indeed developed into an elderly, decrepit and whinging old crone.

“What fresh hell is this?” I’d mutter to myself, grimacing in deep suspicion at the commencement of every new physical challenge.

There was the three and half hour hike over a rocky hill and up to the top of a lofty, snake infested gorge.

 There was the three hour canoeing expedition where (with aching arms) I steered two frightened little boys clad in life jackets on an inexorable journey across an icy and sinister lake. 

There was the two hour mountain biking activity where I may have shouted an expletive within range of several children’s earshot as I death-defyingly plummeted down a jagged slope towards a broad eucalyptus trunk, legs flailing and grasping desperately for the elusive brake.

After each daring trial, my principal would spot me limping piteously up the path and ask chirpily, “Did you have a good time, Pinky?” To which I would stare at him through bloodshot eyes and reply tersely, “No. Not really. Not at all actually, but thanks for asking.”

I sat beside him tugging off my runner one morning, “I think there’s something biting my toe,” I complained bitterly. “But don’t worry about it, it’s probably just a red-back spider.”
I turned out to be just some sock cotton wound tightly around my toe.

Then there was the whole ‘feeding the children thing’ three times a day.

One little student refused to eat anything except bread and cake for three days. “Oh well,” commented my buddy. “He will probably have trouble going to the toilet after this. Not that any of us here will be going to the toilet while we’re here, of course.” She added pointedly.

I turned to stare at her with a renewed sense of admiration.

She too, was a ‘never poo away from home’ girl.

All my colleagues back in Townsville teased me no end because I could never stay on girl’s weekends for more than one night and here I was finally buddied up with a like-minded poo girl. Unless, of course, she was merely attempting to warn me off pooping in our shared toilet for the duration of the camp.

I think the worst thing was that I was sick. I had a relapse of the flu I’d had a couple of weeks ago and woke up every morning with a deep, rattling cough and a drag queen voice.

Not that there was much sleep to be had what with homesick children, children with weak, but urgent bladders and squabbling, rambunctious possums and eerie, werewolf-like howls emanating from the surrounding bushland.

I tried to pretend I was on that show, Survivor and at night I would pretend I was in rehab.

It would have been so much more manageable with a cheeky red wine around the bonfire every night.

But it’s all part of being a teacher. The kids loved every second of the camp and even though every muscle in my body is screaming and after the bike riding I’m walking like a King’s Cross hooker, I managed to get through it.

Two smart fellows, they felt smart.

Three smart fellows, they all felt smart.

And they all smelt fart together.

Damn, I’ll never get it right.