Keepin' It Real Since 1977

Mostly true stories from then & now

Livin’ the Dream in Cabin 12B July 17, 2012

The awesome girls of cabin 12B.

This past week I took part in my annual tradition of counseling at our Church’s week-long Sr. High Camp. I spent the week exploring my faith and relationship with God, strengthening old friendships, and making new friends. I know I probably shouldn’t play favorites, but there was one person who stood out from the crowd this week.  I never caught her name, but she was a sassy old black woman who only made an appearance at night while one of my campers talked in her sleep. For the sake of this post, I will refer to said sassy, old, black woman as La-a (pronounced ‘LaDasha’ because the “-” don’t be silent.)

I’ve known people to do crazy things in their sleep, but I’ve never experienced anything like this.

Sunday Night:

Campers arrived, we all got settled in and by the time “lights out” came, we tossed and turned and didn’t sleep, so much as rest, which is typical first night of camp stuff.

Monday Night:

By now we actually felt tired and sleep came a lot easier. I remember lying there when a noise jolted me awake. I was pretty sure one of my girls had just said very loudly, “Yah!  I’ll fight you!” At the time I didn’t think much of it but I brought it up at breakfast the next morning.

Me: “I’m pretty sure one of you girls were talking in your sleep. Tori, it sounded like it was coming from you.  You yelled, “Yah!  I’ll fight you.”

Tori didn’t think she had said anything in her sleep and was pretty sure it was someone else, but Cathy, whose bunk was right next to Tori’s bed added, “Yah, I heard that. She also yelled, ‘Come at me, bro’.”  At this point I was intrigued.

Tuesday Night:

We slept outside under the stars. The seven of us, along with my friend Shannon, all huddled our sleeping bags together on a tarp. I slept next to Tori.  It was time to go to bed, but we were telling stories and chatting it up, when she fell asleep. Over the next two hours she would randomly blurt things out. After about 10 minutes, I sent one of my girls back to the cabin to get her notebook, a pen and flashlight. Here are some of the things we heard:

“My head’s bangin’ to what’s bangin’! Turn the music up, I gotta fist pump!” (followed by actually fist pumping in her sleep)

“It’s Michael Jackson time!  Don’t touch me Michael! Get away!  You got a twitch!”

“Fire! Fire! Run, Nanna, Run!  I told you to run, old lady!”

“Get your cow out of here!”

“You ugly!  You so ugly, you a frog face!”

“You need to clip those nails. Don’t you dare touch me, bro! … Okay. French tips, with just a little sparkle.”

“Don’t you dare fart in my frigidaire!”

“No, Bigfoot!  Get away from me!  Your feet are too big!  You gonna crush me!  Bigfoot, you makin’ me hungry with that carrot. You want some salad with that dressing?  Bigfoot, these carrots are good- need more ranch though.  No, Bigfoot!  Don’t kiss me, that’s gross. (followed by little kissy noises) No Bigfoot!  No tongue!”

At this point I woke her up before her dream got PG-13. We talked about what she had said, and she remembered having a nightmare about a fire, but before the conversation could go further, she had passed out again.

Also by this point, I had been scolded several times by the camp directors for having such a noisy group of girls. I told them to park their golf cart and sit by my tarp for 2 minutes:

Tori: “Jerk!  You ugly, bro!  You a frog face!  Bugs!  Bugs!  Itchy!  Scratchy!”…

The golf cart drove away.  It didn’t come back. We continued to write down everything Tori said. We stopped after 5 pages.

Wednesday Night:

Things progressively got worse. On Tuesday, most of the sleep talking was intermittent with a burst of chatter occurring every 4-5 minutes or so. By Wednesday, the chatter became nonstop. If there was a pause in the dialogue, it was filled with wild goat-like laughter and the reputation of the phrases, “You scared! You scared, bro!” or “He dead! He dead, bro! He so dead he farts dust!”

Wednesday night’s sleep talking mostly took place in a night club/ karaoke bar? I say this because there was a lot of dancing and singing involved. Also, La-a does not like it when she’s singing and people try to “fart in her microphone.”

Tori: “I gots to sing, bro! Don’t you fart in my microphone! I gots to sing. I’m a black woman and I gots to sing my soul!  Praise Jesus!”

La-a also had strong feelings about how dumb Britney Spears was, with her shaved head, and felt it was an urgent matter that Beyonce get a booty reduction.

After about 45 minutes of non-stop sleep taking, I woke Tori up and would not let her head touch her pillow until all of us were situated and I had some music playing. This seemed to work. Once the music was going, I didn’t hear a peep out of her.

Thursday Night:

During rest time, Thursday afternoon, I showed Tori some video I had taken of her sleep talking. She too was confused as to why she turned into a sassy, old black woman in her sleep. We tried to get her to do the voice from her sleep talking and she couldn’t do it.

Here is a short clip of what happened Thursday night. I say short because she probably went on for a good 40 minutes.

Friday Night:

Oh, boy! What can I say about Friday’s chatter? For a good part of her rambling, La-a is hosting her own television talk show. Let me preface by saying 1.) My nickname at camp is Bubby- and yes, I make a cameo in her dream.  2.) Tori refers to her bed as her “island” since it is the extra one we had to wedge on the floor.  3.) Previously, Tori had been sleep talking about her runaway pumpkin that was going to smash a cat as it rolled down the hill. 4.) One of Tori’s classes she took this week was “Relationships.” In this class campers talked about anything they wanted that had to do with various types of relationships. I found out later that one camper had mentioned the word “sex” once that day in class and there wasn’t even really a discussion about it. If there had been a discussion, perhaps it would have gone something like this:


A Bicycle Built for 2… people with really long legs August 17, 2011

Filed under: College Years — Melissa Lewis @ 5:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Last week I bought a bike.  The last bike I owned had a banana seat, streamers, and to get it to stop, you peddled backwards. Needless to say, it’s been a while. I’ve ridden bikes since then, but not very often. I’ve been 5’2 since 6th grade (which also happens to be around the time I stopped riding my bike) and my short legs can often make bike riding awkward. Take stopping for instance. When you have short legs, it’s almost impossible to remain on the seat when you are completely stopped. Not only do you look awkward because your bike is tilted at a 25degree angle so you can touch the ground, but getting the momentum to start up again is almost impossible.

When I was in college, I managed to take the awkward bike riding factor to a whole new level.  A friend of mine who had gonehome over the weekend, had returned with a tandem bike she had found in her parents’ basement. To say this bike was a little old, would be a generous compliment. It looked a little bit like 2 Pee-wee Herman bikes stuck together (with a lot less fancy, and a lot more rust). This tandem, much like my childhood bike, had been neglected for quite some time.

One afternoon, my friend Sarah and I had some time to spare, so we decided to give the ‘ol tandem a try. Aside from the rust the bike looked pretty sound.  The pedals worked, the breaks worked, the chain was pretty solid… the only flaw had to do with the seats. The lever to raise and lower the seats seemed to be rusted stuck. For my long-legged friend Sarah, this wasn’t a real concern, but for me, this posed a slight problem.

Me: “I’m not sure how we’re going to do this.  If I sit in the back, I’ll be useless. I can’t reach the pedals or steer and you’ll just be dragging me around.  If I sit in the front, I’ll be able to at least steer, and I can pedal if I stand up…”

Sarah: “We got this. I’ll push off really hard, and you start peddling and keep us going in the right direction.”

It sounded simple enough.  Our goal was to just go straight and ride the bike from our dorm to the other one that was 200 feet down the sidewalk.

Sarah: “Okay, get ready.  One… two… three…”

At this point a few things happened simultaneously.

1. We did not have enough momentum to go more an a couple of inches.

2. When you have no momentum, you cannot balance your weight enough to stand up to pedal.

3. When these first 2 things happen, you start to laugh which causes your arms to go weak, which forces you to lose any control you might have had to steer.

I jerked the bike to a hard left, causing us both to instantly tip over.

Sarah: “What was that?  Clearly we need a new strategy.”

Me:  “You were making ma laugh, and I couldn’t steer. Plus, it’s really hard to stand up and pedal with this bar here.”

Sarah: “How about, you sit on the seat and keep us pointed forward, and I’ll push off and start pedaling really hard. Once we get going to can pedal too.”

I liked this plan. Sit and hold the bars steady.  I could do that.

Sarah: “Okay. One… two… three…

I gripped the handle bars with two steady arms and we started to move forward. I heard and a couple of grunting noises from Sarah, and again, after rolling another couple of inches, we stared to tip over.

Me:  “What was that?  You were doing great.  Why’d you stop?”

Sarah: “I couldn’t help it.  It’s really hard to pedal for both of us, and you look so ridiculous with your legs sticking straight out.”

Me: “Come on Sarah.  We got this.”

We did not.  After a few more failed attempts we had covered about 3 feet, and it was time to restrategize.

This might be a good time to mention that the 3 feet we had covered, wasn’t exactly on our initial trajectory. Instead of going straight 3 feet towards our goal, we had gone diagonally… towards a light pole firmly planted at the intersection of our sidewalk and another sidewalk that veered down a rather steep hill. At the base of the light pole was a giant mud puddle.

Sarah: “Okay. This time as soon as we get going, like right away- as soon as we start moving, you have to start pedaling. It’s the only way this is going to work.”

Me: “Right. But let’s straighten out first. We’re headed towards that puddle and I don’t want to crash.”

Sarah: “Oh. Good thinking.”

We lined the bike back up with the sidewalk, I assumed my position: sitting on the front seat with my arms firmly planted and my legs sticking out so I could quickly get in on this pedaling action. Sarah assumed her position: sitting on the back seat, one foot balancing on the ground, the other poised to set us both cruising…

Sarah: “For real this time.  Whatever happens just keep pedaling.  I know we can do this.”

Me:  “Got it.  Don’t stop no matter what.”

Sarah: “One… Two… Three…”

And just like that we were off. The bike was moving forward, my arms were a bit shaky, but we were moving… yes. We were moving… time to start pedaling…

I slid off the seat found a pedal with my foot and started to…  Something was wrong.  We were losing momentum fast.

Sarah: “Pedal!  Do it!  Help me! Help me! You’ve got to Pedal!”

I pulled on the handle bars with all my might trying to maximize my body weight against the pedal. I pedaled once, twice… my arms could not hold our course. Again we were slowly drifting towards the light pole.


I couldn’t do it.  I could not steer and pedal at the same time. The bike continued to veer towards the light pole and we started to tip.  We were going down. We were going to tip, and I was going to land right in the middle of that giant puddle. Not used to handle bar breaks, I tried to pedal backwards but nothing happened.

Me: “Stop! Stop! I can’t stop!”

Sarah: “What are you doing?  Pedal!”

We were driving sideways towards the puddle and I couldn’t stop, so I simply decided to abandon ship.  I let go of the handle bars completely and leapt off of the bike onto the sidewalk.  Sarah, who was not privy to my exit strategy, instantly went down with the bike.  The front wheel lay in the puddle, while she lay on the Sidewalk with one leg pinned by the bike.

Sarah:  “What was that?”

Me:  “Oh my God. Are you okay?  We were going to crash.”

We both started laughing so hard I figured she was alright.

Sarah: “I can’t stop it!”

Me: “I know right. Bikes are hard.”

Sarah: “Stop! Stop! I can’t stop it!”

Me: “I couldn’t! I didn’t know how to stop it so I just jumped off.”

By now I am doubled over on the sidewalk, Sarah is still pinned by the bike and we are both in tears.

Sarah: “You’ve got to help me! Help me! I can’t stop it!”

This makes me laugh even harder, thinking about what we must have looked like, and I’m finding it hard to breathe.

Sarah: “No I mean NOW!  I CAN’T STOP IT!”

This is when I notice that the front tire puddle is now spreading on the sidewalk. For a second I am confused, then I realize this puddle is not from the mud at all.  This puddle is from Sarah who is no longer hysterically laughing.

Sarah: “Oh my God!  Get this bike off of me!  I couldn’t stop it.”

Sarah, had been laughing so hard so peed her pants… and the bike… and the sidewalk.

Sarah: “Get it off me. With the bike between my legs I couldn’t hold it in.”

Now I’m REALLY losing it as I quickly free her from the bike.

Sarah: (pulling her shirt down trying to conceal the giant dark pee spot on her jeans- pee literally dripping from her pant leg onto her flip flop) “It isn’t funny!”

Me:  It is soooo funny.

At this point, students are returning from class, while others are heading out to theirs. As they start to file past us, their conversations stop, and jaws begin to drop. Sarah, with who is now pulling the front- and back- of her shirt down to her knees runs inside yelling, “It’s not what it looks like!” The fact that while she runs inside, her foot is making that horrible wet-flip-flop-squeeky-noise does not help the situation.

I have a horrible case of the giggles, as I steer the bike around Sarah’s puddle, back to the bike rack. I guide the front wheel into its place, and as I absentmindedly lift the back seat to align the bike, I find my hand now coated in Sarah’s pee.

Me:  “Ah man.”  Sarah was right. This isn’t funny!