I am taking a class. Technically it isn't a class really, but it involves lectures and homework and all manner of things like that. Last weekend I was forced to go on a retreat for this class. The retreat prevented me from doing homework for all of Friday afternoon and Saturday night. I was pissed.
The place where we were staying for the retreat was about two hours away from the campus. I was forced to submit to a long drive through the rain, enduring the scenic views of Tennessee in spring and listening to the incessant banter of the two relatively attractive girls sitting next to me.
After about two hours of driving we arrived at the "cabins". They were set back from the main road in a steep valley with forested hills on each side. A stream flowed behind the cabins, and there was a cow pasture beside them. Despite the rustic surroundings the cabins themselves were large, clean and well supplied with such things as cable TV, internet and hot tubs. The happiness of the whole scene clashed with the stress in my head like Barney singing lead at a heavy metal concert.
We settled into the cabins, and I immediately obtained one of the omnipresent guitars that are always found on such trips. As I sat on the back porch of the cabin picking Beatles songs the stream continued to babble, the rain dripped off the roof, and as I played all the stress in my body began to collect in my lower back. I twisted, and my back responded with a series of very audible pops; releasing every ounce of tension that had collected over an entire semester of cramming. The hot tub beckoned, but unfortunately it was off limits until Saturday night.
Saturday came, and with it a long series of talks and training exercises. These mostly consisted of a hundred and twenty people running around in groups making odd noises and showing each other cards.
One exercise in particular was rather amusing. The group was split in half, with one half going to one cabin and the other going to another cabin. Each group was instructed in a "culture" that was to be its own. The groups then sent observers to the other culture, to see how much they could pick up from the other by interacting.
I was part of the "alpha" group. Our culture was a close, talkative, touchy-feely kind of culture. Very hispanic, except for the fact that females were considered the property of males.
In our culture it was considered rude to butt into a conversation without being invited, or to begin a conversation without first talking about one's male relatives. It was also considered rude to put distance between yourself and the person you were talking to: touch was demanded. If someone broke one of these rules we had a card that served as the middle finger. We would show this card to someone as a sign of displeasure. If they were an outsider they would be kicked out without being told what they had done.
When the observers came they tried to mingle with our culture. They immediately saw that everyone was chatting and being happy, so they tried to talk and be happy too. They crashed into conversations without being invited, and did not engage in talk about their male relatives. Of course they were shown the card. With a sense of naive jubilation they would hastily find their own card, and wave it about happily. The conversation translates thusly.
Observer: -smiling- Hi! "Mind if I butt in on your conversation and spit on your grandfather's grave?"
Native: -also smiling- "SCREW OFF!"
Observer: -still smiling- "Wait, let me see if I have the pronunciation right on this one; is it just "go away" or does it have to be "SCREW OFF!" with the full-throated volume and fist waving?"
Native: -patting observer on the back and smiling warmly- "How about if you leave us and never come back on penalty of death."
Observer: -looking like a giddy schoolgirl- I would be honored to stay! Thank you!
At this point the observer would be dragged out of the group and thrown down the stairs by one of two bouncers that circled through the crowd. They would then sit at the bottom of the stairs, dazed and confused but still blissfully ignorant, and wonder what the heck just happened.
After these very enjoyable activities the group dispersed to the hot tubs and pool tables for a night of wild and unregulated recreation. OK, perhaps it wasn't wild at all. In fact the group was quite boring in its choice of activities. Still, lazing around in hot tubs is never a bad thing. Did I mention that girls outnumbered guys by more than two to one?
One girl in particular was absolutely stunning. She was half Korean, with dark brown hair that fell like silk on her shoulders and skin like melted caramel. Her delicate curves and happy voice blared one message quite loudly: "you're a loser, and if you think you're getting anywhere near me you must be ignorant as well".
Ah well, c'est la vie! In any case I wasn't looking for a girl, short term or otherwise. I planned on leaving the country at the end of the semester and didn't want to be entangled in anything at home. At least thats what I told myself, especially when I realized that she wasn't stuck up or ditzy. Still, I am young, and forgive me but that girl was very -ahem- attractive and nice.
Later on that night I was watching television. Part of the group had gone out for ice cream, including the Korean girl. When they came back the movie was almost over, but they all sat down to watch the last twenty minutes. After the movie the Korean girl came up behind where I was sitting on the couch. "Do you want to play pool?" she asked.
Now, I am not the kind of person to intentionally put myself in the realm of the unattainable. In fact I had planned on avoiding her that evening for the most part. However, I enjoyed pool. At least that's what I told myself.
"I'm, like, really bad" she said as I set up the balls. She broke. Contrary to what she had said she was not "really bad". Rusty perhaps, but not "really bad". It was a fun game. I won, though I tried not to. The problem was that I get better when I'm not trying, so I kept on hitting shots I would usually miss. We played again.
Half way through the second game I picked up the chalk and put some on my cue, which I had already done several times. She came over and picked up the other piece of chalk. "I love this stuff, it looks so professional!" She said. She proceeded to rub the chalk on the tip of her cue.
Unconsciously she stuck her hip out, opened her mouth slightly and ran her tongue along her teeth as she looked at me. The entire movement was so incredibly sexy that my ears started ringing. "What's it for?" she asked. The half of my brain that was still functional responded. "It's so that the tip doesn't slip when it hits the cue ball" I said. Two questions were running through my mind. Did she know she had done that? Why did she do it?
Immediately the answers came into my brain clear and strong: "Yes", and "Because she knew it would distract me to no end and make me lose the game".
I lost the game.
One thing please: what happens on the blog stays on the blog. I don't think anyone that reads my blog knows this girl (otherwise I wouldn't have said anything). If you happen to know her, for heaven's sake and mine keep it to yourself!