Friday, September 12, 2008

Some Heart Stopping Terror With Your Moonlight Swim?

As firmly as I believe that the universe should always work in accordance with what is convenient and/or pleasant for me, alas, such is not the case.

I promised an entry Wednesday which would detail my recent accomplishment. And I had every intention of following through on that promise. I wrote the self-congratulatory entry and everything. All was set to go.

Then I found out that my brilliant achievement (I should probably quit talking it up as though I cured cancer) would be delayed for a week.

This is unfortunate, but at least it’s still happening.

As nothing else in my life is currently blog-worthy, I look to an anecdote from my recent road trip with BP, a very nice guy who apparently gets his jollies from scaring me half out of my wits.

We were driving from Massachusetts to Vermont, on our way to a campsite we were hoping to reach before dark and thus avoid putting up the tent by headlight as we did the first time. (Never do that.) It was mid-afternoon, a very warm and sunny day, and it felt good to be on the road with the windows down and some quality music playing. It was like if Bambi were a road trip.

Then we drove past a quarry. The nation’s oldest quarry, to be exact.

If you’ve never been to a quarry before, they can be really gorgeous swimming spots and there are a lot of different ways you can get killed. They are basically rocks with big man-made holes that are made to remove minerals or rock for building materials.

Over time, they often fill up with water, creating a sort of marble pool.

Of course, we had to get out of the car and check this out.

Of course, it was decided that we would need to go swimming.

In a rare (you have no idea) moment of sensibility, BP and I decided to find the campsite and put up the tent before our swimming shenanigans. This was smart, because our campsite had a lot of twisty turns in it, and we would never have found it if we’d waited until nightfall. Especially with no headlights.

Then we went to the grocery store to procure supplies for our picnic dinner by said quarry.


-Bread. If you forget, manna will be provided, but it will not taste as good as fresh French bread.

-Cheese. Stinky and with spots is the way to go, according to BP. I picked out some sharp cheddar for myself. Much safer.

-Wine. We sort of skipped this one, but only because we happened to be in Vermont, which is apparently the Mecca of cheap liquor. Earlier in the day we had purchased at least $100 worth of booze, which was already in the trunk.

-Fruit. Grapes and apples are good, because they are not messy.

-Peanut butter and honey or jam.

-Hummus. The secret ingredient. Before this picnic, I had tasted hummus once or twice, and it simultaneously reminded me of mud (texture) and Kleenex (taste). Just to be sure, I added a bit of salt. Then it tasted like salty Kleenex mud. Hummus is made of mashed up garbanzo beans. Left to its own devices, it is some nasty, bland shit. If you mess with it enough, however, you get the radiant sandwich spread to which I have decided to consecrate my life.

The kind that BP picked out was “Tomato Basil Squish” (or somesuch). It looked revolting, but I agreed to try it (mainly to silence those pesky “you are the pickiest eater I’ve ever met” accusations).

It’s hard to talk about this without getting emotional. Just trust me. Once I put it on my bread, my life was never the same again. You can find it in your local grocery store—check the “Odd Things That Look Nasty But Aren’t” aisle.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, as we didn’t eat until after we swam. We arrived at the quarry around twilight. The heat of the day was basically gone, and though it wasn’t cold by any means, the prospect of being submerged in icy water was, shall we say, a little less inviting than it had been four hours prior.

But BP and I didn’t get to where we are in life by fretting about these things, so we set up our picnic nearby, took off our outer clothing, and stood at the quarry’s edge, contemplating deep concepts like God and Frostbite.

BP may be the more fearless eater of the two of us (similar to the way a Great Dane may be a little bigger than a Chihuahua), but in terms of sheer nerve, I am way ahead of him, as the following sequence of events clearly demonstrates.

-(Speaking of dogs), there is a little tiny white dog whose owner is standing on the bank of the quarry, fully dressed, with a smirky expression on her face that clearly connotes that she does not intend to get in the water and is completely ready to mock anyone that does. She keeps throwing a Frisbee onto the water, which her dog is supposed to chase down and retrieve (you dog owners are familiar with this game; I think they call it “catch”). Of course the dog is happy as a clam—dogs have no temperature control, so they don’t know any better. Anyway, we stand there watching this little hound make the jump-in-and-swim process look soooo easy for a few minutes.

-I decide that I am not going to be outdone by a freaking dog.

-I jump into the water.


-Cold. Cold. Coldcoldfuckcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldicycold.

-I scream for awhile.

-BP laughs. Mistake.

-I climb out of the water. Merciful heaven. The air is warm. I am not a dog. I am a person. I do not have fur. What in. God’s name. Was I thinking. People are not meant to swim. No fur. No swim. I do not have fur.

-I go right up behind BP.

-I strategically place my hands in front of me and push.

-BP falls into the water. It may or may not have been a direct result of what I did.

-BP comes up screaming. I laugh. Karma’s a bitch.

-I get back in the water. It is not quite so bad this time. We swim.

-Eventually hypothermia sets in and the temperature is very pleasant. We swim some more.

-There is a waterfall. There are big rocks. We jump off them. Again, I go first.

So as I said, I think this conclusively proves who’s got the bigger garbanzo beans, so to speak.

Anyway, while we were swimming around, BP told me about quarries. How they were made, and so forth.

Then he added, probably as revenge, the following interesting tidbit:

People die in quarries fairly regularly during construction and their bodies are left there.


“Uh, haha, so does that mean there might be some dead bodies in this quarry where we’re swimming right now?”


Whew. Thank God.

“It means there are definitely dead bodies in this quarry where we’re swimming right now.”

Some of you may remember that I don’t handle the idea of buried bodies particularly well. Plus, whether you admit it or not, you’ve read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and you remember the scene with the lake and the Inferi as well as I do.

Suddenly I felt something brush my leg.

“Uh, I think I’m going to get out now. I’m uh, getting cold. Yeah. And hungry.”

“Don’t you want to swim over to the island?” BP asked.

Malicious male. There’s a reason the first three letters of those words are the same.

Kids, this is peer pressure at its finest.

“Um, well, okay. But then I’m getting out.”

We swam. Island was pretty. All I could think about were dead bodies floating beneath me. One of the rocks had a bump covered in moss, and I thought it was a decaying finger. I nearly lost my marbles.

Did I mention that by this time it was dark?

I managed to escape from the Quarry of Death without becoming one of Them.

I brought with me a brand new shiny resolution not to do mean things to people who carry disturbing information in their heads.


red_wagon said...

LOVE this story!! Do you know which Quarry it was? I used to frequent that neck of the woods...

And I recently discovered hummus too. Though I thought it was chickpeas...

Lady Snark said...


Dorset, Vermont (thank you Wikipedia, because I would not have remembered that if my life depended on it).

It was awesome.

And yeah, hummus rocks, does it not??

Anonymous said...

Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing. Chickpea is just a cuter name.

Lizina said...

You write very well.