March 5, 2009

TMI Thursday: Geek Camp

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:51 am by Dagny Taggart

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of a geek.  I was reared to be one from birth, you see, and seventh grade was no exception.

What happened in seventh grade, is that I took the SAT.  And did well enough to merit acceptance into a three week writing program at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts (incidentally, the same school where Norton Juster was a professor).

So that summer, I went to writing camp.  We had two class sessions every day, scheduled meals, activity sessions – all the things that a normal summer camp might have, except on a college campus and educated up a bit.  Including laundry facilities.

Dr. Taggart had the foresight to pack plenty of clothes to last me three weeks, and thus, I only had to wash my sheets and towels.  Another girl, whose Awkward Phase was already in full blast (I took another year to attain the requisite combination of 25 extra pounds, glasses, and braces), had not been so fortunate. 

For some reason, we were only given access to the laundry room one or two nights, during our stay.  So the entire room was filled with campers/students and piles of laundry.  As with most laundry rooms, there was also a fair amount of condensation on the floor.

You see where this is going, I think.

Patty* had run upstairs to get her detergent, having realized its absence only when she actually got up to the machines.  A collective eye roll and the occasional “figures” had marked her exit, as she had been designated as the official bottom of the social totem pole from the beginning of our camp experience.  She started to blush even before she left the room.  I felt bad for her, a little.  And then she came back down.

She was running, hoping to mitigate some of the animosity by getting her stuff done quickly.  Running in a long t-shirt and flip-flops – and nothing else, which many of us inadvertently discovered when she slipped, one foot going forward while the other stubbornly stayed behind, causing her to sink to the floor as her t-shirt rode up her hips.

And thus, we all became aware that her mother had not packed her enough underwear.  And I, at least, became (1) a little more grateful for having one that had, (2) aware that my previous sympathy was a mere shadow of what I now felt for Patty, and (3) relieved beyond imagination that I was not the poor girl who’s earned the title:  The Girl Who Flashed Geek Camp.

*I haven’t the foggiest notion if this is her real name or not.  If I accidentally picked the right one, my apologies!
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6 Comments »

  1. justjp said,

    I thought streaking was a proud tradition at these kinds of events?

  2. LiLu said,

    Oh, that poor girl! This is probably why I have about 1,000 pairs of panties now… even in the worst of conditions, I still have SOMETHING to wear on laundry day… they might be granny panties, but they get the job done! Congrats on your first TMI 😉

  3. Lisa said,

    Ohh, poor thing. At this age, you could be all, yeah, so I don’t wear underwear, whatever, you prudes. But at that point in life – sooo mortifying.

  4. justjp: Well, we were thirteen or fourteen, and geeky – I don’t know that streaking was something any of us had seriously considered, yet.

    LiLu: I have a lot of underwear because of the VS 5 for $25 deal, in which I indulge whenever I *need*, but cannot *afford* actual retail therapy. Which is fortunate, as I have to leave my apartment to do laundry!

    Lisa: Oh, yes. It was bad. She was mortified. Though, I think those of us who just sat there, not helping, should probably be more embarrassed.

  5. f.B said,

    I, too, have been caught underwear-less in public. It’s a heavy shame. But coupled with a fall it might have actually hurt. That sucks.

  6. f.B: As I recall, she seemed physically fine when she regained her footing. But a 13-year-old’s dignity is a fragile thing, indeed.


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