Author Topic: My Senior Retreat  (Read 725 times)

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Offline nicklegends

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My Senior Retreat
« on: September 08, 2007, 04:32:51 PM »
Yeah, so I told you I'd tell you the story of what happened last night, and I will. It's a long read. Be ready.

The place we were at for Senior Retreat was this ranch about 90 minutes north of San Francisco, in this huge, open landscape of hills, which is rare in such a highly-developed area in general. Anyway, the staff's rules were so relaxed about everything; we could do anything we wanted in the cabins or the communal meeting rooms at any time in the night, as long as we were quiet outside after 11:00PM.

At about that time, I was in one of the meeting rooms with about four other people working on the senior banner (we wrote stupid things on it and drew pictures to commemorate our years at the school), when my friend, this big lanky guy who I won't name, comes racing in the room, grabs me on the shoulder with his massive hand, and says, frenzied, that he needs me to be his partner at a card game (which we had played at middle school) so we could demonstrate the flawless strategies we had perfected in the past and dominate the competition. He was really into the game. Sure enough, even though it wasn't a total landslide, we killed the first team we played. My friend was in no mood to quit there, though; he went and asked a bunch of other people to play another game since we were so "god-like and dominating," as he put it. Truth is, nobody else was ready to play since they were all occupied with their own things (ping-pong taking most of 'em), so we stopped, calmed down our invincible spirits, and talked for a while with some other friends.

All of a sudden, my friend, as if he had discovered the most important underlying secret of life, told me and the other two people we were talking with that we all needed to see something. He started telling us about this incredible tree--I wasn't sure what was incredible about it, but I was interested that my friend, who was usually so calm, was so thrilled about this thing. Everybody was ready to take a walk except for one guy, but my friend kept saying that it was "such an incredible tree." I played along, thinking it was a joke of sorts, interested just to see what was going to happen, so I tried to coax this other guy to come with us as well, saying that, "you've never seen a tree like this before," even though I downright well knew I had no idea what he was talking about. It worked. We left for the tree, my friend leading us through the crinkly crunching branches and dirt paths at a particularly past pace. He really is excited, I thought.

We got distracted before we got there, though, by a nature museum which was propped open and fully-lighted for no apparent reason. The three of us went inside, only because my friend was startled by a particularly realistic-looking fox model that we wanted to see up-close. We navigated through all the rooms in the building, through cobwebs and rows of live reptile cages and whatnot, until we come to this figure of a bird perched on a piece of wood. For some reason, my friend seemed intent to steal it--"jack it"--just to cause mischief, but was discouraged after he figured out that it was tacked down to the shelf. Nobody really knew why we had stopped here, but we had a feeling it was best that we'd leave at that point. We did.

So we continued onward, through all the dirt, the pathways illuminated only by the dim gleams of our flashlights which cast strange shadows on everything else around us. We walk up, around two residential buildings (we have to be quiet but my friend doesn't seem ready to be, despite his constant plea that we "keep it cutty"), and then we see it: this absolutely insanely huge tree. This thing was unbelievable! It was a eucalyptus tree--a particularly fragile species of tree as they go, may I add--that was easily fifteen feet in diameter, and as tall as our dim lights would allow us to comprehend. I looked at it in almost disbelief--I'm telling you, I felt like I was in a dream--and started rambling on how this was an incredible tree and how eucalyptus plants were so fragile. I was only urged to do it more by my friend's conspicuous enchantment towards the mutant plant. We walked around it, we tried climbing it, we even hugged it, when we all noticed that it was perhaps not a single tree but a bunch of trees that had grown individually initially but then converged together to form the massive trunk. My friend couldn't get enough of this... it looked like one tree from one angle, and five from another.

The only option at this point, apparently, was to return to the card-playing, ping-pong room and convince some others to see it. We went back, my friend walking just as quickly as before, but without the same trip to the museum. We had to "keep that on the DL," according to him, which was a phrase, that, perhaps because of his strange mannerism in saying it, made me laugh.

When we got to the tree a second time, he explained the whole story to everybody who missed it the first time: "I was running up here to get Feezy [me] for cards, and I took a wrong turn down this sketchy path here--" (his hands were motioning wildly as he explained the story) "--and I looked and I saw, wham! this massive tree! So I ran up to Feezy and got him to come down, and we got [another guy] to come up here, and wham! the tree was still here!"

He then followed to practically dance around the tree, saying again and again, "Look! From this side, it's five trees... from here it's three... and from this one, it's one!" At some point, he told us that, "This is a tree! This is a fucking tree!" His expression, even in the indistinctness of the midnight, was of pure amazement. I looked at him giving his lectures about this massive, "godlike tree on steroids," and thought to myself, Man, I've never seen him like this before! Another one there told him that he probably just found his future profession: to be a naturalist. My friend, either at that point or earlier, just scoffed and said, "All they do is smoke pot all day. That's what naturalists do." And then, almost simultaneously, everybody in the group he had convinced to be there realized that he was incredibly high at that moment, which, although hilarious to witness, was totally unlike him. We asked, and he said something along the lines of "I lied yesterday, but yeah, I did:" all the conformation we needed. After figuring it out, everybody burst out in delirious laughter. I walked over a few steps to a bridge, sat down, and laughed so hard. It was a weird sort of internal laugh--I don't even know if I was smiling--but I was too overcome by the moment to do anything else. All I could do is watch this friend of me--this side I'd never seen--parading, prancing around the tree like an idiot making up nonsense words describing the tree and trying to share his fascination with the others in the group, who clearly weren't "getting it."

But now, the situation was just too damn fun to pass up! We went back and brought another group, our third, to the tree, and he gave his exact same spiel about it, there was more laughter--I think he even called the tree "Cuttysarus Rex" at a point--and all was good.

But we weren't done just quite yet. My friend took a break back to his room. We weren't sure if he was planning on sleeping or not, but surely enough he emerged from the room a while later, just as intent on sharing his excitement with the tree as he was before. So yes, we took yet ANOTHER walk to the tree with a gigantic group, past all these places we really weren't interested on waking up but were laughing too hard to care about. It was pushing 2:00AM at this point and it was my fourth trip to the tree, but we still had fifteen people going there at once, making as much noise as quiet people could. He gave his whole spiel yet another time--I can't believe he kept his story as consistently straight as he did. Soon after, we ran into three other people outside of our little group. I wasn't sure if they had their heads together, either, but they saw the tree, looked stunned for a moment, and then kept walking to an unspecified location. We all stood, still admiring this gargantuan tree, when we hear this alarm bell sound off and those three guys running back yelling, "Oh shit! We set off the alarm!!"

Taking into account that it was so late and that the people living in the residential section, where we were, didn't care for our incessant tromping around, we ran and hid. Unfortunately, I found myself with three others right under this light nudged against the tree, and we see this figure walking towards us with this small, eery red light apparently emanating from his shirt. He came right up to us (and we weren't that hard to find since we were in the light right in the direction he was headed) and asked us, "What was that?" One of us replied, "Somebody over there--" (we pointed) "--set of the alarm." I discovered at this point, much to my shock, that the red light attached to this big guy was actually the record light of a video camera. After he shrugged us off, we walked very quickly and very briskly back to our camp.

After that, not much interesting happened. We were still concerned on what could happen to us since we were caught on tape, but we tried to forget about it for the time being. How could they blame us when we did nothing wrong, anyway? Since everybody in the group had dispersed when the alarm went off, I wasn't with anybody I knew, so all I could do to pass time was tell the story to the people sitting in the ping-pong room. People were still playing cards like they were in my initial engagement that started this whole scene.

I hung out there for a while, talking and playing ping-pong, both which were difficult to focus on at such an hour. Eventually, more and more people flaked off from the building to head for bed, until it reached 3:00AM and the only ones left were sitting at a table, talking, with the clicks of a ping-pong ball still on the table behind us. Naturally, everything turned into a truth or dare game that I won't get into. We braced ourselves and made it to 4:00AM (with the help of various ping-pong matches I played), when pretty much everybody started off to bed, except for a select few, of which I was a member. We didn't last much longer at all, though. After plopping myself on my bed, I didn't even get into my sleeping bag, just slept on top of it, until we had to get up three and a half hours later with one of the most incredible nights of my life under my belt.


Whoo! That's about it. It was an awesome retreat and and awesome night, especially when combined with the campfire earlier that night where we had s'mores, sang songs as classmates played music, and told crazy stories about what happened to some of the seniors (including and not limited to purchasing fake IDs in New York and being sent to jail). If only I was still there.

Offline nicklegends

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My Senior Retreat
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2007, 04:27:08 PM »
Obviously, no one cares about my trip, which is fine; I realize it's a long read anyway.

But I couldn't resist a picture of the tree.



Offline Piranesi

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My Senior Retreat
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2007, 04:46:53 PM »
Long fucking read.

Offline Turbo Barracuda

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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2007, 11:06:23 AM »
Quote from: ""nicklegends""
Obviously, no one cares about my trip, which is fine; I realize it's a long read anyway.

But I couldn't resist a picture of the tree.




i usually dont swear, but HOLY SHIT! that tree is huge!! actually i liked reading your story.

Offline jfeathe

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My Senior Retreat
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 11:02:42 AM »
Sounds like a fun retreat; glad you had a good time! That really is a massive tree!

Offline silversnakeman

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My Senior Retreat
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2007, 12:42:34 PM »
Hilarious story Ed

Seemed like you had a fun time