Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Hobo Ate My Macaroni

My little sister has been accumulating a list of fails ever since I bit into a peanut M&M and there was no peanut inside. When a new one happens she opens with "You know you're a failure when..." and then delightedly lists my latest.

She's enlisted my friends to inform her whenever something goes wrong that's worthy of adding to the list of fails. So even when I vanished into the wilds of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a camping expedition, I wasn't entirely safe. 

Camping went well, though it wasn't quite like the time I went camping in teddy bear country. We had no bathroom at the center of the campground with a five minute shower, no firewood for $5,  and no friendly park rangers. I had to wilder-pee and find my own fuel. 

Surprisingly, in spite of wilder-peeing for two days and not being able to shower, I managed to escape without contributing to my sister's growing list. In fact, on the way back I even decided to kidnap the camper I was carpooling with and stop in on my old college town to visit my sister and friends. We looked like two mountain hobos, but I was still feeling good from my successful weekend and determined to prove I had become a success since I graduated. 

So I met up with my sister and friends--a master's candidate, a marine pursuing his education, and successfully-hired-as-a-professor-Edd (camping in teddy bear country). It was a daunting lineup, but I had false confidence and pretend cleanliness on my side, as well as a camper that looked as much like a mountain hobo as I did.

And, to boost my morale, I had reached my old hangout in time to enjoy their $2 Gin and Tonic special and a hot plate of macaroni. The macaroni ages magically, so I gorged myself on bread so I wouldn't accidentally scarf it prematurely. While I was busily adding garlic to my list of bodily odors, my sister started to investigate to see if she could add anything to her list.

Boom, crisis averted. I stealthily dodged prying questions like this for most of the meal, and by the end I think I convinced my friends that I wasn't a hobo.

I switched off so Camper drove the rest of the way to the carpool drop off. The macaroni had already begun its magic aging process. It sat in a place of honor in my lap. I had no fork, so I waited until it was dark enough that Camper couldn't easily see me and grabbed a few noodles with my fingers. Just enough to give me a taste of the amazing macaroni dinner I was in for once we got back. 

Getting back was a mess of rushing the giant bags of cooking supplies, the tent, the coolers, the dirty laundry. I waddled half way across Richmond with a backpack on my back and front, an armload of blankets and a cooler. 

Finally unpacked, I decided I could have a meal on the balcony before I took off. I popped open the fridge to grab the glorious macaroni--

and found emptiness. 

The macaroni was still with the car.

"On the bright side," I told Camper, "it's cold outside so it's probably fine."

"On the not-so-bright side," Camper said, "the last I saw, you put it on the roof of your car."

Oh no. A real hobo was going to eat my macaroni. 

We arrived at the car. There was no take-away box on top, and I'd left the doors unlocked. Panicked, since I was parked on a curb in Richmond, I quickly checked inventory to see how badly I'd been robbed.

Nothing was taken.

Nothing except the macaroni.

At that moment, I got a text message from my sister.