Until Tuesday, when the powers that be told my co-leader and I that they had a car we could use to drive back and forth from our dorm to the office during our three-day long "debrief" session. Great! we said. "You guys can drive stick, right?" they said. Margaret and I looked at each other, eyes wide. She shook her head. I don't know what came over me, because I surely did not feel confident at all in my ability to drive that car, but for some reason I found myself saying, "Well, I can give it a shot." It's as if after getting through this trip, this 25-day roller coaster ride, I sort of feel like I can do anything. Drive stick? Well as long as there aren't ten kids complaining in the backseat, sure! I'll drive it anywhere you want!
Ultimately, it went about as well as you might expect. I stalled, and I stalled a lot. Though it wasn't that far between the dorm and the office, there were a lot of stoplights, and every one of them was red. Stoplights were the bane of my existence. But dammit, I drove that car. I made it safely to the office every morning and back to the dorm each evening, with the occasional Starbucks run thrown in for good measure. And then, on our very last day there, right before boarding a D.C.-bound train, I drove to the office one last time, and I didn't stall once. It was a beautiful day. And dammit, I drove that car.
I picked up my next new skill also out of necessity, desperate times calling for desperate measures and all that. This story takes place in a sparse and flourescent-lit college dorm room. Our players are two exhausted and frazzled young women who would like nothing better than to settle in with a Papa John's pizza and a refreshing beverage or three for a night in front of the cable t.v. Several months ago, such an evening would have seemed banal, but after nearly a month of deprivation, it now sounds oddly appealing. We watch as the women rifle through drawers and fling open cabinets in an increasingly desperate search for that most elusive of kitchen implements, the bottle opener. Several unsuccessful attempts are made with a steak knife and a metal drain plug. Wounded fingers find their way into pouting mouths. After a pensive silence, we hear one of them say, "Well, I think I've seen this done before..." I'll let the video speak for itself. (And yes, I know it's sideways. Blame my co-leader Margaret's "artistic vision.")
And while I'm no longer sodden with beer, my confidence is still at an all-time high. Seriously, readers, is there anything I can't do? (Wait, don't answer that). All I know is there are two fresh new checkmarks on my Things To Do Before I Die list. Next up: ride a camel and learn how to apply liquid eyeliner. What's on your list?