Friday, September 25, 2015

Nostalgia Part X

When I was still in school, which is like 16 (!!!) years ago,* there would be annual end-year athletic training camps. They would span a weekend and were a sort of introductory elimination session for the new athletes our coach had spotted throughout the year. Those who made it would join the “high-altitude” training camp in Cameron Highlands, which spanned 10 days.**

The school camp would start on Friday evening, and we’d sleep in the gym and use the school’s toilets. Us girls usually snuck into the teachers’ toilets because they were cleaner. One time, we snuck in too early and were caught by the science teacher.

Looking back, it was kind of a strange, in-between experience. We slept in school but didn’t camp on the field or sleep in the classrooms as the Scouts and Girl Guides did, respectively. We didn’t even have to cook, because the canteen staff took care of that. (They lived there anyway, so why not?)

I can still smell the funk of mud, grass, and sweat permeated the gym at the end of the day. We crammed maybe 30-40 kids in there, and not everyone was savvy about drying their clothes/shoes after a training session.

One of the things I remember best is how the girls would try to play it cool when it came to doing a number 2. It sounds so stupid now but I guess it’s a big deal when you’re 14 or so and basically admitting to everyone around you, including anyone you might have a crush on/has a crush on you, that you need to take a shit. The desire to fit in and be accepted manifests in myriad strange ways.

Anyway, Pam was the most conservative in this regard, and Susan was not. I like to think I was in between, as in, “Yes, I’m going to have a poo but will everyone just please go away or play deaf for a bit?”

Susan always let you know how she felt, whether it was too warm, she was tired but couldn’t sleep, that there were too many mosquitoes,*** and that she was going to the toilet (and how it was for her…).

I actually never thought anything of it, but I’ll always remember watching her sauntering off, holding the toilet roll she brought from home. Always be prepared, right? And it wasn’t any deal at all. Except I also remember Pam, disdainful, saying, “Oh my god, Susan is going to the toilet. She’s carrying her toilet paper and everyone can see it!”

I really should have told Pam to chill the fuck out.

*Where did all the years go? Probably something we all ask ourselves more frequently as we age.
**It’s amazing how time crawls when you have 3 training sessions a day. I still can’t believe I went through it for 5 years.
***It’s amazing that none of us contracted dengue.

No comments: