The Sound Of One Hand Slapping
As I hiked down to the waterfall, thunderheads started piling up in the formerly blue skies above. The hot, sticky day got hotter and stickier (and where the hell did all those goddamned gnats come from, anyway?), so by the time I left the waterfall and made it back to the car I was multiple levels of nasty: sweaty, reeking of ineffective bug repellent, frizz-headed and sporting the occasional squashed gnat corpse (slap).
"We're still in the South," said my equally nasty Traveling Companion. "I'm going to do the Southern thing and take my shirt off."
"I wish I could, too, without getting arrested," I said resentfully. "Damn, I need a shower. Or at least a new shirt [slap] ouch." I took a quick look around: across the parking lot was an RV with a couple of beer-drinking rednecks sitting around it. The lot was otherwise deserted; the few cars in it all belonged to people somewhere on the hiking trail. But there were no restrooms, and the only grouping of trees thick enough to provide a semblance of privacy was also a damnable gnatopia, and I didn't want privacy enough to stand in a cloud of gnats for it.
"You can get dressed in the car after we leave," my Traveling Companion said.
"I'm too dirty to SIT in the car," I said. "It has cloth seats; it's not like they can be wiped down." I took another glance around the lot. "If I sit on the edge of the seat and scrunch down, I could probably do it."
"The guys in the RV might see you."
"They won't see much at this distance. Besides, I don't care about them. I just don't want a cop to see me."
The guys went back into the RV to replenish their beer supplies, and I quickly pulled off my damp top, wiped myself off with it and then replaced it with a clean shirt. "MUCH better," I said to my now-topless Traveling Companion, who put the car in gear and drove off.
Unfortunately, he forgot that his shirt and the camera were on the car's roof. Good thing he caught a glimpse of a green fluttery thing in the rearview mirror. He pulled over and ran back to retrieve the camera and his shirt; by amazing good luck the camera wasn't damaged, although our spare batteries fell out of the case (which we discovered when we ran out of battery power halfway through Luray Caverns a couple hours later).
To the best of my knowledge, no children had their precious snowflake innocence shattered by a ten-second glimpse of me in my bra. And I, looking down at my arms, am pleased to report that gnat bites don't leave visible marks.