Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Sound Of One Hand Slapping

A new Zen koan: if you violate a public indecency law but nobody sees you do it, was the public's sense of decency violated? I ask because today I drove the Skyline Drive, a scenic route through Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. Near the drive's 50-mile mark is Dark Hollow Falls, which can be reached by leaving your car in the Dark Hollow parking area and hiking six-tenths of a mile down a moderately steep trail.

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.


Anonymous smartass sob said...

Well that post should get a response from Nostar and A Moose! Or at least their attention. :-)

But seriously, how is being seen in one's bra a public indecency? I see advertizing all the time with women appearing in their undergarments.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

True, but you generally don't see them walking outside.

5:28 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Damn, you're giving me flashbacks. I used to live in Charlottesville and spent damn near every weekend up there. Dark Hollow is ok, but head down to White Oak Canyon for the real stuff, and nobody gives a rip if you take the bra off also when you get more than 1 mi from Skyline. Same for the falls on the other end, other side, of Big Meadows, except I've run into a couple bear on that trail.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

"Well that post should get a response from Nostar..."

Am I that predictable? Is my reputation that well known? Is my admiration for Jennifer's body and mind something I should keep hidden?

I'm going for a cold shower now and remove those thoughts of her glorious mind and that luxurious red hair.


12:42 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

I don't think it's a Zen koan. It's a standard philosophy argument against Berkeley or somebody, who held that things exist only when observed.

Like breasts.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Well that post should get a response from Nostar and A Moose!

Nah, only bras don't do much for me. Lack thereof might be interesting, but I'm much too absorbed in planning a multi day boat expedition at the moment.

Besides, I tend towards being more distracted by a fine caboose rather than the boxcars midway through.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Is my admiration for Jennifer's body and mind something I should keep hidden?

Dear God, no.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

RE: a fine caboose

My Dad told me when I was 15 that some guys are breast men, some like butts, and some like breasts ,and others liked legs. (He was a leg man.) I decided then and there to learn to appreciate them all.

It is rare that a woman doesn't have something I can admire. Jennifer happens to have many admirable attributes, physical and mental.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

No, no, Ron. It's definitely a koan. I am a philosophical pioneer for thinking of it, really.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Stevo Darkly said...

It has been too long since I last dropped in on this blog.

For some reason I have an urge to yell, "Woo hoo!"

2:47 AM  

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