Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Somewhere Over the Metatarsals

I always run out of things to do while waiting in doctor's offices. I read the dire posters warning me about the specific horrible nature of my possible demise. I read the labels on all the glass jars of supplies: Cotton Swabs, Q-Tips, Gag-Inducing Popsicle Sticks. Swinging my feet off the edge of the raised pedestal of a seat, I try to make musical crinkling sounds with the wax paper under my bum. I have been known to get a good, monotonous Bohemian Rhapsody going. Sometimes I even start to hum along, but the sound of my own voice inevitably startles me in the echo-y silence of the stark white room. After a while I run out of things to do, and will spend my time looking for constellations and faces in the black speckles of the ceiling tiles. 

I stared up at just such a set of ceiling tiles as I lay on my back in the chiropractor's office. A weird click-WHACK sound happened in time with shocks of reverberation that ran through my foot bones. He was circling around me, stretching my foot and muttering things to himself like "Hmm," "Aha," and "Oh..?" I watched him do this with some apprehension, as he had neglected to take the time to actually explain to me what was going on. He had instructed me to lay down, then immediately began to whack at my foot bone joints with a weird adjuster instrument. I tried to distract myself from the pain.

Oh look, Ursa Minor, I thought to myself, my eyes traveling over the spangled expanse of white ceiling tile above me.

Click-WHACK. Click-WHACK.

Ursa Minor being attacked by a smiley face and... Sirius?

Click-WHACK. "Oh, hmm. Right." Click-WHACK.

This went on for a while. Him, adjusting the orientation of my bones. Me, sinking further into the milky way of insulation. Oh, the games we play.

After some time, he asked me to stand up and try walking around. He made some vague attempt at explanation- the tendons of my foot had perhaps tightened up so much as to slowly pull one of my metatarsals out of alignment. My foot was distinctly more flexible after he was done, but it didn't hurt any less. Actually it felt a little like it was still vibrating from the impact of the adjuster-punch-thing. I wobbled out of the chiropractor, leaning on Dumptruck's arm. 

We were in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. On Saturday, Dumptruck and I woke up in our hotel room near the x-ray office. Apollo(!) had called us, telling us that his family was having a BBQ on Sunday in New Jersey, and that he could come and pick us up Saturday evening after he got picked up by his family. Apollo has been a few days ahead of us for several weeks, and we've missed him quite a lot. It sounded like the perfect, most relaxing way to spend the weekend. During the day on Saturday, Dumptruck and I wandered around the town near our hotel. We went to a movie, and cackled madly while consuming unlimited salad and breadsticks at an unsuspecting Olive Garden. By the fourth time refilling our breadstick basket, I could tell the waiter was trying to see if I had a big purse into which I was pouring the tubular garlic bread. Why, Sir, you are correct. Except that's not a purse. It's my stomach.

We also got a gritty dose of the reality of suburbia. We ducked into an Old Navy to take part in some air conditioning, and our senses were assaulted by the sight and sounds of close to 300 people jostling for sale items. People were standing in a line that ran the circumference of the warehouse-sized store. They were all individually clutching several dozen pairs of flip-flops to their chests, their eyes darting around like antelopes who have caught the scent of a nearby pack of hyenas. Ever alert for the danger of a more industrious sale-seeker who will knock them to the ground and wrench the armful of flip-flops from their grasping, desperate hands. Is the regular world always like this? WHO NEEDS 9 PAIRS OF FLIP FLOPS?! 

On Saturday night we were picked up by Apollo, who had already harvested a Grim and a Whistle from the trail! We went to his parents house in New Jersey, which was adorable, and on a gorgeous piece of land. Two other hikers, Handstand and Shane, were also there, as well as Apollo's brother and sister. Saturday night and all day Sunday was jam packed with food, happiness, and flailing around like spawning salmon in the glorious above-ground swimming pool. Mr. and Mrs. Amante: you are superb, generous and incredible humans.  I haven't had a better zero day on the entire trail. It was like all of summer vacation squeezed into 36 hours of pure Dionysian revelry.

Now the bad news: On Monday morning, my foot didn't feel any better. Dumptruck, Grim, Whistle and I decided that the best course of action would be for me to rest for a few more days near Delaware Water Gap, while Grim and Whistle finished hiking Pennsylvania. They were then going to meet us on the night of Wednesday the 3rd, in time to get picked up by Whistle's aunt, uncle and grandmother in New Jersey for a 4th of July celebration. Then, starting on the morning of Friday,  July 5th, we would all 4 start hiking together.

Thus is was that Dumptruck and I spent Monday morning to Wednesday in the Econo Lodge in Stroudsburg, PA (3 miles from Delaware Water Gap). The lady at the front desk, Dee, was exceptionally kind, and spoke to us at length about the trail. 

How did we entertain ourselves for nearly 3 full days in a hotel room? We bought an XBox 360 and several games from Walmart. We returned all of it back to Walmart on Wednesday. We spent 48 hours straight eating frozen burritos, drinking Icees from the Seven-Eleven through straws made of twizzlers and screaming at Sonic the Hedgehog to get his spikey rear in gear. 

14-year-old summer vacation Clever Girl had come roaring back in diabetes-tempting glory. The only thing missing was the braces. 

I also went to a nearby chiropractor and had my bones moved around. It is definitely feeling better now, and I think the rest, stretching and attention to it was definitely worth it. I know that I'll be ready to hike again on Friday. It will have been 6 full days of not hiking. I miss the trail terribly, and I have been feeling ready to get back out there. A friend of mine (Hi Eric!) who hiked the trail in a previous year, let me know that there is still a significant stretch of rocks going North from Delaware Water Gap. I think I should be healed enough to tackle it, but I'll take it slow.

Thanks to everyone for their support, advice and good will. Northward!

Love always,
Clever Girl

All of us hikers at Apollo's shindig!

Dumptruck playing Sonic Spinball (Sega Genesis mod games FTW!) And yes, that's our tent set up in the hotel room to the right. It's been leaking in the rain, so Dumptruck seam-sealed all of it. 


  1. You really did squeeze a full 14 year-olds summer into less than a week. The only thing missing was a marathon viewing of Americas Next Top Model! Hopefully the chiropractor's whack-a-mole exercise will bear dividends...or at least your weight. We're proud of you! Stay safe and keep playing loud! Love, Mom and Dad

  2. Thank you for improving my vocabulary, had to look up Dionysian, now I have to use it three times in a sentence today to comment it to memory. Following blogs is work. Glad your traveling on....Beth