Step-dad Adventures – Lost in Translation

Fears Realized

dark city

(By the way, google images of nightmares and that alone will keep you up at night.)

I have one recurring nightmare in particular. I’m lost and need to find someone. Fast. I run through streets, reading signs, looking for familiar landmarks, but no matter which way I go, the streets are different, the landmarks unfamiliar, the signs are constantly changing. I run faster and faster, but speed only makes it worse. Like in Dark City, everything moves around and I get more and more lost until panic overwhelms me and I wake up in a cold sweat.


So imagine how keen I was to do the navigating adventure. And that was only part of the horrors for the last part of day 2. The teachers had also decided, for punishment no less, that all the kids were to do a skit. In front of the entire group.

And get this, the chaperons HAD to participate.

lectureWhat the holy hell? Did they think that was going to be fun of us? Now, I’ve done my fair share of public speaking and I can get the job done, but not without a lot of anxiety. I’m not like my amazing brother who can stand in front of 200 students and do a pitch-perfect lecture, oh no, I have a hard time memorizing things so I usually go off the cuff, for better or worse.

I wasn’t even the most nervous of the chaperons. A few look terrified. And who can blame them? Did we sign on for this?

Ah, no.

However, first up, the navigation adventure.

I was pretty sure I couldn’t get too lost (though most of my nightmares start out the same way.) We were given compasses and told how to use them. For normal people, it’s super simple. We set our compasses to north, set degrees, then figured out which way we pointed.

compassFor navi-incompetents like me, though, it took about 100% of my brain power. Like teaching The Oldest math. Or doing my taxes.

Then, in groups of 5, we were sent on a treasure hunt of sorts. We had to find a series of metal plates that had directions to the next metal plate. We’d read off degrees and march the number of paces to find the one.

The Oldest had a plan. Read the plate, set the direction and then methodically march off the steps. All fair and fine, but what happens when there’s a house in the way? Well, we had to count the number of sidesteps we took, then redo those steps on the other side of the house.

columbusNow think of the error factor here. A few steps off either way and we’d never find the plates. We’d be like Columbus hoping to find freaking China.

However, one kid had the most brilliant idea. He was always full of energy, running around, leaping on things, and he thought, why pace it out? Run it out. Sooner or later, you’ll find the plate.

So the first one we did was with him running as fast he could in the general direction, while The Oldest would be meticulous and careful. I worried when I lost sight of the speedy kid as he raced into the forest and ran around like he was searching for his iphone, but most of the time, I was able to shout him back to the approximate location.

With his speed, and the more or less pacing by The Oldest, we found every one of the plates in record time. I was so pleased that I even let one of the other kids leave so he could hang out with another group looking for plates (a group of girls, so I totally understood that!)

Sure there were moments I’d lost track of everyone as they spread out into the forest like shrapnel from an exploding bomb. There were moments that the speedy kid misread his directions and raced in completely the wrong way. But we all managed to get back together and complete ALL the tasks. All of them. All.

Apparently no one had done that before.

I took complete credit, of course, what with my superior navigating skills and all.

Ok, I didn’t. I told the counselors the secret. “Don’t march out the paces. Get the direction right and guess the area and run around.  A lot.” And, hey, it’s that how Columbus really discovered America? He kinda went in a general direction and sailed around a lot.

outlookSo now I know how to use a compass. Sort of.

Like how I know how to use Outlook. Sort of. Now all I have to do is learn to read a map and I’ll be good to go off and be all Bear Grylls-ie.

Next up, after supper, was the skits.

Did I mention we only had about 2 hours after the last adventure (in our case, the navi-hunt) to prepare? Did I mention that the kids were informed that it would be a part of their marks?

Now I understood why The Oldest hadn’t wanted to come.

He knew we’d be ambushed.





About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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2 Responses to Step-dad Adventures – Lost in Translation

  1. somemaid says:

    Love that approach to navigation. Perfectly logical too. After all in a real life situation you are searching for a location not a plate in the ground. If you have the direction right then you will definitely know when you arrive at a big building, rock etc. Can’t wait to hear how the ambush went!

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