Saturday, April 3, 2010

“Communication the Old-fashioned Way”

In 2002, the first time we went to Lifest, cell-phones were just starting to gain popularity. We had a “bag phone” for trips, the clumsy phone in a bag that had to be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter. And that was pretty much just for emergencies. In general, you communicated from your house phone or, when out and about, possibly walkie-talkies.

I am sure that it was Nick’s great idea that we had to take walkie-talkies to Lifest. Somehow or other, he already knew that that was the preferred means of communications at a large festival. Perhaps, I had signed a consent somewhere along the line and he had been to a large festival already.

As it turns out, the two-way radios were really more for meeting new people than for staying in touch with your own people. We would agree on the channel we would find each other on, but when we went to call the other person, some total stranger was talking instead. Val was only 12 at the time, and Jacquelyn her friend was 13. I cannot believe that I turned them loose on a 40-acre plot of land filled with 10,000 strangers with a walkie-talkie which had the sole purpose of allowing them to meet some of those total strangers.

Like I already said, it felt so safe. I know I shouldn’t be so naïve; just because this is advertised as a Christian event and all the performers at one point or another share their faith, there is no guarantee that freaks and murderers wouldn’t pay the cost of admittance to have easy pickings of young girls. Nothing remotely bad happened, so as long as my mom doesn’t know about this, everything is cool.

Anyway, so the girls kept coming back to camp or to wherever we had agreed to meet at, to tell me about someone else they were talking to over the two-way radio. The funniest conversation, though, occurred right at our camper.

Val was telling someone on the walkie-talkie where we were camped at – Field of Dreams. The guy on the other end said, “So are we. Where are you from the big tree?"

Val answered, “Just a little ways away from it.”

“What kind of camper do you have?”

“An old popup camper, it is tan and our truck is red.”

“Then I think I see you.”

“No way,” Val answered. “Where are you?”

“Turn to your right.”

Val promptly turned to her left. She has never had any sense of direction and maybe it begins with not knowing her right from her left.

“Turn to your other right.”

Val and Jacquelyn turned to their other right and there were a group of kids about 30 feet away. I don’t even think they went and met them; they just sat down and giggled.

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