Jeremy and JoAnn (and Drake and Trigger) and Curt and I (and Abe) went camping this weekend up at Platte River. We arrive just before dark and begin to set up. The dogs are wound up after being in the trucks for 3 hours…we finally let them out to stretch their legs. As we’re finishing setting up camp and finding leads to attach the dogs to, a man walks by headed to the loo. The dogs offer their standard welcome of barking and running to the edge of the driveway. The man yells, “Hey! Blah blahblah blah dogs! Chimpanzee!” The man walks away.
Now, it’s at this point that I realize I am dreaming. You can see how it’s confusing…a fairly real situation, right? Until the man starts yappin’ about a monkey. I- in my dream- standing there holding my sleeping pad now know that I am dreaming. And so I go about my business and proceed to set up camp. Funny how sensible you can be when you’re sleeping.
Five minutes later, the man returns. I recognize him from earlier in my dream. I am neither surprised nor afraid. He is yelling at the top of his lungs. I think at first he has spotted a cougar in the latrine…or perhaps that chimpanzee he was talkin’ about. “Hey! WHACHER NAMES?! WHATCHER NAMES???? I’M GONNA REPORT YOU TO THE RANGERS ‘CAUSE YER DOGS ATTCKED ME! HEY!!! YOU CAN’T RUN AWAY. You can’t go ANYWHERE! I got YER NUMBER!”
Oy. I am standing at the picnic table at 11pm…a good 50 feet away from the man. Jeremy, ever the professional Police Officer, says he’s happy to give him our names if he could see the injury. The man begins to run away. I begin to laugh- because this is simply absurd. Jeremy asks him to stop. JoAnn begins to yell back, “Well, what the beep are you doin’ out here in the beep woods where all the animals are, you beep?” Now, I ask you…does this look like the face of a woman capable of such aggression? Exactly. A dream. I go to bed. In my dream.
I wake up. It’s a glorious day. I step out of the tent…wondering if I am still dreaming or if I am now awake. I slip on my flops and begin to head down the driveway when a large white Tahoe pulls up and a lady gets out wearing khaki and green (possibly not dreaming) and a bullet-proof vest (ok, obviously dreaming). I turn around to get the boys…because even in dreams, I don’t deal with people in bullet-proof vests. I take my position by Abe and the picnic table and put the “I’m an observer in my own dream” look on my face.
Jeremy and Curt talk to Kim (the super-ranger who has a gun and an SUV as opposed to a broom and a golf cart). It seems to go well. They return to the table and we get ready for breakfast. This is becoming a very long dream. Jeremy explains that Kim is a National Forest Ranger.
“Right,” I say, “because all park rangers wear a bullet-proof vest.”
“No, seriously,” he says, “she’s the real deal. Not the punch your ticket Park Ranger- a National Forest Ranger. They have serious clearance. Basically, like FBI.”
I stare dumbly at him for a very long second. “So…she’s real?”
“Yes.” He is slightly concerned.
“Was there a crazy man here last night yelling about the dogs and a chimpanzee?”
“Yes, Kate. He filed a report. He said he got bit on the knee. We signed it. Everything’s fine. He’s a nut. She was very nice.”
“Chimpanzee…knee. And the lady with the vest- she’s really a National Ranger?”
“Yes. Put it this way: if I catch a guy shooting off his front porch, I can write him a ticket. If Kim catches him shooting off his front porch, she can seize his house and everything in it.”
“Wow. I want to be Kim. Wait…so, JoAnn…you screamed back at him? All that was real?”
*very very looooooooong pause as my world re-aligns*
“Well, now I’ve lost my mind. I think I’ll be headed back to bed, thank you very much.”
Seriously, folks. NOT a dream…all of it real. But I’m back and we’re safe and we had a great time and I saw a real otter in the river. And, don’t ever ever mess with JoAnn.