Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Story of the Light-Green Nalgene

What a weird start to 2008.

As the final hours ticked away on 2007, I still wasn't sure what I was going to do to finish off the year. I hung out with Tyler for a bit in the afternoon, and made plans to go to Caitlin's with Jeremy, Sam and Marc for New Years Eve. Tacoma was also an option, as was hanging out with Tyler and Renee wherever they went.

8pm rolls around, and Marc calls me, saying Sarah isn't going out and he probably isn't either. I eventually give Jeremy and Sam a call, and it sounds like the party is happening, so at 10pm I finally decide sitting at home alone probably isn't the best way to ring in the New Year.

I arrive at Caitlin's house around 10:30pm and Jeremy, Tanya, Sam, Jimmy and Greg are all there, so at least I know a few people. The party itself was a mostly a mix of ultimate players I had run into in the past either through the Sockeye guys or through the various Hat tournaments in the area. I met an old Moho guy I won naties with, Sam, and he was playing Beirut--good times. Jeremy and I actually played a game of Beirut earlier in the night, and it reminded me of Tahoe. Short table and all. I sunk a few, and blocked plenty of their bounce-shots, but I went cold and after the opposition's successful rebuttal, we eventually lost.

I hadn't really experienced a New Years House party like this before. Tons of good-looking people I didn't know, some ladies giving me long looks which I interpreted to be, "Come stand by me as the clock strikes midnight" looks. I didn't bite, but I probably should have. The entire house was packed with people, straight out of a movie like "Can't Hardly Wait."

Shortly after the countdown, I decided to make a break for it, along with quite a few other people. I'm sure a lot of folks are still raging, but I did enough raging this summer to last a lifetime. I rode home on my motorcycle and encountered an odd situation.

The ride home wasn't out of the ordinary, until I hit my home street. I rode on the freeway, took my normal exit and rode on 65th for a mile and a half before turning off on my home street. I am so used to the road, I know I'm home once I've turned onto the last block before my house.

This time was different though.

There was a group of I'd say six or seven guys walking on the sidewalk, coming towards me. I slowed down and watched one guy get the attention of a few other guys and point at me. I wasn't sure what this action meant. Were they checking out my bike? I didn't know. I cruised by them, then was about to hit the gas when I saw a little movement up ahead along the right side of the road, behind a parked car.

I slowed again and saw a girl, probably in high school or college, all dressed up and sitting behind a parked car. I didn't stop, but crazy scenarios whirled through my mind. Why on earth would a girl be all dazzled up and sitting behind a parked car in the street? Why would a band of guys be walking away from her and specifically pointing me out?

It smelled fishy to me. I wasn't really sure what to do, but I knew I had to do something. I couldn't just park my motorcycle and pretend that everything was alright. I circled back around and slowly approached the girl, eventually idling in front of her and asking, "Is everything alright?"

At first, she pretended not to hear me, but the street was dead and I was on a freaking motorcycle (which doesn't idle softly). I asked again, and she shook her head up and down and waved me on. Obviously everything wasn't alright, but I didn't have the first clue what to do. I looked up the street and spotted a few guys standing out in the street, looking at me. I didn't feel safe, and I know she couldn't have either. Had they mugged her or somehow taken advantage of her? I decided to bend to the out-of-her mind girl and take off, but I just took a left and circled around, parking at the intersection with a good view of the scene.

Moments later, a gaggle of four or five dolled up girls come out of a house (I didn't know there were any party houses on my block...). They hop in their car and then one of them shrieks, "Hannah? Oh My god! Hannah! Are you alright?" I watched them race over to her, and I eventually decided to take a little trek around the block and look for the guys to try and get a good look at them, in case something sinister had occurred. Silly, probably, but I wasn't sure what else I could do.

I didn't find the guys, but on my way back down the block five minutes later, I saw a couple guys on the block still, and a parked car with its lights on. The girls had moved "Hannah" to the car and she was passed out in the back seat. I saw all this at a glance as I rode past them, and decided to park the motorcycle at my house and grab my Nalgene. I filled it with water and walked up the street and the parked car was still there.

"Is everything OK?" I asked.

There was one girl in the passenger seat and two girls and Hannah in the back seats.

They said, "Yeah... well..."


"I rode by on my motorcycle and saw her sitting in the street, is she OK, does she need anything?" I said.

"Oh, I think she'll be OK," one of the girls in the backseat said.

"I brought water," I said.

"Oh! That would be great!"

Unfortunately, Hannah was passed out, and the blonde in the backseat kept trying to get Hannah to drink water--but she was passed the fuck out--so it didn't work out too hot. Hannah's phone rang, and one of the other girl's grabbed it.

"It's her Dad. He's coming to get her, what street are we on?"

None of the girls knew.

"30th" I said.

A minute later, an SUV pulls up and Hannah's Mom hops out.

"OK, what did she have to drink? Vodka and what else?"

"We don't know, she was fine one minute, then next thing we know she is out on the street," one of the blondes says.

"I was a high school teacher for 20 years, just give it to me straight, what happened?"

"We honestly don't know, we just saw her on the street."

Hannah was passed out, but breathing, so I walked up to the parked SUV, to Hannah's father and handed him my Nalgene of water.

"I live down the street and saw her sitting behind a car on the street. I think she is just passed out, but here is some water if she needs it."

He said thanks, and I can only imagine what punishment lies in wait for Hannah. I sort of assume it was just a New Years party where she got drunk and stumbled out into the street. I hope that is the case and nothing crappy happened to the girl, but that group of six or seven guys up the street has me wondering.

One of the weirdest things about the whole thing is that the Nalgene I gave to Hannah's father I actually found on an equally unlikely journey. On my hike up to the top of a mountain behind Angora Lake one day in Tahoe, to be precise. I was walking around the lake and decided "What the hay?" and climbed the high peak just behind the lake. The hike up took about 45 minutes, and I hiked down the opposite side I hiked up, and quickly lost the trail.

Most of the hike down was through loose gravel and brush, which obviously wasn't meant to be the trail. I tried not to alter the habitat too much, jumping from rock to rock, but sometimes I just had to plow through the thick brush to continue back down to the lake. I ran into a cliff once and hand to climb back up and around, but finally made my way back down to the lake. It was a very memorable experience, as it was only me up there, and if I had fallen off of the cliff, I probably wouldn't be here today writing this. It would have taken a long time before anyone found me out there.

As I was nearing the lake, I was in the middle of thick brush when I spotted something light-green. As I got closer, it turned out to be a Nalgene, complete with stickers and everything. There is no way anyone else had been on the same path I had been recently--because it wasn't a path! I'm sure there was a path close by that led to the top, but I was tromping through 3ft high bushes just trying to make my way back down to the lake. My theory about the Nalgene is that some skier in the winter lost it, and it stuck around undiscovered until I stumbled upon it in the middle of summer, in an area I shouldn't have been. In the winter, it would have been a marvelous ski route to those who like to hike in and ski out--which a few of my house mates had done earlier in the year.

So the light-green nalgene I've had since June, found on a solo hike in a place I should have never been, has now been handed off to the Dad of a teenage girl who I should have never met.

I hope the Nalgene keeps moving.

Does anyone have a spare Nalgene??



Blogger RaisingCayne said...

What a good sumeritan you are!

Nice story about the Nalgene. I imagine the teen's Dad will have it randomly gifted away very soon.

Happy New Year MHG! All the best in '08! ...

6:28 PM  

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