Monday, May 31, 2010

Be There Or Be Square

I've heard it said that ninety percent of life is just showing up. I really don't understand how that is, although I recognize that the consequences of failing to show up are often serious. I guess it seems like being somewhere only matters if you have the means and inclination to do something when you get there. This lack of clarity on my part aside, I must concede the difficulty I sometimes have in being somewhere as promised.

I guess that badly contradicts my previously expressed attitude about not wasting other people's time, but there it is. I'm as fallible as anyone. I have identified two main problems which confound my best intentions of showing up on time or at all. The first is that of transportation woes. Even those with cars face this, and those without deal with it all the more. Too many times, I have wrongfully put my trust in the public transportation system, with the result being people in my life regretting having put their trust in me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No Going Back

Tariq Ibn Ziyad was a leading Muslim general in the eighth century, and was instrumental in conquering Spain. As the story goes, when his force landed on the coast, he gave the notable order to burn the ships. The message was clear, but he reiterated it in a speech to his men: the sea was behind them, the enemy in front of them, and their only chance of survival was victory. There was also Julius Caesar, who led his legion across the Rubicon in 49 BC. This was in violation of Roman law, which expressly forbid any general with an army from entering the city, which was demarcated by the river. It was an act of civil war, and one which could not be taken back. As he said, "The die is cast". Both men were, needless to say, ultimately victorious in their immediate goals.

I got to thinking about them while watching the recent (and final) launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. It was a rare newsworthy and non-sensational breaking story covered by 24-hour news networks. At one point after liftoff, it was noted that they no longer had the option of either returning to the launch pad or a secondary site in the event of an engine failure. For the astronauts aboard, there was no longer any possibility of surviving except absolute success. In their case, and in those of the above generals, what was required was unwavering and total commitment in order to preclude utter calamity. They had the fortitude to supply it, but many people in similar situations cannot.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Time Special And Solitary

I have written in passing about my attitude regarding the early morning, but don't believe that I have elaborated upon the very brief comments I made. As I said then, my feelings are very much in line with those of my father and the great Henry David Thoreau. The morning is a very special time when the day holds what I consider to be literally unlimited potential. At the hour of 5 AM, it seems to me that absolutely anything might transpire before one will have occasion to sleep again. The vast majority of the day's potential permutations are eliminated in short order, and that's part of what makes it so worth being up early.

Dad is really something where this is concerned. He's the chief inspiration for my feelings on the matter. He'll be the last man on Earth who gets up with the rooster, walks out to the driveway to get the paper, and then reads it with a cup of coffee before heading out to work. He does that every day, and not begrudgingly. Rain or shine, work day or weekend, he's up at the crack of dawn and joining the day on the ground floor. I would admire him greatly for nothing more than that. He's the model I strive to match. I would express similar if lesser praise about Thoreau, but I never met him.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Support Your Local Operator

Once upon a time, the call center capital of America was in Omaha, Nebraska. Many if not most of them were there. The reason I've read for this was that people from that area of the country are considered to have the cleanest, most universally understandable accent in the country. The book in which I read that upheld Johnny Carson, who was born in Iowa and spent most of his formative years in Norfolk, Nebraska,  as an example. I guess that in those days, calling an 800 number was a more pleasant experience. I know that it is not so today.

The chief reason is improved technology. As a result, call centers have largely been banished to overseas locales and automated systems have taken over much of the rest. This resulted in reduced customer satisfaction due to a frequent inability to understand the operator and a generally lesser competence in certain areas of expertise which one would call for help in. There has been a years-long backlash as a result, but I would have never thought that companies would respond by giving their customers what they want. I suppose I was mistaken, for I had an experience today which leads me to believe otherwise than I previously had.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Phase Four

As I noted at the time of this blog's belated first anniversary, it has gone through a lot of changes. I established it on a whim, having no purpose except a vague desire to start writing regularly. For some time, my commitment to it was half-hearted, sometimes posting half a dozen entries in a day and sometimes going a month or two without a word. Seldom were any of them of much substance. In terms of focus, the blog could have taken a lesson from a shotgun. In short, the blog was not much to speak of.

The first evolution was consistent frequency. I figured that even more essential to establishing a fan base than being any good was being reliable. I finally began to live up to my original intent, and began publishing every day. I started by ceasing to post multiple times in a given day. Where I would have posted all the results of such fits of productivity at once, I now began to post one and hold the excess in reserve. That way, when my best efforts at sticking to a routine of writing every day failed due to lack of ideas or energy, I had something to publish anyway. This became necessary only on rare occasions, as the act of writing soon became as automatic as reading always had been.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drink Of Choice

I'm not a heavy drinker, as I have noted in the past. I have my preferences, however. My first love, so to speak, was beer. On the night of my twenty-first birthday, I stopped at a grocery store on the way home from class, and bought a case of Miller High Life. For a long period after that, I would drink one beer a day, buying a new case of twelve each time the previous was exhausted. I would usually get whatever nice, ordinarily too-expensive microbrew was currently on sale. In that way, I developed my initial knowledge of beer.

Eventually, I got interested in stronger spirits. I had consumed wine on a number of occasions in youth during church services, and never really got anything out of the taste. The memory of communion is still the most powerful sensation I get from it. A bit later in college, I started trying different hard liquors. Vodka wasn't for me. It tasted like rubbing alcohol or lighter fluid. Rum was better. I enjoyed a Haitian variety I had. I liked Tennessee sipping whiskey. My favorite is George Dickel, which I came to after reading an interview in which Merle Haggard praised it without reservation. Irish whiskey was also good. I recall enjoying some Jameson's while singing along to Johnny Cash's "Sam Hall" one night in Chicago.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Beach House

I was fortunate in childhood that we had a beach house in the family. I got to thinking about it as an indirect result of Mother's Day. The gulf between the two things is wide, but I do tend to make leaps in thinking like that routinely, as acquaintances will attest. We went to that beach house often during summers. The memories of my experiences there are some of the fondest I can call upon, and I do so often. There were good times and bad, but I count them all as genuinely formative and truly cherish them.

The house was a modest one, but was warm and inviting. My father and his father built it with their own hands back when there was almost nothing out there and the land was within the means of a college instructor. Because it was built back then, it was much closer to the water than anything built after regulations got more stringent. A light on the back porch did nonetheless have to abide by laws protecting the sea turtles. They get confused by white lights, which I guess look to them like the moon or something.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Call Me Samson

I've had two haircuts in the last twelve months. The most recent was in December. The one before that was last May. It's my understanding that the average is about once every five weeks, so that puts me a good bit behind the typical pace. It's probably unsurprising that I obtained neither of those two haircuts on my own initiative. I don't like getting haircuts, and there is no mystery as to why. I don't like paying for them, for one thing. It seems like a needless expense, in a way. You don't walk away having gained something tangible, and what does result from it doesn't last. I'd rather have a new hat.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Means You

There are certain things one would think were almost included in the Twelve Labors of Hercules, but in fact are extremely easy things if people cared enough. Learning names is one. Some say that they're bad with names, but I bet that they learn the names of people they care about pretty well. I know I do. Also easy if you care is showing up on time. I haven't got a car. Sometimes it takes me two solid hours to make a trip that someone with a car can make in a quarter of the time. I still manage to be on time more than a lot of people.

This is because I respect the people I'm going to see, and value their time. It seems reasonable to expect the same in return. I figure that if I play my cards right and have some lucky breaks, I may have fifty more years ahead of me on this Earth. I don't mean to seem morbid or fatalistic. It's just my way of saying that life is short. It's so short that even those with no ambition wish they had more time, and I have a lot of ambition. I just have no time to spare, and I definitely have no time to waste. That leads me to consideration of the intolerable attitude many seem to have towards me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Triple H I Knew

I have always dearly loved my paternal grandfather Hollis, or as the Social Security Administration knew him, Hollis Howard Holbrook. There's nothing surprising about that. It's fair to say that since he died fewer than twenty months after I was born, he can have made relatively little impression on me in life. My affection for him is mainly based on materials that survived him and were there for me to find years later. I'm fortunate enough that his was a unique situation in that his blood relatives were not the only ones interested in documenting his life. The reason for that is that Hollis was a painter of some note, and therefore something of a well-known figure in his time.

He never quite achieved the level of acclaim he sought and worked so hard for, but was included in two Who's Who publications and has as a legacy to survive him a considerable amount of artwork and archival material in various media forms. He attended Yale and made a living as a young man painting for a New Deal program. He begrudgingly served his country in the Navy during the war, had exhibitions reviewed in the New York Times and served as the first chair of the University of Florida art department during a fifty year tenured career. I understand the tenure came in handy, as he evidently had a way of being rather abrasive with higher-ups at the school.

Friday, May 21, 2010

American History Excellent

A while ago, I was reading some Wikipedia articles on Phoenix TV stations, and reveling in the history behind them. Not for the first time, I thought about the education I got in history from my formal education in Arizona. I'd say there were gaps in it, but to be truthful, there were more gaps then there was education. Most of the history I remember learning before college concerned the founding of America and cursory coverage of the rest of the world. As far as local history, the only thing I ever got was the Native Americans. As far as I recall, Latino history consisted mainly of a loving tribute to Mexican food conveyed by a children's book. General local history was non-existent. To get any of it at the time, I had to skip ahead in the text books to chapters we weren't ever going to study.

I got more from college, but the vast majority of what I know I learned on my own initiative outside of any educational institution. I seem to have developed a reputation as something of an knowledgeable person, but know more about places I've never been than the place I lived in from birth to the age of twenty-three. That doesn't seem right, does it? I don't know what the reason behind it is. Often the  ills of civic pride are traced back to the paucity of native Arizonas and Phoenicians. A friend and fellow Arizona native and I played a state trivia board game one day years ago, and he just beat the hell out of me. I attribute that lopsided defeat to him being the son of natives, whereas I was born to parents from Connecticut and Florida.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Giving Unless It Hurts

My charitable spirit is, charitably speaking, a complicated one. I have written not so long ago about devoting a Saturday morning to cleaning up a park, and took part in literally more service projects than I can remember while a Boy Scout. I've given blood and been prevailed upon to give money to bums on plenty of occasions. As many times as I've given, there have been lots of times when I declined to give. I feel remorseful about that, but sometimes feel that even more when I give without wanting to (as with all of those bums).

I write this moments after a near miss of generosity. A kid came to the door looking to sell things as part of a fundraiser for a trip to Universal Studios. As a boy, I couldn't stand it when I had to do the very same thing. I was then much more socially awkward, but going door to door is still something I don't think I could bear. Part of the reason it was hard then and would still be tough now is that you have to try to sell things to people like present-day me. In truth, I was mildly intrigued by the $10 set of dominoes, but figured no good could come from a set the kid was selling. It had to be a sub-standard one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Out Of The Habit

As much social interaction as I have now with my always-expanding circle of friends and well-wishers, there remain a lot of things I do on my own. Some of them seem to require no conscious effort on my part to stay on the ball. Perusing the internet and watching TV are things which I find it easy to stick to. Likewise eating, at least most of the time. Other things prove to be a lot tougher, even if they're things I want to do. It seems like it might be interesting to consider why that might be.

I guess that there are a lot of things that I want to like, rather than that I actually like. I had made an effort to get into comic books, but got out of that after a number of weeks. Comics are not exactly like the laundry or paying bills- they're supposed to be fun and without any difficult hurdles to jump. They ought to be like ice cream- high reward, low effort. And yet, the pursuit of reading them is something I lapse from readily. I think that they are a deceptively difficult thing to keep up with. So it is, perhaps, with a lot of these things.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fording Fiestas: Part Two!

Yesterday I began the tale of my biggest social night since St. Patrick's Day. As with my most recent summer camp account, it felt too big to be contained by a single post.Yesterday, I told of a birthday outing consisting of tacos and Iron Man 2. Today, the remainder of the story. After we got out of the movie at the theater down around Vermont and Sunset, I said goodbye, and sallied forth towards the second event of the night.

At this point, I was flying by the seat of my pants, and nothing was certain. I knew that technically the party should still being going, and probably would be even when I could get over there. I was in a fortuitous spot geographically, and so was the second party. I merely had to take five or so minutes to walk over to the subway station, wait about ten minutes for the train, travel on the train about another ten minutes, and then spend a final five or so minutes walking from the train's terminus to the party. The only point of stress was uncertainty of what I would find at the party. Would it be a whooping and hollering good time I'd encounter, or a just-wakened party host made angry by my arrival long after the guests had gone?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fording Fiestas

There recently was another of those rare experiences that warrants being reported to you as is, without any regard for finding the universal or timeless in it. I imagine it may just be in there anyway, but for once, being topical and unique might be to the story's benefit. Now, there were two separate parties to get to. I decided to do my best to make both events. I observed from the invitation of the original event that it was schedule to go on until two in the morning. Now, I know full well that the scheduled end of the party is in play as much as is its beginning. No one shows up for a while after the start, and the effective end depends entirely on how the party is going. Still, this was my plan.My account of the night shall be presented in two parts. Today, the first part of the night.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sally Forth Onto the Battlefield

I present another poem, like it or not. I might have mentioned before either of the two I've posted previously (the first being this one, and the second this)that I have not written very many, though I may have read a few more than the average person. I like to think that I have most of the fundamental knowledge, though. As I've said, I like to play with words like the parts of a clock. Perhaps my inexperience in poetry could be called an advantage of the kind enjoyed by Orson Welles as he left theater and radio behind in favor of motion pictures. Probably that's not the case, but it gives me enough confidence to take a stab at poetry.

This is what's called a Roundel. It's a variation on the French Rondeau form, which was most famously employed for John MaCrae's World War One poem, 'In Flanders Fields'. I would have written one of those, but got the idea that I would rather not do so in English, in spite of the fact that there's obviously no prohibition against it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sweating The Small Stuff

One of my many faults is a consistent inability to correctly judge what problems warrant my worry. I'm no different than anyone in that many bad things both large and small transpire within my sphere of awareness. Maybe more than my share directly concern me. At any rate, a person will burn up quickly if they expend themselves in anxiety over every little thing. More than the very most consequential is just too much a burden for any human. This is something that I can say to be true but have no internalized understanding of. I think that was true of most wisdom espoused by Ben Franklin, so maybe I'm not in such bad company there.

I made reference once to a particular Metro bus driver. After riding her bus out to South Pasadena so many times, I had flattered myself into thinking that I had an unspoken but friendly rapport with her. I happened to be riding on her bus while in the company of a friend one night, which meant that for the first time I was engaged in conversation rather than reading or typing something up on my phone. When I'm speaking enthusiastically, I'm speaking at a deafening volume. That's a problem in libraries and peoples' homes late at night, but never before had it been an issue on a city bus to my knowledge.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Master Procrastinator

Something that's interesting to think about is the way that people will delay doing something that they don't want to. I don't think animals do this. I don't know if that's because they aren't sophisticated enough to dislike and reject instincts, or because they are sophisticated enough to just do things instead of putting them off. In any event, among the worst habits of humans is to let an issue get worse and worse because we can't handle the momentary discomfort of dealing with it. It ranges from the minor problems faced by so-called "every-day people", such as doing the dishes, to those which lay before world bodies, such as our domestic issue of immigration or the world's problem of climate change. Be it a slob like me in my apartment, or the allegedly august and wise US Senate on Capitol Hill, this is how we are.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whether The Weather

As I have written, summer is just about upon us, and it's a time when the weather is very much on my mind. For most people I know, the weather is largely something experienced while traveling between the car and an air-conditioned building. To some extent, that's true even for me, except that my domicile offers relatively limited protection from the elements. Sure, it keeps out precipitation, but little else. Even if we used the air conditioner, it's not central air. For that reason, I keep my window open most of the time, allowing in wind, noise and any living thing which can elevate itself to a second-story window.

Since I feel the effects of the day's weather more than many others, it's something on my mind. I notice the warmer and cooler days and nights. I make more deliberate effort to cope with them while at home, and suffer perhaps a bit more while in transit, as I am often moving around on foot. You understand,  I'm neither bragging nor attempting to solicit sympathy. It's just how things are for me. I like to think that it makes me a bit more of an interesting person, taking the burden off my personality to do that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Did I leave X at your place?"

An alarming recent trend has been the rise in the leaving behind of personal possessions when I go places. Lately it has been books- one was lost for good a number of weeks ago, and a whole string of them have gone missing only to turn up later. Losing things is an old habit for me, and one which I kind of thought for a long time that I had gotten better at. In grade school, I went through a lot of jackets, and a whole lot of anonymous kids somewhere were wearing them as I would move on to another one. I still remember wistfully the reversible jacket which was red on one side and, I think, denim on the other. It was gone forever one day when I left the school grounds too excitedly.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

That's The Name Of That Tune

Recently, the Social Security Administration released the most recent list of the top names for newborn babies in the US. The top names names for girls and boys were, respectively Isabella and Jacob (the latter being on top again for the eleventh year in a row). Of considerable interest to me, of course was my own first name: Calder. Other people have frequently expressed some level of fascination with my name all my life, and they had invariably never heard of it before. It's not one of those bizarre names applied to children by whacked-out celebrities, like Moon Unit or something like that, but it's statistically about as uncommon.

Readers will recall that I yesterday posted on this blog an open letter to the only other person with my first name that I have ever met. As I noted, that was years ago. More recently, there is or was in my very apartment building a man with Calder as a surname. He and I have occasionally been delivered each other's mail by a surely harried and over-worked mail carrier. The two encounters were most unnerving for me, as I have felt an exclusivity something like the only man on earth where names are concerned. I rather had gotten to like that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Open Letter

Dear Calder,

It's been years since our encounter, and while I've made no attempt to reach you, I've thought about you often. I imagine you may have thought about me. I speak of you to friends frequently, as they often inquire of me whether I've ever met anyone with the same name. "Only once," I tell them, "and it was pretty uncomfortable for both of us". It seemed so for you, although it may have been your age that gave me that impression. You were a camper of perhaps twelve, and I was a college-aged staff member of the camp: the disparity makes any attempt at a friendly exchange problematic, regardless of obvious common ground.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Ponies

We are presently in the midst of horse racing's vaunted Triple Crown season. It's the only five weeks of the year that the erstwhile sport of kings garners anything like the mainstream attention it once had as one of the few acceptable outlets for the American gambler. Lest it sound as if I'm knocking the sport, I hasten to add that I'm at least a casual fan. It's difficult to take more interest in it than that given the few people I know who have any interest, not to mention the serious problems which threaten the sport's long-term viability.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I've written about getting hurt on various occasions. There was the roller skating incident, for one. I made reference to an escalator incident. One I don't believe I have mentioned involved a marble coffee table. The most recent have had to do with, in order, a double-bladed axe, a window-mounted air conditioning unit and a cheap pair of sunglasses. To write of these and others yet untold makes me realize how, in spite of never requiring hospitalization any time I can remember, I have incurred numerous minor injuries, and have at least my share of scars.

At the moment, I count two permanent scars. One happened so long ago, I has no conscious memory and it has no emotional weight for me. It's in a prominent place, but thankfully is not terribly visible. People seem to not notice unless I draw their attention to it. The other permanent mark is in a less prominent place, and also seems to be illusive to the observer even when it is pointed out. Of course, it seems as if this always happens in poor light, so that may play into it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Face

Facial expressions can be quite revealing about a person, obviously. I know mine tend to be. What I wonder- what's uncertain in my mind- is whether the face itself, regardless of any expression it takes on, tells any kind of truth about the possessor. The discipline of phrenology thought that the shape of the head in general could reveal a person's whole story, more or less. The brown, the chin, the jaw, the cheeks and more indicated intellect, character, backstory and all, according to adherents of it. Some people will have some kind of porcelain or ceramic bust with the whole thing mapped out on it.

I don't put any stock in phrenology, and anyway, it's mainly the face that interests me- specifically my own, of course. I wonder endlessly whether it is reflective of my true self in any way when passive. I have the suspicion that it's imposing, reflective of a hard, humorless, perhaps inscrutable person. Every attempt to prove or disprove this via query of a friend has resulted in dead end. It seems that it's not a question that anyone can take seriously. Is that in itself an answer?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Before the Featured Presentation, A Villanelle

From time to time, I'm moved to write some poetry. Not too much, because it's well-known that dedicated poets are utterly repelled by all prospects of steady income, but I do have some interest (and, God help me, perhaps some very small measure of aptitude). Today I attempt the form so successfully undertaken by such luminaries as Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath. The tone of the piece seemed called for after yesterday's post.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Home State Blues

I've always been very proud of where I came from. I cannot imagine feeling anything but love and gratitude for the city and place which was so instrumental in making me what I am. I couldn't understand when others born there derided it and left, and took personal offense. Even when I left, it was not about any dislike for what Arizona was- there just seemed to be only one place where I could make a living with my education and talents, and it was Los Angeles. Sure, I've always been frustrated by the prevailing political slant of the state, but feel for the first time shame and embarrassment.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The summer is coming, and this year I hope to really take advantage of the things that make it a good time of the year. I've written exhaustively about how I have spent that time in the past. One doesn't have to work  at doing summer things while at summer camp. On the other hand, it has made the range of my summer activity experiences somewhat limited. Apart from camp, I have spent some time at the beach in past years, and a lot of time at the ballpark lately.

As I said, this has got to be the year I open things up. I almost got into something that would have begun this fairly well- a baseball league out in Pasadena. Rec league athletics- that's something that people do in the summer, right? The key thing is outdoorsy and other seasonal stuff. The beach is the thing I hope to do a lot of. Perhaps finally going to the pool is something I could do. There's one right in my building, and yet I haven't set foot in it during the past two summers I've lived here. That's something I'm constantly guilty of- passing up even the easiest and closest to home stuff for no good reason.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Roped Into Charity

I was asked if I wanted to help clean up a park over the weekend. One of LA's city councilmen was putting on a series of projects to beautify neighborhoods, and friends of mine were getting into it in large numbers. I would otherwise likely have paid no attention to the enterprise, but was glad to pitch in alongside my comrades. I earnestly believe it would be a good time, and it was.

It was something like service projects I had taken part in while active in the Boy Scouts. The effort required then was more, but the esprit de corps was no less in this current civic endeavor. Of course, I wasn't wild about the early hour I had to get up. Others could get up later, but I was up at 6 in the morning because I wanted time to myself before heading out at 7:30 to meet a friend at 8. We grabbed a bit of breakfast at a coffee shop. The coffee was fine, and I guess the egg muffin sandwich was fairly good too. It was a more ample approximation of the signature breakfast item made by the major fast food chain, and consisted of higher-quality ingredients. I guess I would complain that the turkey bacon got lost amidst the egg and muffin.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Summer Camp, Part Three: Geronimo junior staff- Chapter Five

Today, we reach the thrilling conclusion of my latest summer camp remembrance. For those just coming in, I highly recommend reading the last four posts in advance. Yesterday, I had just finished telling about the weekend and downtime activities.

As I said, Sunday morning was also off-time, and work responsibilities only began with the campwide fire-drill. Staff and campers would assemble as a test of fire-preparedness, then there would be an interminable series of announcements given to the campers after most of the staff had gone to lunch. Following lunch, we would open up our areas. At the Nature Lodge, we did two things in the afternoon: supervise the campers as they looked at and handled the animals, and lead the nature hike. The latter was something each troop had to do to win some award. It was a half-hour hike during which one of us stopped to point out a variety of plants and give a little speech about them. Most treacherous were the blackberries (by a creek with a too-inviting log bridge) and the poison ivy. Every day, we would be assigned to scheduled troops, and seldom escaped it except on our off-days.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Summer Camp, Part Three: Geronimo junior staff- Chapter Four

The tale of my early days working at summer camp goes on. The last three posts are best read before this one.

After a week of prepping the camp and training on the material we'd be responsible for, it was time to open the gates for campers. The schedule was a little different for the staff, or at least it felt that way from the staff's perspective. Saturday was the one free day for most departments, including ours. It was the day of transition for campers, and a work day for Headquarters and Aquatics. The first week, it was just new campers coming in, but in subsequent weeks, the previous week's campers would leave in the morning, and the newcomers arrived a bit later that day, leaving a short window when it was just us again. Even as campers began to settle in, most of us were free to occupy ourselves as we wished. You went to town if you could, or did something else recreational.