If you didn’t already know this, I am incredibly clumsy. Therefore, I tend to hurt myself a lot. It’s not always something big. I might just jam my fingers or develop a bruise of unknown origins. But it happens All. The. Time. At camp, my clumsiness is even worse.
At home, I tend to stay locked away in my room writing or reading (my family calls my room “The Cave”). I don’t get injured very often then. However, at the summer camp where I work as a lifeguard, I’m almost always up and moving about. I’m not allowed to bring my laptop with me, so I’m forced to leave my bunk and socialize, which, if I’m being honest, is probably good for me. I go on hikes, play with kids, play billiards, and generally wander around. Of course, there’s also the pool where I work. It has lots of slippery surfaces and sun exposure and random really heavy umbrella stands (I skinned my right thumb the first week trying to move one of the stands), so of course I’m going to hurt myself there. In addition to the skinned thumb, I also got badly sunburned on my shoulders, thighs, and the tops of my feet that first week. The shoulders and thighs weren’t so bad, but the pain from the feet was radiating down the inside of my feet making it a bit difficult to walk.
And then there’s the bugs. This don’t have as much to do with clumsiness on my part (although, I have stupidly wacked myself in the face in an ambitious attempt to kill a horsefly. Curse them!), but they are still something that cause me extra pain and frustration. We’ve got mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, wasps, and plenty of giant spiders. Of course, that’s only listing the ones that bite and/or sting. The mosquitos and spiders actually bother me the least. We’ve got a truck that sprays stuff to kill mosquitos, and unless you spend an inordinate amount of time in the woods, the spiders won’t bother you. Mainly, it’s the horseflies and deerflies. The wasps, especially the mud daubers will leave you alone for the most part, but the horse and deerflies are aggressive little things. They will chase you all the way from wherever you came from to wherever you’re going. If they don’t bite you, it’s because you or someone else killed them. Their tenacity would be impressive if it wasn’t so annoying. Also, I’ve about decided that I’m allergic to deerflies.Every time one of them bites me, I get massive one or two inch welts in the same spot. I’ve got one on my foot right now that driving me up the wall!
The point I’ve been trying to make here is that I get injured a lot. It’s not always my fault (but it usually is). My friend and fellow lifeguard, Sharon, actually has a specific look for those occasions of pain and humiliation. It’s something between consternation and pity. I see it quite often, usually accompanied by the phrase, “Oh my word.”
Every summer since I started working at camp I get to the point where I promise myself, “I’m not going to get hurt this week.” This week, it didn’t work out (not entirely my fault; someone ran over me while trying to tag a kid), so I’m going to have try harder next week.
Ugh. Pray for me.