The recap of Day One is hugely long, and it took me longer to write the recap than it took to WALK the freakin’ thing, so if you want to simply skim the text and check out the pictures, be my guest. It’s not like there’s going to be a test (what color sportsbra was I wearing?), and in fact not like I’ll even know one way or the other, so do whatcha wanna do, yo. (I’m sorry. That declaration seemed to call for a "yo".)

I didn’t sleep terribly well last night, worried that neither of my alarm clocks would go off, and so I woke up at least once an hour to check the time, afraid that I’d overslept.

Of course, I didn’t oversleep, and when the alarm went off at 4:00, I leapt out of bed and ran to the shower like the hounds of hell were after me.

I had no blowdryer – there are no electrical outlets on the 3Day, you know – so I didn’t have to mess with my hair, and after showering, dressing, and checking 345,000 times that I had everything I needed in my fanny pack (spf 30 sunblock, lipbalm, needle, athletic tape, camera, extra film, water bottle, cell phone (not for use during the walk!), visine, bodyglide, and wallet containing photo id, credit cards, and cash) and on my body (yellow coolmax shirt and black coolmax shorts; coolmax sports bra (white); coolmax underwear, thorlo socks, New Balance 1120 running shoes, anti-pronation inserts, cotton 3Day shirt, yellow windbreaker/ rain jacket, sunglasses, bright yellow cap), and checking to be sure I hadn’t left anything behind (I hadn’t), it was 4:25. I sat and tried to relax while watching TV until 4:40, when I went to check out and look to see if the bus to opening ceremonies had arrived.

There were other 3Dayers wandering around, some checking out, some partaking of the hotel-provided breakfast, and others just standing around chatting. I talked with one woman who said that it had been really noisy right outside her hotel room and she hadn’t gotten much sleep.

The busses were on the other side of the hotel, and I handed my luggage to the busdriver, who had offered to store it for me, and got on the bus, which was only about one-third full. Eventually a woman sat down beside me, but we didn’t talk much, and I just kind of zoned while listening to the conversations around me.

I didn’t get a picture of the luggage trucks, so I stole this one from the Pallotta page, so you’d have an idea of what it looked like. Luckily, my bag was bright screaming yellow (you’re surprised?), and easy to spot among the other bags.

The bus left exactly at 5:01 (we’d been warned repeatedly that the busses would be leaving the host hotels at 5:00 sharp), and we arrived at Lake Lanier half an hour or so later. We were dropped off near the luggage trucks (my assigned luggage and tent number was C-55, so I had to look for the "C" truck), and I dropped off my bag and headed off to breakfast, which was taking place by the main stage, which was also where the opening ceremony would be taking place. The breakfast provided was of the continental variety, with danishes, various fruits, coffee, juices, bagels, and muffins available. I grabbed a raspberry danish, orange juice, and a banana, and sat down out of the way of the people walking around, on the asphalt parking lot, near a crowd of other women who were doing the same. I perused the "3Day Today", a one-page daily newspaper handed out at breakfast that included an inspirational story, the route length (20.92 miles), the location of each Grab & Go and Pit Stop (more about those later), the camp hours, an elevation map, announcements, and all sorts of interesting stuff.

You can see the stage way off in the distance.

After eating, I visited the porta-potty, grabbed some water, watched the people around me (there was much squealing and hugging going on), and paced nervously while waiting for the opening ceremony to start. When I saw the beginning of the sunrise, I slathered every uncovered part of me with my 30 spf sunblock (see, Jayne? I WAS wearing sunblock!), slathered all the chafe-prone parts of me with bodyglide, and then paced back and forth some more.

At 7:05, an incredibly cheerful woman came onstage – I couldn’t really see her, since I was pretty close to the back of the crowd, near the starting gate where the walk would start. We had a 5-minute group stretch, and since I couldn’t really hear her very well, I just did what everyone else around me was doing, which included a lot of arm-swinging and marching in place. Once she left the stage, someone came out with a white flag, and they played a pre-recorded poem read by Dan Pallotta entitled "I Surrender", and someone carried a white flag. Again, since I was so far back I could only hear about every other line of the poem.

Someone from Pallotta Teamworks came out and made a speech (and started it by saying "I’m not going to make a speech". Heh), the subject of which completely escapes me at this moment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a notebook with me to make notes, and so five days later I only remember that there was a speech made. I do remember that we were told that the 2,700ish walkers there had raised $4.4 million between us, which is just incredible.

Finally, another person from Pallotta Teamworks came out and recited this speech, which starts by asking everyone to hold the hand of the person next to them. Holding hands with two women I didn’t know, listening to the speech – and I could hear every word of it – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience by the end of the speech, mine included. It sounds cheesy, but I felt as if, for once, I was part of a great thing bigger than myself and what I brought to the event. There was silence once the speech was over, and we watched the circle of survivors walk from the stage to the back of the crowd.

And then, we were off. Across the parking lot, down the hill, this great mass of walkers went, applauded and cheered on by volunteers and crew. I took pictures of the unending stream of walkers ahead of me and behind me but honestly, the pictures don’t accurately describe the awesome mass of 2,700 walkers walking. It was a wave of humanity as far as the eye could see, and the sight defied description, except to say that it was incredible.

There were walkers – the greater majority of whom were women – on all sides of me, of all sizes, shapes, and ages. I settled into a comfortable pace and listened to the conversations around me (I’m a total voyeur, if you hadn’t guessed), and there was usually something fairly interesting to listen to.

Ahead of me for a while were three walkers wearing New York 3Day shirts. The New York 3Day was originally scheduled to take place beginning September 14th, and for obvious reasons it was rescheduled for the end of October. These three walkers had decided to walk the Atlanta 3Day, instead. One of them had a walking cast on her left leg, intent on walking at least a few miles each day. I heard later that she hopped on the sweep van at the first pit stop, which means that she made it 3.34 miles. Pretty good for a woman with a broken leg, I think.

One of the many cheering stations we passed, where people were holding up signs and, y’know, cheering.

Also ahead of me for a while was a redhead with a zebra-print-covered prosthetic leg, built especially for her to walk the 3Day, with shock absorbers on the bottom. She lost her right leg to bone cancer 21 years ago, and she was trucking along at a pretty good pace, though I did eventually pass her.

That’s right, I was occasionally passing people. Can you believe it? I was amazed at myself.

Behind me, I heard the story of a woman whose company was supposed to sponsor her for $1,000, and then she got laid off, and they reneged. She was $850 from the $1,900 minimum, and she was planning to self-sponsor the $850. Pretty determined, wasn’t she, to kick in the $850 when she didn’t have a job? Anyway, she said that when she was standing in the Pledge line, she told someone her story, and before she knew it, people were passing their extra pledges to her.

I hadn’t realized you could DO that, pass your pledges to people who hadn’t met their minimum! If I’d known, I would have handed off the $300 in pledges I’d brought with me.

We passed more than one kudzu-covered hill – and you KNOW how much I love the kudzu! I should have had someone take my picture in front of it, but it was the beginning of the walk, and I didn’t want to stop for silly reasons like having my picture taken with kudzu. One woman launched into a long lecture on the history and growth of kudzu, which I half-listened to, while wondering to myself just how damn hilly this walk was going to be.

Fairly hilly, was the answer. It appears that northern Georgia is kinda hilly. Who’d’ve thunk it? And did I train on hills? Did I follow the advice of my 3Day book and be sure to get some hills in, huh? Well no, of course I didn’t. Nary a hill did I walk during all those miles upon miles of training, which I believe snags me the title of Dumbass Supreme.

Anyway, after a few gentle hills, we came upon Grab & Go A, which was located at mile 1.5.

Brief note, here. Grab & Gos provide the walkers with water, gatorade, and port-a-potties. Pit Stops, on the other hand, are larger and provide snacks, tables of stuff to treat your blisters, sunblock, bug spray, and at the later pit stops, there were medical tents (though now that I think about it, there may have been medical tents at all of the pit stops – I just didn’t notice them at the earlier ones). Some of them had themes – one had a military theme, where crew members were dressed in camouflage and yelling things like "Drop and give me ten stretches!" Another crew member was handing out red, white, and blue ribbon pins, which was neat. Snacks at the Pit Stops ranging from the sweet (cookies) to the chewy (granola bars) to the fruity (bananas, oranges) to the salty (pretzels and chex mix).

I made a stop at the port-a-potty – except for one memorable exception, the port-a-potties weren’t bad, aside from the fact that they were, y’know, PORT-A-POTTIES, but they were clean and there was hand sanitizer available all over the place – and then filled up my water bottle with a 50% water, 50% gatorade mixture, and was on my way.

Just so you know, I LOATHE gatorade, but I didn’t want to become hyponatremic, so I drank the damn stuff. See what a good girl I am?

One of the many traffic guys. I don’t know if he was crew, or a volunteer, or what, but these guys were everywhere.

After the Grab & Go, we hit a few serious hills, during which I noticed that I had the tendency to go faster uphill and slower downhill. There were crew members manning each intersection, directing traffic and watching to be sure we wouldn’t get run over, and at one of the intersections, a biker-type guy repeatedly yelled "Whazzzup?" as he waved us through, which was pretty funny. Sweep vans drove by every few minutes, as did cops on motorcycles, some of them blasting music, some of them yelling encouragement, and some simply waving.

One of the many Grab ‘n Goes. See the kid’s pool next to that woman wearing the gray crew shirt (on the left)? That pool was filled with ice and bottles of water and gatorade.

Pit Stop A was at 3.34 miles, and it was pretty packed. There was a long line for the table of snacks, but rather than joining the line, a LARGE number of people just kept cutting in. Not one to bitch out loud, I kept my peace and simply waited my turn. I grabbed a couple of orange quarters and a granola bar, some water and gatorade to replenish my supply, stopped and stretched for 5 minutes, and then was on my way again.

It was repeated over and over again that we were to stop and stretch 5 minutes for every hour of walking. I was diligent about stretching as often as possible, and I thank my lucky stars that I did – I can’t imagine how I would have felt Saturday morning if I hadn’t.

All morning long we alternated between sidewalk walking or, when there was no sidewalk, walking single-file on the thinnest little piece of asphalt at the side of the road. As time passed, the crowd thinned out as the faster walkers moved ahead and the slower ones moved behind. I would venture a guess that I was walking right around the middle of the pack, because I made it to each pit stop with at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours to spare before it’s closing time.

Somewhere between Pit Stop 2 and Pit Stop 3, a Traffic crew guy told us "You’re at mile 9.5, and lunch is at mile 11.5!" Damn, I got excited. Only two miles, and I could sit and kick my shoes off, eat lunch, massage my feet, change my socks, and just chill for a little while. Woohoo!

Well, that crew guy was a BIG FAT LIAR, because about a mile later, we hit Pit Stop 3, where we were informed that no, NOW we were at mile 9.4, and lunch was at mile 11.5. I dug the 3Day Today out of my fanny pack and verified that. Grrrr.

At some point, we passed an elementary school, where a crowd of kids were standing by the sidewalk, each of them waiting to give us a high-five and to cheer us on. A small group of boys told me I could take their picture if I wanted.

It was between Pit Stop 3 and the lunch stop that my feet started to hurt. Since I hadn’t trained on hills, that means I hadn’t gone either up OR down hills, and I’ve apparently got some sort of weird way of walking down hills that makes the bottoms of my feet start to really burn after I’ve walked down 63 hills. Time kind of stretched out like taffy, and when I was sure it had been at least 45 minutes, I glanced at my watch to find that it had been 7.

For future walkers, if you’re a watch-checker like I am, I’d suggest you either leave the watch at home, or stick it in a difficult-to-reach portion of your fanny pack.

Finally, FINALLY, I was thrilled to see that we’d reached mile 11.47, and I could have kissed the "Lunch Stop" sign and the crew chick sitting in the lawn chair informing us that lines for margaritas formed to the right.

Unfortunately, she was joking.

There were two lines for lunch, both of them 50 or so people long, and I joined the closest one. They both moved pretty quickly, and it wasn’t long until I got to sit down on a curb, kick off my shoes and socks, and eat lunch. As I sat there, the lunch line grew quickly longer, until it stretched past me. Everyone walking by eyeballed my lunch hungrily, and many people asked me how it was. I went from actually answeri ng, to just giving them the thumbs up and smiling, since my mouth was full most of the time.

It wasn’t bad, consisting of a grilled chicken sandwich, asparagus salad (which was a little odd), grapes, doritos, and oreos. I think I’m forgetting something, but that was most of it, anyway. The sandwich was a little dry, but with packets of mayo and mustard added, you hardly noticed.

Once I finished eating, I massaged my aching feet, put on new socks, put on more sunblock, and saddled up to head into the next 9.5 miles. I headed to the nearest trash can to toss my lunch trash, and as I turned away, I was approached by a grinning blond woman.

Again, NOT reader Susan from North Carolina.

"Hiiiiiiii…." she said with a half-smile. "Where are you from?!"

"Alabama…" I said warily.

"WHERE in Alabama?"


"I think we live in the same subdivision!" she exclaimed. She said the name of her subdivision, and damned if it wasn’t the same as mine. She went on to say that she’d been seeing me walk by her house for months, and she’d been meaning to come out and ask if I would be walking in the 3Day, but never got a chance to. We chatted for a few more moments, and then she went to stand in line for lunch, since she’d just gotten there. And I headed off to do some more walking.

I took this picture especially for the grammar nazi I live with. "Each of you are a lifesaver", says the sign on the side of the van.

I would say it was about 5 miles later that I started seriously considering flagging down the next sweep van that came along. My feet hurt like hell – much worse than they EVER thought about hurting when I was training – and I’m fairly certain that I wasn’t walking much faster than 2.5 miles per hour, and that only through force of will.

I began sitting down at each and every Pit Stop and Grab & Go to kick off my shoes and massage my feet. I’d developed blisters on the bottoms of my pinky toe and the toe next to it on each foot, and I wrapped athletic tape around each blistered toe. The arches of my feet were aching seriously, and all I could do was massage my feet. It became more and more difficult to get up and put my shoes back on, but I did.

Making sure we obey those traffic laws…

In retrospect, I’d like to go back and smack the hell out of myself. Would it have been better to NOT walk the last 4 or 5 miles? I think so. I think my sponsors (and readers) would have understood. But nooooo, I had to push myself to walk every mile of that 20.92 miles, whether it hurt or not.

Between Grab & Go E, at 16.75 miles and Pit Stop 5, at 17.86 miles, the route went from a nice, wide sidewalk on a busy road to a tiny little piece of pavement at the side of a busy road. It was horrible, and at some point, it began to rain. I must have started to zone out, because I stepped directly over a dead rabbit and didn’t even realize that it was there until the women behind me threw a minor "Ew! Dead rabbit!" gagfest.

We passed subdivisions with huge houses, and people stood in various locations to cheer us on. People starting asking with increasing frequency if I was okay, to which I responded with a nod and a thumbs up.

I asked someone to take a picture of me sometime before lunch. The black thing hanging behind my butt is my jacket. I tied the sleeves around my waist shortly after we began walking. The woman taking the picture insisted on the cheesy "thumbs up" pose.

I didn’t bother to stop at Pit Stop 5, since I had plenty of water/ gatorade, and all I wanted was to get the hell to camp.

Three kids standing by one of the big subdivisions gave me high-fives when I walked by, and told me I was two miles from the end. I wanted to cry – hadn’t I already walked, like, thirty miles? It sure felt like it.

I stopped at the last Grab & Go, located at mile 19.48, and dropped into an empty chair. A few feet away, a tall, thin woman was sitting at the base of a tree, crying. They radioed to the nearest sweep van to come pick her up, and when it got there, they had to convince her to get on. She needed help standing up, and as she limped across the grass assisted by two crewpeople, she quipped "I’m being kind by allowing others to help me!" My kinda gal, laughing through the tears. Several people boarded the van behind her, and god did I want to board the van as well, to sit in air-conditioned comfort that last mile and a half to camp. But the competitive devil on my shoulder wouldn’t hear of it. "A mile and a half? That’s less distance than home to the spud’s school and back!"

So off I hobbled. Busses of high-school kids went by, the kids hanging out the window and sincerely cheering us on, not being sarcastic or making fun of us the way I probably would have when I was a teenager. Or maybe they WERE making fun of us, and it just went over my head.

We reached a stoplight not far from the last Grab & Go (though it seemed like forever, of course), and the Traffic crewguy said "You can see where they’re crossing the road and then you’re there!" He was right, we COULD see where the people ahead of us were crossing from the left side of the road to the right, and then walking into the entrance to the Chattahoochee National (State?) Park.

And then I was there. Well, I was at the ENTRANCE to the park, but what they don’t tell you is that once you walk through the entrance, there’s another half mile or so to get to the other side, where the camp is actually located.

It was like the walk that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on, my friends. Some people START-ed walking it, not knowing what it was, and now they’ll go on walking it forever, just because, it’s the WALK that never EEEEEENDS…


Anyway, after walking across the park, chatting all the while with another walker whose name I didn’t retain, we arrived to the entrance at camp, where I begged a nice woman to take my picture. Which she did. Note that I couldn’t even dredge up a full smile for the event. It was about 5:00, I think.

I stopped by the check-in desk to give them my number – so they can have some idea of who might be missing when it’s time for the walk to close, I guess – and I grabbed a bottle of water and headed for the tents off in the distance to grab my luggage and find my assigned tent plot. I was lucky in that area C was near the front, and C-55, my assigned plot, was near the front of that section, but I was unlucky in that my tentmate hadn’t shown up, so the tent hadn’t been put up. Since the last time I went camping was when I was, approximately, 14 years old, I hadn’t clue one how to put the tent together. I dumped everything out of the bag and looked at the directions, my tired brain trying to figure out exactly what they meant.

I didn’t get a picture of our tent city, so I stole this from the Pallotta page, so you’d have some idea of what it looked like.

Luckily a woman who apparently took that whole HumanKind – be both to heart wandered by, and assisted me, for which I was and continue to be incredibly grateful. I dragged my bag into the tent with me, sat down, and kicked off my shoes and socks. Ahhhh, bliss. I dug around in my b ag for the sandals I’d brought to wear around camp, and for my bag of Day Two clothes (I didn’t bring any pajamas or sweats to wear around camp, ’cause I was getting nervous about the weight of my bag – we were limited to 35 pounds). I also grabbed my bag of toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, deodorant, and shampoo – and stood up.

Holy. Mother. Of. GOD. It was all I could do not to fall down, clutch my feet and beg for mercy. It felt like there were nails stabbing every tender inch of my poor, battered feet, and it wasn’t until I was barefoot that I actually realized how much cushioning my socks and sneakers had been providing. I forced myself to step out of the tent and head for the showers.

Which were waaaaaaaay on the other side of the tents. Remember how happy I was to be in section C? Well, the sections went from A to Z, and the shower trailers were beyond section Z. I literally hobbled to the showers, wincing with every step. Anyone watching me from behind would have thought I was in my 90s with a serious case of arthritis in my leg joints. I reached the shower trailers – there were, I think, 5 or so – and went to the towel tent to grab my daily ration of two towels.

The towels were not only scratchy, but also dishearteningly small. And with the size of my ass, I was pretty worried that I’d be flashing all and sundry in the locker room-type changing area.

I flung the towels over my shoulder and vowed not to think about it.

There were lines at all the shower trailers, and I joined the one that looked like it was comprised mostly of no-nonsense, no-fuss women. Each trailer was made up of two sides, and each side had, I think, 6 shower stalls. Our line moved pretty quickly, and before I knew it, I was walking slowly up the steps to the trailer door.

Rather than getting all stressed about trying to keep myself covered while undressing in the changing area, I just dropped my bag of clean clothes on a bench, and headed for an empty shower stall. The shower stalls were private, if you ignored the gap at each side of the curtain between the hallway and the shower stall, and I undressed quickly, then leaned out and tossed my dirty clothes under the closest bench. They were dirty, and I intended to stuff them in a ziplock bag, so who cared if they got wet?

There was plenty of hot shower water, and I tried to hurry, mindful of the line of women still waiting. Though I’d brought my own shampoo, someone had left a bottle of Avon shampoo in the stall, so I used that (there were tables of Avon shampoo, deodorant and lotion outside the shower trailers). There was a soap dispenser on the wall, but I used my own bar of Dove soap.

Once I was through showering, I wrapped one towel around my head and then tried to wrap the other around my body.

Ha. Since it wasn’t, like, a STRETCH towel or anything, there was a good part of me the towel wouldn’t cover. I turned the towel so that three or four inches of my side was showing, instead of my front or back, and went back out to the changing area. A problem with the changing area was that there was water out there about ankle-deep, and when you want to put dry clothes on, and keep them dry, it’s a difficult task.

And have you EVER tried to put on a sportsbra when you’re damp? In a humid environment? Leaning forward, with the towel kind of draped over my back to protect the eyes of those around me from my nekkidness, I attempted to put my sportsbra on. It got hung up in the back, in the one tiny little area that I couldn’t reach, and I couldn’t get it unrolled for love nor money. So I took it off, straightened it out, and tried again. Same result. Finally, pissed, I put my shirt on, because I was starting to get highly embarrassed about pretty much standing there butt-nekkid with the towel not really covering me. My shirt, I think I may have mentioned, was oversized for maximum coverage, so after I put the shirt on, I felt safe in dropping the towel and then putting on my underwear and shorts.

And then I had to make another go of it with the friggin’ bra. Since I’d dropped the towel on the FLOOR, like the dumbass I am, it was soaking wet. So I went for it. I yanked my shirt off and tried again with the bra. It hung up in the back this time, but not as high as it had before. This time, I was able to grab the back and straighten it out, then yank it down to the vicinity of where it was supposed to be. Then on with the shirt, and I grabbed all my stuff, stuffed it in my tote bag, and was out the door and hobbling down the steps, hanging onto the rickety stair rail for dear life as I went. I brushed my hair and teeth, then hobbled to the nearest tub of water bottles and grabbed a couple.

I’ll take a second here to say that the entire 3Day (well, at least the first day of it) was very well-run, and everyone seemed to know what they were doing, and did it well. One of the things they did awesomely was provide water and gatorade about every ten feet in camp. They were intent on hydrating you to within an inch of your life. After grabbing water, I made my zillionth trip to the port-a-potty, and headed back to my tent, with the intention of collapsing and downing half the (thankfully large) bottle of aspirin I’d brought with me. As I was hobbling along, my eye on the prize – ie, the "C" sign – someone turned and looked at me.

"Robyn!" she said, and I raised my eyebrows at her. "Are you Robyn?" she said, somewhat doubtfully.

"Yeah!" I said, and smiled. Too tired, I guess, to have the "Oh shit!" reaction.

Finally, I was face-to-face with reader Susan from North Carolina! She was very nice (well hell, she’s reading, what am I gonna say, she was a bitch from hell? No really, she WAS very nice. Now stop stalking me, Susan! :), and we stood and chatted for a few moments, me whining about my hurtin’ feet, and she basking in the glow that is bitchypoo. Finally, she ran off to join her friends (running like the hounds of hell were after her, I might add), and I resumed hobbling.

I’m kidding, of course. We had a very adult conversation, and Susan could barely tear herself away from me.

Anyway, I DID resume hobbling, and reached my tent, where I dug through my bag and pulled out my sleeping bag and sleeping pad. I downed several aspirin, glugged some water, and laid down for a few minutes while listening to the conversations around me. I was starting to get hungry – hard to believe, considering all the snacks I’d eaten – and I decided to head for dinner, call Fred after I’d eaten, and then perhaps go for a massage.

I was almost to the dinner tent when I changed directions and headed for the medical tent, intending to have them look at my feet and perhaps suggest something I could do to make them feel better. To my right, a small group of women were squealing and hugging each other, and I turned my head to watch them as I shuffled along.

Here’s where it gets embarrassing. Since I was watching them, I wasn’t watching where my feet were going, and I just kind of, well…

Okay, damnit. I TRIPPED OVER MY OWN FREAKIN’ FEET, stumbled, and as I stumbled, I twisted my left ankle, hard. I let out a pained "Oh!" as I stumbled, which caught the attention of a (cute little redheaded) crewguy, who came over to ask if I was okay.

I’m sure my face was bright flaming red as I told him I thought I’d hurt my ankle. I mean, to walk just under 21 miles in a day, and then hurt myself in CAMP, as I was WALKING across the LAWN, for the love of god? I mean, I’ve been walking for more than 32 years.


With the (adorable little redheaded) crewguy’s assistance, and the assistance of an older, stronger crewguy (lucky thing, too, since I would have probably snapped the little redhead in half if I’d leaned on him too much), I made my way to the medical tent.

So, as you all probably know by now, I sprained my ankle. The lady in charge – I assume she was a doctor, since they were c alling her doctor somethingorother (see how I go through life picking up subtle clues like that?) – told me she didn’t think it was a serious sprain and wasn’t – thankyajeezus – a break (they can apparently tell by the amount of swelling and the lack of (shudder) grinding noises when they were moving my ankle around as to how badly I was hurt).

What’d I do when I realized there’d be no more walking for me? I burst into tears, of course. Which they responded to by giving me hugs. People from miles around were coming to hug me. And while I usually just hate being touched by strangers (what can I say? I like my space), it wasn’t terribly awful.

Let me just take a moment, also, to note that more than being touched by strangers, more than being naked in a changing room with skinny women in incredible shape, more than cleaning out the litter box, more than anything on god’s green earth, I HATE crying in front of other people, whether I know them or not. Ask Fred, he’ll tell you that I haven’t cried in front of him for years. Which is not to say that I don’t cry, I cry plenty, I just cry in private.

Oh, isn’t that a sad little statement. Poor Robyn, off crying by herself, isn’t that sad and pitiful?

I don’t know why I hate crying in front of other people so much, except that maybe it’s that attractive cry face, and perhaps also the loss of control, and have you ever tried to talk while crying? Not a pretty sight, nor a pretty sound.

So, there were hugs all around, and someone suggested that perhaps I could ride the sweep vehicles for the next two days and help out that way – I guess they have contingency plans for people who are idiot enough to trip over their own feet – but honestly, once I realized there’d be no more walking, all I wanted was to be home.

I called Fred on the cellphone, and started blubbering and sobbing like a fool once he answered, and let me say this for the man: he may poke fun of me just a LITTLE too often sometimes until I want to smack him upside his smug head, but when it comes down to brass tacks, he’s supportive, and he knows what to say to get me to calm down. So I calmed down, and got off the phone with him, and someone from the crisis team (Pallotta Teamworks thinks of everything, I swear) came to fill out an incident report, and when they asked me what happened, I thought for a moment.

Then I said, "I know that in the Safety & Orientation video the guy said that accidents happen because you don’t pay attention. So I was VERY careful to stay alert all day long!" The crisis lady nodded encouragingly. "And I was alert and paying attention when I was walking across the lawn to the medical tent! I really was!"


"And?" the crisis lady said.

"I was just paying attention in the wrong direction!" I said.

They thought that was pretty funny, actually. We started a long discussion about where I was from and I told them that my car was at the DeVry park & ride, and the head crisis guy suggested that I FLY home and worry about my jeep later, then I suggested that since I’d hurt my left foot instead of my right, I should be able to drive home okay, and then HE offered that they could probably find someone to drive me home, and I countered with, "Uh, no. Get me to my car, and I’ll drive home", and he STRONGLY suggested that they send someone with me, and then I put my foot down and promised that if I got too tired or felt I couldn’t drive any further, I’d stop at a hotel. So they called a medical taxi for me to transport me to the park & ride, and helped me hobble to crisis control central (or whatever they called it) to wait for the taxi. The cute little redheaded crewguy went to my tent to get my bag, and they gave me a bag of ice, and an extra, to bring with my for my ankle. They suggested that I elevate my foot as much as possible during the drive, and I just nodded and refrained from pointing out that there wasn’t really a way TO elevate my foot in the driver’s seat of a Jeep.

I ended up waiting for, I think, about 45 minutes or so, but once I got in the taxi (it wasn’t really a taxi, actually. It was just a car driven by a local volunteer – apparently there was a mini fleet of them) it was only a matter of ten or fifteen minutes to get to DeVry. I hobble-skipped from the taxi to my jeep, while the driver lugged my bag over and tossed it in the back. Then she gave me a bottle of water and a handful of snacks for the drive home, gave me directions on how to get to Highway 400 South (she didn’t know that I had my set of anal directions all ready and waiting for me over the visor), and after I called Fred from the cellphone (I try not to talk on the cellphone while I’m driving, because I only have so much brainpower, and if I’m concentrating on talking on the phone, I’m probably not driving very well. Of course, I’m NEVER the best of drivers, anyway) I was on my way.

I had to stop once for gas, once for diet coke, and though I probably should have stopped around Birmingham for the night, it was only a little more than an hour from home, and I didn’t want to spend another night in a crappy hotel room. I wanted to be HOME, in my own bed, damnit! So I cranked the air conditioner to high, put on my Midnight Music cd (songs from the 80s, don’tchaknow), and around midnight I was home.

Thank god.