I am Summer Camp Instructor.

I’ve switched into some alternate mode of existence. I am a jungle gym. I am a megaphone. Sometimes I am a marching band, sometimes I am a sheep herder. I lie peacefully motionless in my backyard most evenings. I eat, sleep, dive headfirst into a hyena den, and repeat. I am a summer camp instructor.

At the climbing gym, we encourage being a monkey. We play monkeys vs. alligators, where the monkeys must stay on the walls as long as possible, outclimbing challenges and the treacherous alligators that lurk below. Perhaps this inaugural camp game channels us all over into an alternate cercopithecine reality where primal instincts, snack-time, and chaos reign.

Cercopithecine….And funny words. Funny words — in fact any words written in the tactile universe around you — take on a new compulsive quality. Cercopithecine is a fancy adjective for monkey; like bovine for cow or percesocine for barracuda. It’s impossible to stop reading any words, really, and signs like “CENTRAL PAVILLION AHEAD” must be read aloud & dramatically, regardless if the campers are with you or not.

bananagator

Bananagator?

Snack-time is a holy undertaking, enjoyed equally by the campers and instructors huddled amidst the jungle. An hour later, I found myself on my knees as an alligator, yelling to the monkeys above that they are hungry and “MUST GRAB A YELLLOWWW BANANA.” Each monkey must grab onto a yellow hand-hold. In 10, 9, 8, 7,…Anyways.

I make sure I’m in bed by ten now. My bad ankle hurts a lot but I am on my feet, and that’s all that matters in the jungle. I spend most evenings making dinner and tomorrow’s lunch, and lying outside below the evening sun. I sing a lot: in the kitchen, on the sidewalk, to my parents and campers and co-instructors, on and off the job, in the shower. I yawn a lot. I held a camper’s hand today.

It’s bringing me back alive 🙂

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