house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Geo Cache

Two days ago I took my flu up the hill. Face chapped, throat dry and stinging, and my left eye never stopped streaming. A clown, in schoolgirl-navy coat and someone else's gloves. The only thing that made me recognisable at all was the notebook in my pocket, and the pen (walking is where I get ideas and words, both - I can say that now - a professional necessity. So I never walk as much as go scouting and reaping...)

Photo by Magnus Wolfe Murray, proving that January can look like June

I sat down on a rock, with my pen and my notes (and my crying left eye and my snot). Despite these clear signs of plague, would I be left alone, eyes closed, chapped face turned to an equally pale sun (the kind we used to call "sharp-toothed"...)? Would there be a blog if I had? 

"Ehm, hello?" (strident voice). I jumped.
"Sowy. Can you take pictuwe?" A man, Asian-looking, holding out his phone. 
"And one mowe?" after I took a baker's dozen.

Another couple, I should mention now, loitered on a grassy ledge. Did they want pictures taken too? No - they just stood hunched over their phone, then took three steps one way, consulted the phone again, changed direction, counted steps, asked the phone, and so on. They were just being weird. I resumed my meditation-on-the-rock (sometimes ideas wanted to be chased at a trot, other times, lured and trapped. Besides, closing my eyes stopped the one-sided tears, I had noticed, and the nose). 

"Can we borrow your pen?" 
I jumped again. It was the young man of the loitering couple, an American. (Did one of them have dreadlocks? Was one of them bald? Did any wear jeans? Was there a backpack slung over a shoulder? I remember nothing. They credit writers with great observation skills. I repeat: I remember nothing. So depressing. Draw your conclusions. All I write, I make up.)

The Americans took my pen, unscrewed a muddy tube and extracted a rolled-up paper. While they scribbled, to pass the time, I asked:
"Time capsule?"
"Geo-caching" one of them (I don't remember who) replied. ("Geo-catching" they said to be precise, and I googled it and found that they had meant cache, definition: hiding place) Apparently it's what you do, these days, when you don't play Pokemon Go. Geo-caching involves a smart phone, an app, some coordinates, some clues, in other words a treasure hunt; when these two found their cache, they wrote their names, marked it on their phones as found, and hid it back. It was their first in Scotland, they said, but they had found 178 in the States (I don't remember the number; I made it up. I'm sure it was almost 200.)


There was no peace for me that day, or pause from sniffing and sneezing, and no cache of ideas, or poetry, or Vora moments on the hill. But what if?.... 

And so I did: I took a page from my notebook and wrote down a little poem (a small silly one I had written in that very spot, 22 years ago); then I "poem-bombed" the American's cache; hiding, in other words, the poem in the tube.


I went back today, to check on it. I saw my poem as a kind of blogging-minus-the-internet; I imagined geo-cachers' surprise and pleasure; they would add words, make notes, draw. I would have an audience of weird big children with phones and dreadlocks and hiking boots. We would start a world-wide trend. 

The muddy tube was there, minus my poem. Oh well. Some things go viral. Others just go missing. 


At 13 March 2017 at 14:47 , Blogger Magnus said...

I love the idea of this new age treasure hunting:)

At 19 March 2017 at 15:08 , Anonymous Alina said...

This geo-caching sounds really exciting. Sorry about the poem going missing - although somebody must have loved it a lot to take it!


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