Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday: Scantily clad teens in distress

Last week I told you a story from Girls' Camp 1997. Today I'll be exposing a tale from another quintessential Mormon teen experience during the very same summer.

Between our sophomore and junior years of high school, my cousin Rachel and I took part in a program called Especially for Youth, or EFY. The session we attended was hosted at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The premise is similar to Girls' Camp, chock-a-block full of spiritually uplifting activities and wholesome camaraderie, except EFY attendees typically reside in college dormitories instead of cabins or tents. The most fundamental difference between the two events is that while one would never consider attending Girls' Camp intending to meet cute boys, that is the primary motivation of a teen heading across state lines to EFY.

Possibly due to the logistics of flight schedules, or possibly because our parents couldn't wait any longer to be rid of us, Rachel and I arrived on campus a day early. For a couple of moderately rebellious nearly-16-year-olds, the freedom was exhilarating. The campus was deserted, as it was summer term. Our parental release forms stated that there would be "minimal supervision in the housing area" for early arrivers. Awesome. We hit the local convenience store to stock up on necessities such as Cheese-Whiz and Twizzlers, and decided that we also couldn't survive the week without a couple of ringing toy cell phones filled with gumballs. This was back before children had their own cell phones, so they undoubtedly held the mystique of novelty.

My embarrassing scrapbook says that we stayed up until 3 a.m. “decorating” our dorm room. Corresponding photos indicate that the decorations consisted of collages of our high school friends and ROXY magazine ads, a Simpsons poster, and copious hand-written signs Scotch-taped to the painted cinderblock walls. The signs are barely legible in the small photos, but I can make out the words “Top Ten” on several, presumably homage to David Letterman, and I speculate that the rest are Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.

We opened our plastic phones and smacked away on the neon spheres of gum within. For some reason I felt that the sticker representing my phone’s buttons and screens was impeding my ability to fully enjoy it. This sticker was a stubborn one, so I attempted washing it off in the dorm room sink. The effort was minimally successful.

At some point in the wee hours of the morning, in what can only be explained as an attempt to increase our defiance quotient, we put on our bikinis. Our motivation for doing so is one piece of this memory tapestry that made no lasting imprint.

The teenage gaiety carried on: comparing photos of our boyfriends and discussing which swear words were cool and which were just going "too far.” Then all of a sudden, my imitation cell phone, previously drying peacefully near the sink, started ringing. And ringing. The tinny, electronic tune kept repeating over and over again. We jumped up and started pushing all the buttons, pleading with it to shut up. It soon became evident that there would be no stopping the foul beast. A couple of minutes passed, with the irritating song playing again and again. At last we couldn’t take it anymore.

Rachel snatched the miserable piece of black plastic from the carpet where it was last stomped upon, threw open our door, ran into the hall, and hurled it down the hall against the opposing cement wall. With a loud crack, the horrid, whiny refrain ceased, and brightly colored gumballs spewed in every direction. The candy-fiend in me instinctually sprung into action, sprawling across the floor to retrieve the errant bits of gum.

Suddenly, and at the very same instant, my cousin and I froze in the hallway. Turning toward our room we saw the heavy, automatically locking door slowly swinging shut, ready to seal our fate: having to wander the religious-school campus in bikinis, shoeless, searching for someone who could let us back inside. Powered by fear and adrenaline, I catapulted my half-naked body from its position scooping up cheap candy on the floor toward the quickly narrowing gap between the door and its critical latching point.

Like something out of an epic adventure movie, my hand slipped in and caught the door a mere fraction of a second before it would have been too late. Rachel and I slunk back inside our well-adorned quarters, laughing hysterically at our reckless situation. But the gravity of what nearly occurred quickly sank in. A couple of teens wandering BYU campus in the middle of the night wearing naught but bikinis would surely have warranted a very awkward phone call to our parents.

And just because it's fun to embarrass my friends on the internet:

Bridget, Julee, Kristen, and Rachel at EFY 1997


The Georges said...

Man, was I pretty! Do I even have teeth? You can see pearly-whites on everyone else.
But, Kristen you didn't embarrass me; I don't get embarrased and have my face turn BRIGHT red anymore!

Bridget said...

HAHAHAHAHA. I loved this story. Sadly, I hated EFY.

That was my favorite shirt. You're looking pretty cute in this picture, actually.

Does your mom read your blog?

Rachel said...

OMG... I totally forgot about that night!!! Man were we AWESOME!!!

Kristen said...

Julee, we all had our awkward phases (except maybe Bridget-- she's always been adorable). I hope I don't have any funny stories to tell between the ages of 8-14, because I had a long and dreadful awkward phase.

Bridget, this story is practically all I can remember from EFY, in addition to the vague recollections that were sparked by the photos I came across. Why did you hate it? (Maybe if you'd bunked with Rachel and me you would have had more fun). :)

You seem very surprised that I look cute. Thanks a lot.

Funny that you ask about my mom reading the blog, because I've been bugging her to for some time. She is even busier than I am, and doesn't know anyone else with a blog, so she doesn't really "get" it (I used to be that way too, so I understand). But she said she was going to catch up on the whole thing before I see her tonight. She did read the post on which parent I get along with better, and thought it was very sweet. It will be interesting to find out what she thinks of stories like this one, where my rebellious nature is exposed (and this is pretty tame). Sometimes, knowing who might read a certain story or opinion (and it's not always a parent) stops me from sharing it. And sometimes I'm disappointed because it would be a really good one. Do you ever find that to be the case?

Rachel, thanks for clicking over to check out my account of our epic adventure. Hope you'll come read more whenever you have time. Love ya!

Jeni said...

I know what you mean about not sharing things because of who will read it... I have a few things like that from Vegas... lol
But I always enjoy reading what you do write :)


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