i was in TN this first weekend of December - well, the tickets were actually to Charlotte, so i flew there first, then drove to TN. (Oh the things i will do for a letterbox!) They had honored me by asking me to carve the event stamp -first time i've ever been asked to do so - and my daughter had drawn original artwork for it. So, as a Christmas present, i got to hand deliver it. Also, since my other nickname in a different fellowship is "elf," Mr. Umbrella thought it was appropriate.
i got to Knoxville around noon on Friday. We left the house, ready to box, almost got to downtown and. . . turned around to go back for the pouches. It was going to be one of those days, but we didn't know it yet. We got to Market Square, ready to box and plant. We find the first box. . . right behind the two cops on their bikes, who are not moving any time soon. Drat. So, off to plant, and get some coffee. Back 20 minutes later - cops still there. Drat again. Wandering around downtown some more, 20 more minutes - cops STILL there. We go to plant another box in a planter - with me taking elaborate pictures of her doing it, all around the park. trekkie is giggling her head off, Sarcasmo is plotting. tigs starts quoting Gibbs' Rule #27 (which is technically about following people, but can also work with getting a box):"two ways to follow people: first way, they never notice you. Second way, they only notice you." i send Sarcasmo off to be only noticed by the cops, and go get the box myself. It works. 90 minutes later, we're on our way. *sigh* it's going to be a long day. i've been boxing for almost 4 hours - i've got one box. Sarcasmo promises it's going to get better.
It does. It turns out these two do not know the meaning of the word "stop." In New England, we stop when it gets dark. Now, there's a reason for that - cold, BEARS, hypothermia. . . you know, the little things. Proving my theory that people in the South are inherently CRAZY, these things do not stop my boxing companions. trekkie knows where all these boxes are - she's the local; she drives. i have the list because i've done the research and solved the clues. Sarcasmo had been planning the event so she's along for the ride. Off we go. First stop? The University of TN Body Farm - what a GREAT stamp, carved by our MiSs ChIeViOuS. The only disappointment is there were no gross bodies to see - yeah, i know, i'm warped. My daughter tells me so all the time. We follow this up with 2 Sweeney Todd boxes (nice carves) by theseekers, followed by a Nannipawpaw box we can't find (there's always one on a trip). We decide to leave it, as we're losing light (i'm to discover that doesn't matter much). Back into the car, to the Methodist Church on Kingston Pike - what a beautiful view! and an early ByHisGrace box.
Then it's off into the city - we're whipping around, various places, getting box after box! There is giggling, there is laughter - there is night falling! trekkie is starting to mutter things about hobos. We have to drop off a Christmas tree at one of the shops on the square -we abandon trekkie in the car to do that. Following that, the two of them drop me in the middle of Knoxville, to plant another event box where there is no parking, with the vague "we'll circle around and pick you up!" as they drive away. It strikes me that only in this hobby are we so trusting - i realize, after planting the box, that i'm not even really sure what color car i got out of. . .i have no purse, no money, and only my cell phone, standing on a corner in a strange city, waiting for 2 women whose last names i sorta remember to come pick me up. "Why yes, Officer, i have official business here. i was hiding a suspicious tupperware box for an unsanctioned game next to this bank. IN the dark. . ."
It got better from there. It turns out trekkie is REALLY a Girl Scout, bless her heart. She is obviously a Good Girl, because she spent the next . . . oh, 4 hours . . . muttering things like, "i hope we don't get arrested. . . i hope there aren't any cops. . . what if the cops notice us?. . .do you really want to go into the cemetery? what if the cops are in there?. . ." etc, etc, etc. And hoboes. She talked a lot about the hoboes she kept hoping we wouldn't run into. Which we didn't. I spent the next four hours saying things like, "we aren't going to get arrested. . . we aren't doing anything wrong. . . you really don't spend much time out and about at night, do you?" And off we went. There's a lot of drive by boxing you can do in a city at night. And we didn't run into the cops. . .
Except when we did. Hence this little exchange outside an animal shelter about 10 pm.
Sarcasmo: "where's the box? i don't see the box!"
tigs:"It's behind the bush over there, says the clue."
Sarcasmo:"OK, i'll go get it. It's sitting out on the ground!"
tigs: "Great, i'll get the stuff ready."
trekkie: "What if the cops come? Oh man, this is spooky."
tigs:"The cops aren't going to come, besides we aren't doing anything wrong.' (getting out of car)
Sarcasmo:"Ya know, I'm just stamping in on the hood of the car."
tigs: "OK, let's do that."
trekkie:(from inside car)"Sarcasmo! Sarcasmo! get in the car!!"
(tigs looks over Sarcasmo's shoulder, sees sheriff's car turning around in parking lot)
(taking box away from her)"Sarcasmo, get in the car"
Sarcasmo:"But I don't want to! Give me the box!"
tigs:"Yes you do. Get in the car. There's a cop over your right shoulder."
Sarcasmo(Looks) "Well, shit. I'll get in the car."
(sitting in the car) "Ya know, there wasn't even any fun in your voice, tigs."
trekkie: "we're going to get arrested!! you SAID we weren't going to get arrested!!"
tigs: "we are NOT going to get arrested! just drive away. Now, smile and wave, boys. smile and wave. . ."
Sarcasmo: "but we still have the box - where to next??"
Yeah, that's kind of how ELFishness in TN went. We were out for another 2 hours after that. We went to 2 more cemeteries, one haunted jazz club, a library, another church and a park. Alas, i only got to 1699 finds that night, because one of them was missing. It was, however, 1 am when i went to bed and we had an event the next day. We can sleep when we're dead.