The (adult) students of my martial arts studio were invited to play lasertag at an abandoned outdoor arena in the woods. (This is all sounding very Hunger Games, suddenly. Did I mention that I saw the Hunger Games two days in a row back in March? The second time in IMAX. Awesome.)
Things got to a late start, because J., the organizer and possesser of knowledge of the location of the arena, had forgotten to go pick up a friend of his.
Conscious of the fact that we would probably lose people on the route, I sped out of the parking lot. I was third in line.
Other people were not so lucky. When we turned off the main road, I stopped at the turn and got out of my car to wait for the stragglers.
Who didn't arrive.
Not having exchanged phone numbers or even directions to the lasertag arena, I called my roommate, who looked up the number for the martial arts studio. No one answered that number, but a few seconds later, S. called me back on her cell phone. She had seen my number pop up on the studio line, looked it up on their list because she knew the lasertag was going on, and called me back.
J., the organizer, came back to the turnoff where I waited, and the two of us tried multiple times to call the missing driver. Nothing.
We drove back to the martial arts studio, looking for the missing truck all the way. Nothing.
Just as we got back to the turnoff, the missing passenger finally called. They were "[crackle crackle], turning around, [crackle]."
We described our location as best we could through the crackle and waited.
J. and I talked about travel. He traveled through Central America a few years ago, and of course I will take any opportunity to talk travel shop.
"I met all these women traveling alone when I was in Central America," he said, "and I never worried about them. But for some reason now that I'm married, I worry about traveling with my wife."
I was effusively reassuring.
An hour after I first got to the turnoff, there was no sign of the straggling truck.
The missing persons finally called and explained that they had taken that other road out of town, and were irretrievably lost. They were abandoning hope of lasertag and going for a drink.
Lasertag in the woods is amazing. I could have kept at it all night were it not for unwashed laundry and an early morning alarm waiting for me at home.
We fought every person for themselves (I got tagged out in about 30 seconds.) We fought teams. We fought hold-the-high-ground. K. and I snuck up around the side to take the fort.
"You should have stayed!" she said, the next day. "We played zombies when it got dark!"