the island with no coconut phones
2004-10-07, 5:00 p.m.
i was watching lost last night and was reminded about the time i was stranded on an island. yes, it's true. on the tennessee river, not on the pacific ocean. but still, stranded. i was with my friend gregory. gregory, by the way, wants a nickname in my diary. he doesn't demand the anonymity. he just wants one. "something like: porkchop," he suggested. okay, porkchop it is. porkchop, if you start an on-line diary, like purple and i suggest you do, i would like to be nicknamed "applesauce." okay? it's a deal then.
anyhow, about three years ago, porkchop and i were out very late one afternoon, ridin' his family's seadoos. we rode across the river to "go play in the islands" where the water is calmer and sometimes we see deer swimming. yes, i said deer! swimming! from island to island! anyhow...
i slowed down to turn through a narrow pass between two islands to surprise gregorrr... err, porkchop, by coming from a different direction. and then i got stuck. when i looked down, i thought it was just a felled pine tree, so i stuck my leg down in the water hoping i could push off of it. then i realized it wasn't a tree. it was moving. and it was ALIVE! no. just kidding. but i guess it was, indeed, technically, alive.
i later learned that it's some underwater growth called mille-feuille. (pronounced milfoil in tennessee). it means "a million leaves" in french. like the dessert by the same name. anyhow, it was all caught in the motor and i couldn't get it out. when porkchop finally came back to see what was wrong (you see, he probably suspected that something was wrong - since a few years before i had Run The Seadoo Aground in the islands - but that's a whole other oprah show), i tried to gesture for him to STAY BACK and not get his seadoo caught in the gunk, but, just like in a horror film, he didn't realize what my sign language meant till it was Too Late. he promptly got some of that shit up in his motor as well. so we pulled both of our "personal watercraft" onto the island and proceeded to... wait. i sat on my lifejacket in the mud but he wore his for warmth. i trekked back to my seadoo to take stock - i had one can of coca-cola classic, for some reason. and we had a few dollars for gas. it seems like porkchop had a few matches (but only like two and they may or may not have been a little damp) in his seadoo's carrier, though i'm not sure why. maybe in case of this very scenario. it's funny, we weren't even there for a half a day, but already my mind had adjusted to What It Means To Be Stranded On An Island. The trees and driftwood were all pretty wet all around and I suggested that if we wanted to start a fire, the MONEY would make good kindlin'. because, you know, What Good Is Six Dollars To Us Here?
porkchop wanted to swim to the far shore, which would have put him, or us, in the middle of a huge unpopulated expanse of the nathan bedford forrest state park. also, i knew we shouldn't separate (i have, after all, seen a horror film or two), and i knew that we should stay with our seadoos which would be visible to anyone who came looking for us.
we thought we heard a pontoon boat looking for us (turns out we were wrong), starting and stopping in the islands. we screamed "help" as soon as the engine stopped, every time, but no luck. at some point i saw a little head moving through the water in front of me. i'd like to say i was brave and considerate and didn't tell porkchop and kept that news to myself since he has a pretty strong snake-aversion, but i think i blabbed.
other things we talked about: debating his idea about swimming to that other shore (thank god i won that one), whether drinking the coke would be bad since it would make us thirstier ultimately, where the survivor producers were -- b/c we wanted some food planted somewhere that wasn't native to the island as well as some set-up to instigate a fight between us, how long we might possibly be there, and whether his parents would think to call anyone i knew to tell them i had gone missing.
finally some night-fishermen pulled their boat close enough to hear me (that's right, me, not we - porkchop decided i should be the screamer) yelling "help." they carried us back across the lake in their boat and porkchop's parents had roused the neighbors and they were JUST THEN preparing to go THE WRONG WAY down the river to look for us. it would have taken them all night to find us. i think porkchop openly expressed his surprise that they hadn't yet left to find us. i think "what have y'all been doing all this time?" may have come out his mouth.
then we had to get in the pontoon ride back to the islands and tow the seadoos back to shore.
showers and bed never felt so good.
porkchop's family now equips their seadoos with whistles.