You wake up to the sound of the rain falling heavily on your tent. A peek out the mesh window and you know the clouds are so low and grim that your hopes of sending your proj’ or starting on your link up have just been diluted with the lurking moisture. Your head falls back on the pile of clothes that you call your pillow. The scent of wet socks makes you turn your head away towards the tent wall. Your nose rubs on the condensation inside. You squint in disgust. You close your eyes, imagining the comfort of your bed at home with the bathroom close by, the TV you could be watching and the clean kitchen you would have whipped up a nice breakfast in. You wiggle around a little more – avoiding the pointy rock under your deflated Thermarest – and the feeling of your humid clothes and sleeping bag make you shiver. You crawl up a little more into a fetus position, pressing your back into your snoring partner’s butt. You need to pee but decide to wait it out when you realize you left your only pair of shoes outside overnight. When your friend finally stretches himself out, hitting both side of the tent wall, thus sending the droplet of condensation flying down like a thousand little bullets in your face, you motivate to step into the grim day.
The wooden camping table bench is blackened and shiny from the wetness. Water drips from your jacket visor like a continuous curtain of rain. Standing in your drenched out shoes, your teeth start chattering. It’s time to look for alternatives. Starbucks? It’s expensive and no free WiFi. The library? There is no coffee there. A coffee shop? Na, that’s always loud and kinda steamy on rainy days. After consulting with your fellow climbing bums, you recall having spent the night at some girls’ place. You think you recall her saying that you were welcome there. Did she mean for that night only? Going back and forth, convincing each other, you conclude that no, she meant that you are always welcome there. You pack up your most important ally: your computer. With four other people and as many computers packed up in the automobile, you drive off, hoping the door to the house will be open. You knock on the door. No one home. You turn the door knob. It opens. You whistle to your buddies to come in. They all creep up, holding their computer tightly to protect them from the deluge. You head to the table and set yourself up. The others do the same. No word it uttered. You turn on your computer. The password opens the way to a brighter day, one in which you can evade from the grimness by searching the web and communicating with the person sitting next to you or across the table by chatting on Facebook.
It’s noon. You’re hungry. The owner of the house is at work. You have no money to buy food. But you think there should be leftovers from the other night’s party. The chips are on the counter, begging you to eat them. The fridge is full. It seems like a waste to not indulge, mainly when your stomach is churning. You eat away, thinking that you’ll totally make it up to the girl, whose WiFi and food you’re poaching. It’s still raining outside. You feel satiated. Maybe a little nap would help with the digestion. You remember the nice bed upstairs. It’s been a long time since you’ve slept on a comfortable mattress. You make a note to self to make the bed when you wake up. But gloomy from your nap, you decide to get up and take a shower, drying yourself off with the used towel. It’s almost 5pm by now. You remember that the girl will be home soon, so you gather the troops and pack up to leave. You write a note to thank the girl for her unwilling hospitality. But you don’t leave a number. Suddenly you wonder: “had she really said her house was an open one?”
But by the time you’re back at camp, the nip of guilt has been replaced by that of feeling sorry for yourself. The life of a dirtbag climber just ain’t that easy.