It had all sound too perfect when I was planning for my Spring Break. After spending four nights with a friend in a hostel in San Francisco, I would take the bus, then train, then bus to Yosemite National Park on my own and stay a couple days to hike. There was nothing to be afraid of. Oh, and did I tell you that my personality is way too cool to soundlessly cry the entire last night in my San Francisco hostel bed?
Of course, I had not expected all my credit and paying cards to be declined during break. I also had not foreseen losing my European electricity converter, resulting into a dead phone and laptop. But this did not scare me at all, uh-uh. With my stash of foods, a friend’s pocket knife and my charming hiking shoes I bravely waved my friend goodbye, straightened my back and walked up to the bus driver, who had to pick up the ticket that my shaking hand had accidentally dropped in front of him.
Luckily all had turned out to be just fine, until now. I had hiked the three days without falling of cliffs or being eaten by a bear (I don’t think money or a phone could have helped me out of these situations anyway), and now I was tanning at the side of the road, waiting for the bus to come pick me, when I heard a car slowly passing by.
“It’s her, I swear!” a woman’s voice yelled.
“Well… I don’t want to do it!” the man sitting next to her said.
“Fine! I’ll go out. I’ll tell her,” the woman grumbled.
One thing I forgot to mention. After the first two days my food supply was not a food supply anymore, but luckily in hostels people leave their food unlabeled when they take off, so that other travelers can take it over. On my last day in Yosemite, I became the happy owner of a full bag of granola. As if this was not too good to be true already, I also saw an innocent American family with a little son that I could hitchhike along with into the park.
“Is that your granola?” the young mother’s high voice snapped at me, when we were already driving, doors on the children’s lock. “Yes…” I mumbled – an evolutionary natural response to witches, in order to safe the body from acute danger. Apparently they weren’t aware of the label-your-food-rule.
I spent the rest of the day feeling guilty. Then, as soon as I got back to the hostel, I hurried to the kitchen to return their granola, but found out that they (or at least their food) had already left.
This is it, I thought, as I heard the woman’s heels walking towards me. She’s going to turn me into a frog.
“Do you want a ride to the park, me and my boyfriend were wondering?” A smiling German accent– not the witch’s, for certain (or she had transformed to a different body, that’s possible, too).
My bus came, I thanked, but no thanked, and when I safely sat behind the window, breathing heavily, I realized that Spring Break had been awesome, and that it was finally over now.
Doris ter Horst
Columnist Doris ter Horst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org