Anyway, I figured the leis in question (we're back on the highway to Georgia now; keep up) probably populated about 20% of the driver's field of vision. It seemed a little excessive to me, not to mention pointless and perhaps dangerous. Do they not have a better place to store their dollar store lei collection, like maybe a doorknob or the back of a closet? What could these cheesy mementos possibly commemorate that would warrant such a visible display? A high score in Skee Ball, maybe? For 24 tickets it was either four leis or one of those switchblade combs. Yeah, I would have gone with the comb too.
At least they weren't Mardi Gras beads, which seem to have supplanted fuzzy dice as the mirror decoration of choice. I don't know. I guess I've never actually known anyone with fuzzy dice, but you get the point. Either way, there's no way all those people with Mardi Gras beads hitting them in the face when they take a corner too fast actually went to Mardi Gras. What I do know is that for every string of Mardi Gras beads I see hanging from your mirror, I'm thinking one thing: you showed your boobs to a stranger.
Oh, sure, I bet there are all kinds of other ways to pick up shiny colored beads, but unfortunately for those of you who got yours at a New Years Eve party or maybe for a high score in Skee Ball, the rest of us are thinking you drank one too many hurricanes and earned them the old fashioned way down in Nawlins. That's just the way it is.
But at least they have a story to tell, if they can remember it.
My rearview bauble has a story, too. (Yup, that’s what we’ve been getting to this whole time. And you thought this post was about boobs.)
It’s a carabiner. Big surprise, right? Actually, this ‘biner is what we call “found gear.” If you spend time in the mountains, you’re bound to find all kinds of lost and left behind swag. If it’s a water bottle or a shirt or a pair of socks, use it. If it’s something intended to hold body weight in a survival situation, don’t even think about it. Hang it from your rearview mirror.
This oval ‘biner came from about halfway up Crestone Needle in Colorado. My buddy Dave and I were right around the 14,000-foot mark, near the top of the all-day climb, when we got slammed by the inevitable afternoon thunderstorm. If we had realized just how close to the summit we were, we would have finished up the last pitch to the top. As it was, we thought we still had the crux pitch ahead and figured we didn’t want to tackle it in the rain.
So we decided to descend. This is not an easy thing to do on an alpine rock climb. I don’t remember how many rappels it took us, but for every one we either needed to find gear to rappel off of that had been left by others stuck in the same situation or leave our own behind. What I said about not using found climbing gear - sometimes you have to fudge it a bit. As it was we still had to leave behind about $80 worth of stuff to get down. One found piece we didn’t use was this carabiner and the rusty piton it was attached to. I believe Dave has that piton. Both are souvenirs of an unfinished challenge. I intend to go back and climb that route again, to the top, this time with a little more urgency to get up and off before the storms roll in.
What’s hanging from your rearview mirror?