Revenge Against The Nerds [BYOP]
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Try N 45° 01.??? W 093° 16.???
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::: an Ice Hole project :::
June 18, 2009
On afternoons, when it's nice, I usually go to one of several parks near my house and shoot basketball and listen to music on my iPod or Walkman.
Usually, in the middle of the afternoon on weekdays during the school year, there's no one else out at the park, except for the fact that, occasionally, my friend Frank Auman will jog by and we will talk for a while and then he will jog away. Frank is a developer so he doesn't have a real job or anywhere to be during the day, so he jogs around sometimes in the afternoon when he isn't having champagne brunches.
Other than Frank, though, I rarely see anyone at my park, and if I do, I don't bother them, and they don't bother me.
But then, one day, awhile back, suddenly, out of nowhere, all sorts of strange people began showing up at my park and exhibiting very bizarre behavior.
The first time it happened, a guy and a girl got out of a car, and the guy was holding a hand-held device that looked like a tricorder from Star Trek. The couple walked around: They'd look at the tricorder intensely and then they'd look everywhere all over the ground for something.
I just kept my headphones on, and I didn't talk to them, using the philosophy that, if they didn't bother me, I wouldn't bother them. They walked around for quite a while but never found whatever it was they were looking for.
Then they got back in the car and drove away.
Then, a couple of days later, a guy – a different guy and this one was by himself but also had a tricorder – came out and walked around looking for it.
In addition to his tricorder, he had a collapsible thin metal rod that looked kind of like a TV or radio antenna. He used it to move leaves and other stuff out of the way while he looked for it.
He couldn't find it either and, finally, clearly frustrated, he got in his car and left.
As soon as he left, it hit me that – rule or no rule about not bothering them if they didn't bother me – I really wanted to know what everyone was looking for.
I had come this close to asking that second guy what was up, but I hadn't, and, after he drove away, it bothered me more and more, and I was kicking myself because I hadn't asked him what in the world was going on and what everyone was looking for.
And I knew that, if no one else ever came back looking for it, I would never know what it was and – I don't know about you – but, when something like that happens, well, I have to know. If I never found out, I knew, it would drive me crazy forever and when I was like 89 years old I'd be sitting on the porch at the old folks' home asking people what in the world it could have been that they were looking for.
Well, then, a few days after that, another guy came out, and he was looking all over for it too; and I watched him out of the corner of my eye, and, finally, I took off my headphones and I broke my rule about not bothering people that weren't bothering me.
I said, "Look, you're like the fourth person I've seen out here with a tricorder looking for it – what in the world are you people looking for?"
And that's when he told me and I realized suddenly that, in addition to my world that I was living in, there was a whole parallel world some other people were living in that I didn't know anything about. I mean, on the one hand, there's this world that we are passing though, living in, and we think it's the same world for everyone, but then, every once in a while, every now and then, you get a glimpse of the fact that the world you're living in is just your world and there is this whole other world – and no doubt more than one – that you didn't know about, because you stay in your world all the time, and you realize that you might have gone to your grave never knowing about another world except for, say, the fact that you shoot basketball a lot at a park in the afternoon and, because of that, your world happens to collide with another one.
So he explained to me what everyone was looking for and said he was down here from New Jersey looking for it. I listened with fascination and at first I was skeptical because the whole thing didn't make any sense to me at all, but I also could tell he wasn't making it up or anything.
So, of course, I had a bunch of questions for him about life in his world, and finally I wished him luck and told him not to get his hopes up because no one else had been able to find it.
He said he knew from his research before he came that it would be difficult to find, but he said he was different. He said that he was very, very good at finding this type of thing. He had a great deal of experience with it, he told me, and he said that once, in Australia, he had been able to find it when no one else could.
And, finally, I went back to shooting basketball with my music and he went back to looking for it – looking under park benches and underneath leaves and up in the tree branches and under rocks.
He looked and looked and looked.
And then, finally, I saw him looking in these holes drilled into the top of some concrete blocks that line the court and he moved some debris away and there it was, inside the hole in a concrete block. And, excitedly, he dug it out.
It was about a third the size of an egg and he unscrewed it and inside was a piece of paper and he wrote on it.
It turns out that, all over the world, while normal, ordinary people go on with their lives, other people are hiding little containers and other objects everywhere all around us and then giving out the approximate coordinates on the internet and then other people are using their GPS devices and traveling – in some cases all over the world – to come look for them. There's really no reason for it that I can see – as far as I can tell, you don't win prizes or anything.
But he told me he had spanned the globe "geo-caching" and he said that, based on the current rankings, he was ranked 18th in the world.
Anyway, so that guy found the hidden object. But then, get this; here's the kicker: After coming all that way and putting in all that effort, he forgot what he came for and, after going to all that trouble, he left it in the exact same place he'd found it, so he was the one that put in all the effort and that found it, but I was the one who got to take it home.
And I still don't understand the game completely, but I went out and bought myself a GPS device and went online, and I've found several other hidden "caches" around Greensboro. I don't know what you're supposed to do with them after you find them, so right now I just keep them in a box in my kitchen.
>>*Scott's note to people who seem not to get him: If you are geo-cacher, then before you send me an angry email about what I just wrote, I was joking about that last part, about taking up geo-caching and bringing the objects home. I understand that to take them and keep them in a box in my kitchen would be a very mean thing to do, so I have not really done that. So, you see, there's no reason to email me or call to tell me that's a wrong thing to do because again: (A) I know that, and (B) I didn't really find any and take them home.<<
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