Wednesday, January 15, 2014

about the numbers

i geocache. geocaching is a sport that lends itself to statistics and the nerdy sort of person who plays this game naturally loves statistics, graphs, and maps.  also when you go to a party with these people, it will likely be the largest social gathering you have ever been to where the majority of people in attendance have social deficits, enormous amounts of gear hanging from their belt packs, failure to be able to make eye contact, or all three.

it just the demographic. this is not a criticism; they are my tribe.

and do not get me wrong. i love my numbers. i love to look at my graphs and analyze my patterns. i love to make little goals and projections, like raising my percentage of puzzle caches to 17%, or averaging two caches a day for the year, or seeing how many i can find in a twenty-four hour period.

and there's a thing called the first find: it's a thing to be the first one to find a cache and sign a clean logbook. i confess that i have driven some hours across more than one state or taken a ferry and driven out over ice with a stepladder strapped to my car roof just for the privilege of signing that clean logbook.

but i draw the line at the place where people need ME to know how many first finds they have, or every log they write is certain to tell you how many they have found overall and how many they found that day, and i REALLY draw the line where on meeting you for the first time, the first thing they say to you is "how many finds do you have?"

i found myself in a very short conversation once with a man i had only just met: we ran into each other at a cache and after the brief introductions, the first thing out of his mouth was "how many finds do you have?" followed by "you're from vermont? do you know..." and he named two cachers who have found a great deal of caches.

my answers to his questions were "a few" (at the time it was closer to a few thousand, but let's not quibble), and "yes, i know them." (he had named a friend of mine and my father) and then i extricated myself from his presence as quickly as possible.

now, there are basically two sorts of persons who ask you how many cache finds you have. one kind is the bemused outsider who cannot wrap their head around the idea that there are probably a half dozen geocaches hidden within a mile of where the conversation is taking place. really? they always want to know. how many of these things are there? how many have you found?

the other sort of person who asks how many you have found only wants to compare your find count with his own. i think from now on when i am asked this question by a valibator, i am going to answer by asking "so exactly how much money do you make?" or "how big is your dick?"

and as far as that sort of person goes to the first find, when they are first finder, they will make a special note of it in the log, along with the time of their find, and a short list of who they beat to it. sometimes when you find a clean logbook the cache hider will have left a special place in the logbook all labeled up for the firstfinder, but when this tedious little valibator makes a first find, if there is no special labeling in the log, he will draw it in himself, as if his signature at the top of the first page isn't enough to let you know he was there.

he will write something like

FTF!!! (his name)!! i can't believe this is still unfound at eight in the morning! my 44th FIRSTFIND! it only took me an hour to run the five miles in. not bad.

some of these hatwipes, if they are beaten to the firstfind, will race to be the first to log the find online and then they will crow "first to log!" as if having a mobile phone and opposable thumbs somehow validates their awesomeness.

and they will tell you that the only reason that you think their behavior is unpleasant is because YOU couldn't get there before them. it's like showing up to a mountain bike race and sandbagging down to the children's race and then telling the beaten seven-year olds that they only think you're an ass because they're losing losers.

recently i was making my slow way to a cache that i did not care so much if i was firstfinder at. mostly i was there to try at a cache i'd been looking at for a number of months. if i had really wanted that firstfind, i would have gotten the cache the previous day when i was there, or maybe just gone straight to the cache instead of tooling around for a couple of hours after my arrival.

but one of these valibator guys comes blowing by me, racing me to it, even though in his log he states multiple times that he believes i am not a geocacher and did not know what he was doing. he was in such a hurry to whip out his mighty dick that in his log he crowed about being all sneaky and not attracting the interest of the nearby muggle plodding along on her skies (sic). he also mentioned how easy it was for him to outpace and outdistance her.

first of all, that "muggle" (and for some reason perfectly competent adults have chosen to stupidly use this word to denote non-cachers) was me. i knew exactly who he was and what he was doing. and i knew he did not recognize me, so i let him go on not recognizing me because i did not wish to have to talk with him.  he's a real alpha boyscout type.

i kept doing what i was doing, which was taking pictures.

it's one thing to race past a person you believe you're in competition with, but kind of another level of dickishness to need to create a competition with a person you already said was a non-cacher and brag about it in your log.

i somehow doubt he would have spoken about that "muggle" the way he did if he had known that it was someone who knew him and was going to be able to both read his account and make a rebuttal.

and of course, when he got to the clean logbook, the cache hider had not made any special place for the firstfinder, so he wrote his own fanfare. in red ink.

and he destroyed the container to get that log out, later describing it as a "cracked lid".

mmmmHm. good job, boyscout.

i somehow doubt he would have described his destruction of the container as a "cracked lid" if he'd known that "muggle" was going to come along ten minutes later and take pictures of the damage and post it online.

how you behave when you think you're not being watched is a better indicator of who you are than your whole badge sash, eagle scout.


Zhoen said...

First comment!

(That was by way of being a joke. )

cookie said...

This geocache-usurping person seems to be missing the esprit de corps of the geocache community.

I bet he doesn't know how to make good pudding, either.

<3 cookie

flask said...

even better: he's a professional boyscout and always going on and on about scouting morals.

to be fair, though, he is not an anomaly in the geocaching world, but rather the epitome of a pretty well-known subset.

today, however, i got the chance to write a log in which i said "it was not possible to sign the log because someone clearly went all boyscout on the container with pliers or something, since the marks are all over the outside of it."

and pudding making is something only women do. men are in charge of things. women make pudding.


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