I spent this summer finding out who kids liked, removing splinters from feet, and helping kids ask each other to the dance. I put equal effort into orchestrating opportunities for makeouts as I put into breaking up makeouts. I danced the Wobble. I dressed up like a fool and did a little catwalk modeling. Camp life is really weird, ok? But it doesn't feel weird until you look back later.
One of the best things is when the kids approach you and want help with pranks. This summer the boys approached me and one other adult and wanted our assistance. (And permission.) It became very elaborate. The prank had a code word. The boys became suspicious of the girls and I had to swear my prank allegiance to them--we developed another code that I was to use in the case of finding out the girls were planning a prank on them. Then I learned that the boys were really getting paranoid. They made a habit of placing a small table in front of their door when they went to bed--not enough to block the door and become a hazard, but enough to make noise as you pushed it away from the door, alerting the boys to an intruder. (It was actually quite brilliant.) Making the rounds one night when I was on duty, I opened their door to check on them--and before I knew it, I had eyes trained on me from multiple bunk beds.
One boy appeared by my side in the dark. "AMANDA. We thought you were the girls. Seriously, are they pranking us? If a girl shows up by my bed to prank me...I don't care who it is, I'm punching them in the face."***
The other boys echoed his sentiments. "Punch them!" I heard murmured. They said it while laughing at each other, but there was an underlying tone of "yes we really will punch them" in their words.
I did not want a teenage boy punching me in the face.
"Guys, can you put me on the no punch list?" I asked. "Since I'm on your side and everything? Also I'm an adult?"
"Yeah, definitely," they all agreed. I was given a THIRD code word, to be used upon my entrance. (Seriously.) One night I cracked the door open to check on them and hesitated on the code word. A serious face appeared out of the darkness into the sliver of light from the hall and startled me.
"AMANDA, I was about to punch you. Sorry."
"Go back to bed."
As far as actual pranks go, it was...well, it was a failure. Nothing went as planned and no backup plans were created and the girls woke up and they boys panicked but as they shuffled off to bed at 3am, they high fived me and thanked me for such a fun prank.
As it turns out, no matter how old I get I will never understand teenage boys.
***Boys, that's no way to get laid, for future reference.