By Hot Wire
He was shivering and rather distraught when we found him, stuck on the top of the art car, huddled on a couch in the fetal position. 4am is a terrible time to be stuck anywhere in a tshirt and jeans… let alone on top of an art car with no idea how you got there or how ladders work.
Ranger TimeOut and myself were doing the rounds after the effigy bonfire had shifted into a cold mellow pile of coals. We were patrolling, helping participants find their way home or to the next raging party, putting blankets on those asleep for the night in random communal areas and raking the effigy coals into warmer pockets to reduce MOOP come sun up.
The art car had long been abandoned by the driver when blood alcohol levels restricted their ability to drive it. Somehow our bewildered participant had fallen asleep on the couch not realising the once buzzing group of burners sharing the view had moved on.
It was only by chance that we found him. We had decided to check the top level of the car on a whim, thinking there might just be someone passed out on the couch perched high above the Paddock. It’s the kind of place you’d go when you’re at the end of your party tether and need a nap far from camp, a great spot to hide and gather your fizzypop thoughts.
From cold and merciless…
But that 4am frost is merciless – when we found him his internal struggle was real. Stick it out on the couch and shiver till sunrise or make a dash for it down the ladder back to camp?
“Where is camp? Where has the effigy gone? How does this dang ladder work? Why so steep? Oh it’s a very long way to the ground. One smoke left. Gah. Someone used my beer as an ashtray and there is no water anywhere. The music sounds dark and strange in the distance. So cold.. So cold.”
And then we are upon him! At first approaching slowly so as to not frighten him – that’s Ranger training at work!. Yes, yes.. One eye is open and he appears to recognise humans.
“Heya pal, I’m Hot Wire and this is my hetero Ranger life partner TimeOut. We’re Rangers and you look bloody cold, mate. Need a hand to get back to your camp?” I say.
“Uhhhghh nahh.” He mumbles and shudders back into his misery. Slinking deeper into the couch and squeezing his hands between his legs a little more. He wants to go back to camp we could tell, though everyone is wary of strangers and hawkers at first.
I have my hand gently on his shoulder and can tell the dew has seeped into his clothes good and deep.
“Rightio mate. We’ll be back in ten minutes with some blankets and clothes and sort you out,” says TimeOut as we climbed back down the ladder. I radio into RED5 (the Ranger shift boss) with a snappy update and we’re ready to go. RED5 has nothing else for us to do so we are Free Range.
We make our way to the effigy fire and began hunting around for the usual clothing and blanket MOOP people tend to forget about. Gathering up a beanie, jumper and small blanket we make our way back to the art car. Would he be there or would the shock of two Rangers been enough to spur him onto his next mission?
He’s still there. Sitting up now dragging on his last smoke and eyeballing us as we climb back up the ladder.
… to warm and fuzzy
“Heeyyyyyyyyy champion! We’re back with some warm clothes and a blankey. Time to get you warm again. What’s your name bruv?” I ask. TimeOut passes me his smoke while he wraps the participant in the patchouli stinking jumper, beanie and blankey. For some reason this is hilarious and he begins giggling, “I don’t know!” he says between chuckles.
He doesn’t know this but laughing in front of TimeOut or myself is a dangerous move. We LOVE laughter and will do dang near anything to keep it going. We’re the types to take it ALL THE WAY.
“Oh ho! You don’t EVEN know your own name!? Haha what is WRONG with you? Everyone knows their own NAME.” I say placing emphasis on words for no reason.
Our new friend thinks this this is hilarious and starts laughing away at the absurdity of laughing. TimeOut winks at me with a smile and we know we’ve found that special kind of mindset where EVERYTHING is funny.
“We dub thee: Sir Popsiclese! The coldest mofo on the Paddock. Come on Sir Popsiclese, let’s get you off this mountain!” says TimeOut loftily. “Bahahahahahaha. Hehehehehehe. No no, I’m ok,” he replies as he put his arms over our shoulders and lets us guide him down the ladder.
Eventually we get him to Ranger HQ and warm him up in front of our burn barrel until he remembers who he is and where his camp might be. It’s still a bit of a struggle to get there so he accepts TimeOut’s invitation to retire on the many bean bags at the Orphanage camp, chuckling at the mere sound of our voices. Seems fitting really.
I never saw him again but I hear the Orphanage have a new family member…
Rangers make it all betterer…
And that dear readers, is a small glimpse of what Rangers are and do. We can lend a hand and point you in the right direction so that you can do what needs to be done – whatever time of the day or night. We keep our ears to the ground to make sure you are good to go. Come and say hi. We wear orange and smile a lot. If YOU can do that (and you can) then you’ve got what it takes to apply to be a ranger too! Check in with the awesome Crew Wranglers before Seed begins and sign up for a shift or two on the Paddock in 2016.