my public statement on camping (after 2 drinks)
You pack totally random bag of clothes which you will either wear all at once because you are freezing or none of because it is freaking hot. You drive 2 hours away, with all your crap crammed in the car and a toddler who won’t nap. Arrive and install yourself in a tent or cabin with all your crap. You look with envy at humongous 6-mile-to-a-gallon campers knowing that if it was your primary home you would be trailer trash but since it is a traveling second home, it is a sign of wealth. You realize the 4 things you forgot (my sneakers, kiddo’s swimsuit, wine, and veggies for dinner) and either suffer without or drive back out to the closest Walmart, a store that you never shop at normally. That takes half a day in itself. Then you walk around in the woods and/or do a little sailing. That part is nice I guess. Turns out there is no swimming in that nice little pond so your kid resigns herself to shoveling dirt into her sand pail and poring it on top of herself. Many baby wipes later and she still looks like a poster child for a charity who wants to educate poor shoeless Appalachian children. Dinner time arrives, it takes a million years and all kinds of tupperware containers and fancy butane or cooking with special camping plates that probably didn’t get washed since last time you camped. Your friends share their hotdogs, and you are grateful even though they would be a side note of any other dinner, it is the main course this time around. You could have had something else if you had gone back out to the Walmart but the kid was fussy and putting her back in the car for another 40 minutes just seemed cruel. As the mosquitoes descend for dusk you make some s’mores, which are okay but are always a little disappointing. I think it was a marketing trick to sell marshmallows. You have to put your dog on a rope because the park ranger keeps driving by and there is a leash rule. Even though she is the best dog on the planet she keeps winding the rope around the camping chairs and the toddler.
You hide your food in all variety of containers and coolers so the natives don’t come (hello! bears can open a cooler!) and then you hang your trash on a tall post thing like some redneck flag. You bond with long lost friends with illegal beer (no drinking in state parks) over a dying campfire but in a hush so you don’t wake the neighbors. The neighbors who are other idiots who drive for hours to sleep in cloth houses inches from you or the classy guys who were blaring techno music earlier in the afternoon from their cabin. Then you sleep, if you can. You wake up early in the morning because it is a new place and you slept on a hard-as-rock bunk. Biting flies on the way to the public bathroom, need I say more? Wander in the woods some more, this is usually when you skin your knees or get stung by a bee (didn’t happen to me this time because I sent them in the woods without me and read a book, because I am a genius) . Check out at noon to drive 2 hours home and spend $80 in gas for both cars because a family of 3 needed 2 cars to get the sailboat there. Get home and unpack everything and get really excited about sleeping in a cozy bed THAT YOU VOLUNTARILY LEFT TO GO SLEEP IN THE WOODS. I still don’t understand camping. I think day trips and a real bed are lovely. Sorry honey, I am not a frontier woman, but once a year I will go “camping” because I love you. HOWEVER, NEXT TIME I AM GONG BACK OUT FOR A BOTTLE OF WINE!