Twenty years ago, when I first wrote “Laugh at Life”, I penned parts of the following article. Although we no longer “camp” this way I think it bears repeating for those who do, in hopes that I am not the only person on the face of the earth who feels that they really belong in the CITY.
Originally written: July 25, 2001 but still feeling the same …
I have heard the odd woman say that she enjoys camping. To this I say, “Really? Have you ever been to the other side?”
Lets take a realistic look at the camping “holiday”.
It begins with packing. The entire household must be carried, loaded and then driven from Point A (the comfortable house with AC and every amenity) to Point B (the sandy, insect-infested tent or trailer). This takes hours and, sometimes, days to organize but finally this comes to some sort of end and we’re off!
Typically, only fifteen minutes into the trip, someone wants a drink and someone else needs a bathroom. We, the drivers of this entourage, ignore their cries for help at this early stage. We press on—pulling the very old tent trailer and trying to pass, and not be one of, the slowest vehicles on the road. When we must stop, this only serves to irritate the driver who watches with disdain as, at least, ten of the aforementioned slow vehicles pass us by.
Finally, our destination is in sight and I ponder why I would feel remotely excited.
Setting up camp! This is fun for the children, who are ready to race off to the park.
After a quick warning about strangers, I turn to see that my husband has already begun to throw our clean, neatly packed things onto the sticky, spider-web laden, bird-doo-dooed picnic table. I try to smile as we crank up and zipper close our “holiday home”. My husband and I either fight openly, or a tension-filled quiet ensues, until the trailer is levered to his satisfaction.
“What’s to eat?” a small voice inquires.
“You’re hungry already?” I ask, glancing at my watch to see it’s been almost six hours since our last meal but only three minutes since their last snack.
Almost magically a meal is made while the rest of the family goes for a much needed swim “to cool off”. After eating, I inform them all that since no dishwasher exists at the lake, everyone must pitch in. After this, they literally run to the lake store where they buy out every disposable dish and fork.
We spray each other with inch-thick bug spray and begin a hike. We don’t see much wildlife. Even the deer don’t make for much of an adrenalin rush, at least not compared to the one we had in the windshield last year.
Back at camp I settle down and finally reach for my book. No sooner has my head hit the back of the lawn-chair when someone shrieks, “A skunk! A skunk!”
Sure enough, behind our trailer lurks the white-striped beast. We immediately seek out someone to report this to. Of course, when we return, the skunk is gone but somehow we can still tell it’s been there.
“Try to ignore the smell,” I say, as I tuck everyone into their sleeping bags and watch as my husband, the only person on earth who likes this odour, leans back and takes deep, “cleansing” breaths. I reevaluate why I was ever attracted to him, while knocking myself into near oblivion, batting at the mosquito buzzing near my ear. Maybe going unconscious wouldn’t be so bad.
I heard someone say that camping is the “best holiday” for families to take. I know why—tragedy today—laughs tomorrow. For example … “Remember when Junior got bit by the snake when we didn’t know we were camped over a snake pit?” or “Remember when Mom blew up the camp-stove and we all got stitches?” or “Remember when that bear came into camp and we all huddled in the tent while mom yelled, “Do up the zipper!” What can I say? I’m a CITY girl!