“What is it you’ve got against camping?” questions a new reader. Of all the things listed in the “about” section, loathing camping is the last for which I expect blowback. But you do you and I’ll do me. Just know we’ll never run into each other in the woods.
In an old photo I find a ragtag bunch of kids standing by a swimming hole. Their smiles display all manner of missing teeth and the sweat of childhood. Except for one. That child stands arms crossed, eyes semi-rolled at the other children, disgust written across her face.
That child would be me. We were camping. Thank god my feet were shod and I appear to be the only child to remember a towel.
One of my parents enjoyed camping. It was not my father. He grew up in coal mine country with an actual outhouse in the yard. He felt little need to “rough it” seeing as how “been there done that,” actually applied. Despite my eye-rolling and disdain for leaves and lizards and things that inhabit greenery, I found myself sleeping in a tent and getting my hands all s’more sticky.
Aside from swimming in something called a “hole,” bears stalked my dreams. My biggest fear was that a bear would eat me with my pants down. We didn’t camp with everyone else. That would be too easy. We searched for out of the way spots lacking other people and toilets. Nights found my eyes wide in the blackness, leg furiously twitching, praying for sunlight and the chance to pee in broad daylight.
Why it made a difference the bear would eat me with my pants down I don’t know. It made perfect sense in my eight-year-old mind. Even now, I’d rather not die with my pants around my ankles.
My next foray into camping came in college when everyone cried, “C’mon it’ll be so much fun.”
I wake with the sun feeling…what? Mother Nature makes her monthly visit a full week early. Not once before or since did that girl ring my doorbell on any day but the 28th but there it was–the Battle of Gettysburg in my sleeping bag.
The next time I was in the woods my husband dropped dead of a heart attack. So there’s that. Woods and me? Not so much.
Like I said, dear reader, you do you and I’ll do me. Into the woods with you. Go on. Shoo. Watch out for bears.