Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Unhappy Camper

There's one in every house. 

It seems Mrs. Cricket has developed a passion for camping.  So have the kids.  Alas, I have not. 

Came home one day to find a good chunk of change had been dropped on tents, sleeping bags,  air mattresses and the like.  Uh-oh.  Not only did this show a degree of seriousness, it pretty much guaranteed a fair number of trips were in the works, if only to justify the expense.

Now, surprisingly, it's not that I don't know how to camp.  I'm actually pretty good at some things:  first aid, getting fires going, outdoor cooking.  I'm quite competent living in primitive conditions.  I'm really good at making do.

I just don't volunteer for it. 

I used to like it.  Way back when, camping meant a week-long party in the woods, far from the authorities and prying eyes.  I liked it then.  But that was different.  Back then, you just brought the basics:  tent, blanket, bread, peanut butter, jelly, instant coffee.  Smokes, lighter, booze.

And enough drugs to stop a stampeding herd of rhinos.

Good times... good times.

Sleeping on the ground with just a blanket was easy then.  My back was young and flexible.  And, of course, most nights by bedtime, you probably could have removed my appendix with a butter knife without so much as a whimper.

Not that it was all fun.  I could tell the story of how I got stung on the eyeball by a big nasty mountain wasp.  But I won't.  That sucked though.  Really.

Which kind of brings me to my main point.  I think our long-ago ancestors invented things like houses and cities for a reason:  a damn good reason:  namely, that sleeping in the woods kind of sucks and wouldn't it be nicer if perhaps things could be a little more comfortable?

Sometimes you just have to think these things through.

I once went mountain climbing with a woodsy-type friend.  It took us a good four or five hours to reach the top.  We sat for a while, catching our breath and enjoying the view.  He looked over to me

      Nice, huh?

      Yep.  Now where can I get a decent cup of coffee?

Well, he thought it was funny.  Me, not so much.

No, the only reason I go for it at all is that the kids like me, for some reason, and want me to come.  And it is cute, how much they like camping.  Their smiles almost make it worth it.  Almost.

I'll try and fake it for them.

Mrs. Cricket is the eternal optimist, who hopes every trip that this time I will catch the bug.  Bug(s), more likely.   This is the sort of thing I think about in the morning, as I wander down a country path, in a haze of gnats, looking for a place to do you-know-what.  Wondering why I went to so much trouble to be uncomfortable, and missing the frills of modern living.

Like flush toilets.  Or a decent cup of coffee.

At least where we're going it's only bugs I'll have to worry about, not bears, like last time.  See?  This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.  It's a well-established fact that a bear shits in the woods.  Stands to reason that I should do my bidness elsewhere.

The way I see it, it's like anything else.  Some people like anchovies.  Other people like camping.  Mrs. Cricket does not like chocolate.  Fine.  That's perfectly reasonable.  She doesn't like chocolate.  I do not expect her to eat it.  It's just a matter of taste, not a character flaw.  To me, camping is something you do when you need to.  You don't just pack up and drive to another part of the state that looks just like where you already live to sleep on the ground for a few days.

I know I can't be the only one.

For me, in a perfect world, "roughing it" would mean going for the four-star hotel, or taking a room without a sweeping panoramic view of Paris, or getting just the filet, not the surf-and-turf.  See?  I can make do. 

But for now I'd settle for a flush toilet and a decent cup of coffee.

Respectfully Yours, 




silly rabbit said...

lol. I'm not such a campy person either. I miss entire bathrooms. I want to wash my hands with hot water and soap, my dishes too. I want my shower. Outhouses and digging a hole have no appeal. Zip.

Its not so much that I don't like to camp. Its that I like comfort. The scenery is wonderful and the air is sweet. Camp chairs make my butt numb. I have the same issue as you with the ground for a box spring.

Its not great coffee, but Folgers makes a tea bag like coffee that works fairly well on camping trips.

However I do love to fish... and you can coax me into a camping trip with trout on the end of a line. But don't be surprised if I sleep sitting up in the truck with the doors locked. I remember what happened to Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider. Nights in the woods haven't been the same since.

Cricket said...

Exactly! Camping is something you do when you need to. Fishing trip out to East BF? Then you need to camp. I don't camp just for the sake of it.

Well, actually, I do, but not enthusiastically. I may be spared. In between post time and now, the forecast has degraded significantly, and Mrs Cricket isn't such a devotee that pouring rain and t-storms won't change her plans.

Actually, though I talked about the four-star hotels, it was mostly for comic relief. I find even those often to be lacking in true comfort. You have amenities, but very few in my experience have truly compared to the comforts of home.

But that's another story.

In hindsight, perhaps I should have enlisted Porcupine to write this.

Suldog said...

Not to compare our relationship to the one between God and David, but you are a man after my own heart. Or maybe I'm Jesus in this scenario since I'm just following My Dad's lead. We never went camping, which was fine by me, and whenever any other family members, most of whom were enthusiasts, asked him why he didn't want to go camping, he would invariably reply, "It took my ancestors thousands of years to stop painting themselves blue and living in trees. Who am I to take all that progress and throw it away?"

CiCi said...

Interesting that your family discovered their yearning for the outdoor life as a new thing. Most campers were raised by camping families, and on and on. So a newly discovered love of roughing it is interesting to me. I camped as a kid, but did not like it at all. The camping was okay, the fighting parents was not okay. My brother and I squirmed and hated the whole experience. Then I became a mom and decided that a good vacation would be camping with my kids. Ha. So we camped a lot. And I went camping with friends by myself sometimes. Would I want to camp now? No way. Why is that? I don't have any interest in camping now. Just because I am older, all right a "senior", is that the only reason that I have no desire to rough it? Probably. I do admire your flexible nature and how much you are willing to put yourself out for your family.

ds said...

Oh, dear. I had a camping childhood. It was fun. Mostly.It was also inexpensive, an important feature for my highly budget-conscious parents. Then, we had a tent trailer (bought on impulse for a pittance), that took them many hours to set up (in the rain; we got a vocabulary lesson that night), meals cooked on a two-burner camp stove, and freedom to explore at will.
Now, my parents load up their huge RV and spend a quarter of the year in Florida.
Camping could lead to that...

lime said...

ok, when i camp i at least want it to be at a campground that has a shower and a toilet. i don't mind having to walk to one but there needs to be one to walk to. i remember going camping with a good friend and her family back in high school. the father was hardcore. sleep on a barren rock, haul water, no toilets or showers or any convenience. it was hilarious when we pulled into his favorite prehistoric spot and it had been turned into a "camping resort." i thought he was going to have apoplexy when the lady at check in asked if he wanted a site with cable tv hookups. he didn't even want precut logs!

anyway, i am not opposed to camping on principle. it's a nice cheap way to go somewhere to see sites you want to see. it's just that my body has been through too much trauma to tolerate sleeping on the ground very well.