Thursday, July 12, 2012

I love not camping

My whole family went camping at Myers Lake when I was a kid. And I mean the whole family – aunts, uncles, cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles, second and third cousins – everybody. We would reserve a whole bunch of lots all in a row and pretty much take over the campground. I looked forward to it every year.

I would swim in the lake every day, testing my skills (and my parents) by swimming out too far. I loved to stomp around in the shallow parts and watch the little minnows scatter. I remember the lake being relatively clean, but my standards were much lower back then. One time, a big log of human poop floated way to close to me, and I almost threw up in the water. (That might have been the last time I swam in that lake.) Then there was the time my Uncle Chris stood up out of the water and had a little sunfish sucking on his nipple. (Funny back then, kinda gross now.)

The campground had a huge, old green barn that they turned into an arcade. When I got older, I got to hang out there with my cousins and all the other kids who were camping with their families. I would stay there for hours waiting for the juke box to play my song, or until my mom finally made me come back to the campsite. That old barn was where I learned to play air hockey and foosball, and it was the first place I remember caring whether a boy thought I was cute.

My cousins and I also liked to walk up to the general store near the campground entrance. Back then, you could get a Jolly Rancher for five cents. And I don’t mean those little tiny bite-sized Jolly Ranchers you get today. I mean Jolly Rancher sticks… for five cents. (More evidence that I’m old.)

Those Jolly Rancher sticks were awesome, in a scary, dangerous sort of way. You could suck those things down to a super sharp point that would rip the roof of your mouth apart if you weren’t careful. You could also use them as daggers and threaten to stab your uncle in the eye if he took any more of your candy. Except I was a good kid and never actually threatened him out loud, but in my head I plotted vengeance with my killer candy.

To this day, whenever I eat a watermelon Jolly Rancher, I’m instantly taken back to Myer’s Lake, the 1980s, and my childhood.

Camping is great when you’re a kid.

But as an adult, camping sucks. Now, I fucking hate camping. You’re always dirty, there are too many bugs, and it’s a shit-ton of work. 

I have two friends who share my distain for camping, and I bought them these luggage tags for Christmas one year.

My friend, Whitney, always says, “Why would I pay all this money for my apartment only to sleep outside and pretend I’m homeless.” She makes a valid point.

Camping is dirty and gross. If the campground has showers, they're usually nasty. And by "usually," I mean "always." Twenty-five cents for five minutes of a cold shower in a public bathroom? No, thank you. Once, someone left a poopy diaper in the shower stall. It was soaking wet, and the brown liquid was leaking out of it, running across the shower floor and down the drain.

How’d ya like that visual? Yeah, that’s why camping sucks.

Some people, usually dudes, get around the gross public shower thing by taking a dip in the river or lake or whatever body of water is near the campsite. Um, yeah, no. Sorry, boys. Swimming in a slimy river or a lake filled with goose poop does not equal a bath. In fact, I think you’re dirtier coming out of that nasty water than you were before you went in.

Hanging out with people who have not had a proper bath in several days? Another reason why camping sucks.

Camping is also a ton of work, and, if prior experience is any indication, it’s usually a ton of work for the women. The men get to work as soon as they arrive. They put up the tents, build a big fire, pound their chests like gorillas, and then plop down into lawn chairs with beers in their hands, never to get up from that spot again for the rest of the trip. (Unless it’s to “take a bath” in the lake or get more beer.) The women are the ones who cook all the meals, clean off the tables, wash the dishes and look after the children.

And the women go to bed exhausted, much like they do at home, but at least at home they get a hot shower and comfortable bed. Another reason why camping sucks.

Now, to be fair, I’ve never been camping with my Hubs. He works his butt off at home, so I imagine that if we ever did go camping, he wouldn’t leave me to do all the work. But if I have my way, I will never have to test that theory. I’m sure someday, Quinn will really really really want to go. He'll beg me with the “But puh-LEEEZE, Mommy” sad face, and I'll cave like a chump and have to go camping. And it will suck.

I’m not-so-secretly hoping that camping can be a boys thing that just Q and Daddy do together. I’ll stay home and not think about all the bugs and germs they’re coming into contact with or what they ate after it fell on the ground. I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet while they’re gone, and send them both to the showers as soon as they return.

I love not camping.

This is my kind of camping. You guys go to
Goose Poop Lake. I'll go to Bora Bora.
photo credit

*Apparently, Myers Lake is a Christian campground. Dafuq? It definitely wasn’t when I was a kid. Unless the Christians were cool with getting drunk, yelling profanities, blaring rock-n-roll music, and flirting with boys in the arcade. So maybe it was a Christian campground. Who knows. 

What about you? Do love or hate camping? If you have a camping story, please share in the comments or leave a link to your blog post about it.