Published: July 14th 2012June 24th 2012
Googling "how to set up a tent"
Camping is everything you can do at home only harder, thus, I never saw the appeal. That's putting it mildly. In actuality I found the idea of sleeping in a mosquito infested campground, cooking nitrate filled hot dogs shoved on the ends of twigs surrounded by beer drinking rubes and gas guzzling 4x4's quite repulsive. I vowed I would never camp.
Then I met Tara. She was a new workmate that morphed immediately into a bosom buddy. One lunctime, after a fit of juveline giggling I declared, "Tara, I like you so much, I'd even go camping with you." She pauses, turns her head and looks at me. "I hate
camping," she says.
"No kidding! Me too!" I reply. "Well, I've never actually done it but just the idea of it...I know I would hate it."
"Exactly. I've never gone either but it seems like a nightmare," Tara admits.
"You know what this means don't you?" I say. "We should do it. Together. Just us."
She grins. "I'm in," she says and thus began our preperations.
A week later, my tall, lanky friend comes into my office. "You're worrying me Andrea," she says. "You don't
seem very concerned about this. Camping takes some serious preperation and so far you've done nothing."
"Ok, dear, what should I be doing?" I ask.
"Well, for starters we need a campsite and it must have electricity. Have you procured one for us?"
"Oh, that. Hmmm. No. Surely that can't be a problem, finding a place to pitch a tent and build a fire. Don't worry. I'll deal with that later. Its all under control," I say trying to reassure her. "And what have you
done so far Tara?"
"I've decided I'm going to make you paella and pineapple upside down cake over our fire," she says matter of factly, "and for breakfast I'm making bacon and eggs. I hate eggs, but it seems like the campy thing to do."
"Let's back this up a little," I say. "You're making paella
? As in the Spanish dish paella? And how in the world are you going to bake a cake over an open fire? You've never cooked over fire." I'm imaging crunchy rice and raw seafood and cake batter oozing out of home made foil packets.
"Don't worry Andrea, I have it all under control
she says in mockery.
By the next weekend we've got her car packed like refugees fleeing our homeland. "All this stuff for one
night?" I whine.
An hour later we're pulling into our campsite complete with loud truck engines, snotty nosed kids on bikes and a sufficient amount of tattooed covered flesh to feast our eyes on.
Our priority quickly became getting the tent set up. Tara had borrowed this tent from her boss at work who assured her, "It should be fine but I haven't looked in that bag in ages..." The famous last words.
With all the tent's parts spread out before us, Tara sits at the picnic table scratching her head trying to decifer the instructions. "Something isn't right here..." I would hear her repeating to herself. "Something's missing..."
Sure enough, something was missing, as in one of the two poles used to hoist up the tent. We released our inner McGyvers and that along with the help of an amused old man passing by, managed to make our tent a little more three dimentional.
Next came building the fire and cooking the infamous paella and pineapple upside down cake. Tara
insisted it be set over a huge open flame. The cooking was her department so I wasn't going to interfere but it looked more like a pyrotechnic show than anything I'd seen Mrs. Ingles do on Little House on the Prairie.
"Well, that's done. Now
what do we do?" I ask as we sit starring at each other.
"This is camping Andrea. We're do it. This
is the fun," she says sarcastically.
"This is the fun? This is what its all about? Sitting here and watching old guys throw horse shoes?"
Tara gets quiet for a minute. She asks, "Andrea, do you meditate?"
I roll my eyes. "Don't get all Gandhi on me man. What do you mean, 'Do I meditate?' Where's this coming from?"
"Well, I just think that's why you're so wound up and always need to be 'doing something.' If you meditated more then your Amygdala would become thicker and thus make you a calmer person. I read it somewhere."
"Is that so? You read that in RedBook?" I say with a smirk. "Let me reassure you, my Amygdala or whatever you call it is plenty thick and right now
I'm dreading sleeping on those inflatable rafts we have for beds and would love to just be roaming the aisles of an air conditioned Wal-Mart."
She bellows loudly. "Really Andrea? Wal-Mart?
No, no, no. That's not what we need. What we need is a.....frisbee. Yeah, a frisbee would be great right now," she says like she believes it.
"Has it come to this Tara? We're arguing over whether we should cruise around a Wal-Mart or play frisbee? I think we're missing the point here."
"No," she tells me, "We're not
missing the point. Camping sucks just like we knew it would. If anything, we made
the point. I say let's open the wine and call it a night."
And so we opened the wine and sat at our checkered picnic table complete with a scented candle. Then we covered ourselves in bug spray and slept with our boney hips grinding into the gravel beneath us in our lopsided tent with a million crickets crackling in our ears til the delightful hour of 5 a.m. when one lone crow began a delightful chorus of "Caw! Caw! Caw! Caw!"
Tara sits up on her raft, her hair
all smashed on one side and the remnants of yesterday's mascara smeared on her face, "I wish I had a firearm" she growls.
"Yeah, that was a bad night wasn't it?" I ask rhetorically. "But we did it! We camped! I'm so proud of us."
"Oh we camped alright and it just reaffirmed what I already knew," she says.
"Which is...?" I ask her.
"I hate camping."
No kidding! Me too!
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