When I was a little girl, we lived out in the middle of nowhere, and my siblings and I thought it was fun to go into the woods and build forts. We’d smash apples from our old apple trees and pretend we were cooking them over a campfire. Our “campfire” was a pile of sticks without a flame, mind you, and we couldn’t wait for the day when we were older and could go camping all the time.
But fast forward four decades and there’s no way you are going to get my ass to a campground to set up a tent. Pandemic or not, lying on roots and listening to mosquitoes buzz in my ears all night, as I sweat from being in a sleeping bag while simultaneously freezing, is not for me.
I don’t care if we can’t go anywhere else this summer and the campgrounds around where we live in Maine have been deemed safe. If I want to experience what it’s like to be in the wilderness, I’ll watch Naked and Afraid.
I’m all fucking set with having to slither out of a nylon bag — not be able to stand up fully and try and unzip myself from a triangle that will hold the smell of a fart for decades — just to take a piss.
I have no desire to take food out of a cooler and bags, hoping the bread and chips aren’t smashed, then build a fire to char some kind of meat on a stick.
There’s no way in hell I am going to spend a dog year packing up everything we need to survive without modern conveniences, and then loading it all into the damn car.
If I have to take things like toilet paper and bug spray when we go away, it’s not a fucking vacation. It’s more like preparing to come face to face with a lot of hard labor and several disasters waiting to happen.
I’ll stay put, thanks. I rather like sleeping in my comfortable bed with clean sheets and taking a shower with water and scented body wash in the morning.
It’s nice to not slap myself silly and have welts all over my body from bloodsucking insects. Don’t even get me started on what mosquitoes do to my kids. I can’t even stand the thought of everyone complaining how itchy they are and scratching themselves until they bleed, then complaining about that.
I don’t care if we can’t go to hotels, out of state to visit relatives, or to a water park for the day. It’s not enough of a reason for me to torture myself.
I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend hours trying to put up a tent that smells like mildew and sadness.
Call me high maintenance and unappreciative of nature if you will. I’m okay with it. But you should also know that my opinion is rooted in experience; I’ve tried to walk on the wild side and camp.
I’ve canoed for four days straight and set up a tent each night. I got a heat stroke, threw up, and there were so many mosquitoes in my eyes and butt crack all damn day I cried. I shit in the woods for fuck’s sake. I ate charred bacon for breakfast every morning with a side of pine needles.
Then there was the time I stayed with my kids at a campground for the weekend ten years ago and my neck and shoulders still aren’t right. I tripped outside the tent at 2am on a damn root trying to take a pee. I heard wild beasts that I was sure wanted to eat me, and I swear I felt a mouse run up my leg just as I was drifting off to sleep.
My sleeping bag was so sandy you could have built a castle, and the people on both sides of us were doing several illegal things.
I fell over at least three times trying to get dressed, and my kids just don’t know how to keep a tent closed so things like bears and flies don’t invite themselves in.
All this is why I’ll stay home and climb the walls before I set foot in a campground or go out into the wilderness to pitch a fucking tent and “get away from it all.” I don’t want to get away from running water, my bed, and a sand-free asshole. I don’t want to lose my temper trying to get a fire started or pray it doesn’t rain. I’d rather stay home and lose it on my kids when they don’t close the refrigerator door.
And honestly, seeing my kids’ pee all over the seat is a hell of a lot more appealing than having to use an outhouse as flies swarm my lady bits, as I bend over and blow mud because camping stresses me the fuck out and makes all my stools loose.
You can keep your expensive camping gear and freeze-dried meals. I’m happy sitting at home, so at home I will stay. I don’t care if camping will be our only means of getting away for years to come, no one can convince me otherwise. Screw you and the camper you rode in on; I’m an air conditioning and Netflix kind of girl.
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