Monday, July 07, 2008

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Camping (July 4th Weekend Part 1 of 2)

I was conned into camping this weekend. I say conned because I didn't know it was gonna happen until I KNEW that it was gonna happen, and I say it negatively because unlike 95% of people I've met, I hate camping. So first let me tell you why I hate camping and then I'll sit back and listen while everyone tells me why I'm wrong.

Here's how I was conned:

ME: I think we're comin' up on Saturday instead of Friday.
MY-FRIEND-FORMERLY-WITH-A-POOL: Oh, that works. You'll miss the camping part though...
ME: Cool-- I hate camping.
(flash forward to Saturday)
MFFWAP: We went camping last night, it was amazing.
ME: Cool.
MFFWAP: We stayed at this place with a waterfall and rocks and it fed down to another little pool of water and then another waterfall. It was really amazing-- I'd love to show it to you if you're up for it.
ME: Cool.

Here's what everyone should know-- if someone you know who does not intend to bang you says they want you to see a beautiful bit of nature, and that beautiful bit of nature turns out to be an hour away from where you currently are-- that person intends on camping there with you. And so we learn.

The thing about camping is that I have a home and know that electricity exists. If it weren't for those two things, I'd be more into it.

THEM: Hey Witz, come camping!
ME: Oh man, here's the thing: I pay rent every month to have this home with ammenities like a stove, and refrigerator, and bed, and shower, and toilet...
THEM: Yeah, but it's nature man! We'll have food dogs and chocolate!
ME: Yeah...
THEM: And beers!
ME: True...
THEM: And it doesn't matter if you drop stuff or cook it poorly, because the five second rule is the "Whenever you feel like it" rule in nature, and hot dogs are pre-cooked!
ME: Well, I can understand all that. But with all the beer and hot dogs, what's our bathroom situation like? Because I have a toilet here.
THEM: That's the best part! You can pee in the bushes and crap in a hole!
ME: Even after dark?
THEM: Especially after dark!
ME: Hmm, well I'm still gonna pass, but I appreciate the invite.

It's not that I hate ALL of "camping." I like all the buildup: the hiking, the settling in, being secluded in nature, the camp-fire, the s'mores, the drinking, the bonding, the stories, the pictures, the memories. All that is fine by me. The part of camping that I hate, and the part which I think makes it CAMPING, is the sleeping outside on the ground. There are only two reasons why I should be sleeping on the ground-- either I'm poor, or I've become a pubescent Indian girl and it's that time of the month. Now, I'm not gonna be able to prevent the latter if some kind of "struck by lightning" scenario occurs, but the poverty part I've managed to ward off successfully for a while now.

I have enough trouble sleeping regularly, in a bed, with ideal sleeping conditions. I don't need to be lying out on the ground, no matter how many comforts I bring, which in this case, were very few. Camping for me means rocks and roots digging into my side, hard earth beneath me, really cold temperatures during the night hours that quickly turn into sauna like conditions in my tent when the sun comes up. I could sleep outside of the tent, but that quickly translates into being bug fodder and I do like the false safety of mesh and a zipper. The noises don't help the sleep any either, especially when at first light (5-6am in the summer) the most obnoxious birds on the planet start alerting us to their presence. I swear, the bird that we all dealt with Sunday morning must have ignored the "Show up early, first come, first serve" signs on "Get Your Bird Call Day:"

BIRD WE HEARD: What's your bird-song sound like?
REGULAR BIRDS: Rainbows and dreams. How about yours?
BIRD WE HEARD: A truck horn. So I like to sing it twice. Constantly.

When I'm not camping, and I hear something like that, I can shut a window, shut a door, etc and solve the problem.

Birds aren't the only problem. There are all other manner of things that can annoy, harm, or kill you when you go camping. Bugs, bees, coyotes, spiders, mountain lions, murderers, beasts, monsters, and snakes. And that's in ascending order of danger. Not to be redundant, but snakes are a) my biggest fear and b) most prevalent in nature. Nature is where you camp. I'm tired of hearing, "they're more afraid of you than you are of them," when I have a PARALYZING FEAR OF THEM. We would have to come upon each other and both just freeze completely and start trembling and sweating for us to be equally scared of each other. That snake's first instinct would have to be to jump backward and run forever, even if that meant tumbling down the waterfall to greater harm. Before that snake encounters me, it would have to have already thought out plans of where it would go or what it would do if it were to encounter a human at any given time. And that doesn't typically seem to be the case. Snakes's typical response seems to be to STRIKE. It chooses fight, I choose flight. The snake is not nearly as scared of me as I am of it. So with all these options for death, actually SLEEPING-- actually CAMPING, in or out of a sealed tent (because c'mon, no guarentees) is not something to look forward to. Sleeping is more like whispering a slight, "Let me die peacefully in my sleep," prayer and waiting for the inevitable to happen. With a root sticking in my goddamn back.

Instead of camping, why can't we just, "go hangout in nature for a while?" Get a campfire going, drink a few beers, make some memories, and then pack it in for the night and SUV it back to a warm bed. Because let's be honest, it's usually like 11 p.m. when people head to bed while camping. I'd be good with spending the day with nature, having the campfire thing, and getting into a bed by midnight. Besides, I have some good Netflix at home, and I really want to see Into the Wild. It looks right up my alley.

For A Guy Who's About to Be Homeless, Witz Sure Is Talkin' Some Shit About Camping,


IrishGal said...

One of my least

IrishGal said...

Don't forget my least favorite thing about camping and the main reason I went home a day early from Olympic National Park this past weekend:

Rain. More specifically, raining sideways.

Man, ain't nature great?

JKow said...

At least you didn't walk barefooted through a patch of poison ivy (it was dark out) and end up with blisters in between your toes b/c you're so allergic to the stuff.