When I was young…
Wait. With all this “When I was young” talk, I’m sounding like a grandma, aren’t I?
I assure you, I’m no grandma! I’m a “young lady” according to the bus boy at the Mexican restaurant I dined in last night. He was actually a “bus man” because he was definitely a man and not a boy. There was nothing boyish about him… He was all man… Muscular, confident, and handsome… but not cloyingly so.
Anyway, when I was young…
Okay, I am like a grandma in many ways… I love Christmas and housecoats and hard candy, but I am also still very youthful, fresh-faced and just a tad immature.
I digress again (it happens).
Anyway, when I was young, my family regularly went camping.
I love Wikipedia’s definition of camping:
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants (known as campers) leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, a primitive structure, sporting camp or no shelter at all.
(I couldn’t have said it better myself… so I just went ahead and cut and pasted it.)
You might hear “camping” and think, “Oh, spending time in the Great Outdoors sounds like fun! I can roast artisanal marshmallows over the cinnamon-scented campfire (it’s real thing) and then fall asleep on my Coleman self-inflating sleep pad, while listening to Nature Soundz radio on iTunes (because why listen to actual nature when you can listen to Nature Soundz?). Also, I can catch up on Breaking Bad on Netflix because the campsite has wifi!”
And to you I would say, “Hells no. It was NOT FUN. It was the 1980s.”
It was hot dogs made of pig-snouts, swimming in leach-infested lakes, starting a fire with gasoline, and having conversations.
It was the worst.
I’m not really an outdoors kind of gal, and I wasn’t an outdoors kind of kid either. Luckily, our family had a camper, which made “camping” slightly more bearable.
The set-up looked a lot like this:
The camper was small, but it did the job (keeping us from being eaten alive by bears, mosquitoes, etc.), and it was considered state of the art at the time.
- a curtain separating my parent’s bed from our bed (surprisingly, the thin layer of polyester did not muffle the sounds of my parent’s canoodling)
- a flushable toilet (necessary)
- a self-cleaning oven (my mom cleaned it)
And, most importantly:
- a very declarative bumpersticker on the back, which read:
Apparently, a lot of people love Jesus (which is nice).
All of my fond “camping” memories took place inside the camper, and most involve playing board games and eating Chex Mix while it rained outside (none of my fond “camping” memories involve outdoor recreational activities), so it was a very sad day when my parents sold our beloved camper.
Now when people honk, I just assume they’re angry with us for not signalling when we change lanes, leaving our high beams on, parking in a handicapped spot, etc.