My husband was not having the best day, so I figured why not humor him and go camping. He’s been talking about wanting to do this ever since we met, and that was about 40 years ago. (We did go once with the kids, and I haven’t been back. That was around 25 or 30 years ago.) I do like to walk and bike, but I’m not fond of bugs, or an uncomfortable bed. I am basically an old girly girl.
Anyway, I say, ” I want to try something different. let’s go camping today.” Not wanting to miss a golden opportunity he quickly loads the car. He takes the tent he optimistically bought last year, and never used. He also packs some food, peanut butter, bread, ice, water, towels and a blanket. He also takes Kodak —the defunct photo company— rafts we used 40 years ago, and a blow-up mattress he bought who knows when.
He forgets the air compressor. I guess he was in a big hurry to go before I changed my mind. He doesn’t usually forget anything.
We get to the camping site, about an hour away. The first thing I notice is there are hardly any stand alone tents. There’s all these fancy motor homes, and cute pop-up tents. I’m thinking, “Maybe tent camping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
I already know this, but I figure I can try it every 30 years or so.
After 20 minutes he puts up the tent. (He’s good at that kind of stuff). I’m reading the directions which he pays absolutely no attention to because he can see how everything fits together without them.
Everything is going along beautifully until he figures out he forgot the air compressor. Meanwhile, we’ve pulled next to a family about 5 little girls. We know we’re old because we think the mother is a teenager at first.
One of the little girls (about 3) hurries up and draws me a picture, and tells me her name. She seems to have a speech impediment, so I have to guess, Olive, Ella? Finally her mother tells me it’s Alice.
Anyway, they are staring at us. They can’t believe it when we both start blowing up the Kodak rafts and the air mattress. Finally I ask,”Do you have an air compressor?” I figure they do because they have a fancy trailer thing.
The mother asks,”Are you guys new to camping?” Then she makes a remark about how adorable we are. I guess it’s cause we look as old as we feel compared to her.
She gives us a compressor, but it doesn’t work, so my poor husband resorts to blowing up the air mattresses using his breath. I’ve already expended all of mine.
Finally, night comes. I don’t know what to do. No computer, no television, and no light to read the book I brought.
My husband lights a lantern that he expertly pumps up. But that goes up in flames. So, he blows until that goes out.”Guess that had too much gas,” he says.
He finally sets up the tent. He doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable because if I wait another 30 years we’ll both be in our 90′s or dead.
I get in the tent. Not easy to get in that small zippered passageway. It’s not bad, very cozy. After a couple of hours both ancient mattresses and Kodak floats have deflated. He thinks they had a leak, but I think they have aged just like us.
I am trying to suppress my usual inclination to complain. I only utter, “this is ridiculous once or twice. When I go to the bathroom, a huge ant climbs up my foot. I hurry up and get out of there!
I’ll give it another chance. But we’ll have some new mattress things, and an air compressor.
Right now the lodge sounds pretty good to me.