I was on the front porch when you drove by and I waved, then I entered my air-conditioned house and wished you well.
Summer came this year bringing sunny blue skies with cool refreshing nights, but then that tsunami heat wave hit and incinerated any plans for camping. When temperatures hit the high 90s in local forests, only fanatical people go camping, and if you weren’t fanatical, wide-eyed and mumbling to yourself when you pitched your tent you soon would be. Technology now allows you to watch crackling campfires and burnt marshmallows in comfort on YouTube. But you know that, right?
I wish you hadn’t got me started on this.
This country is full of great cities (ours being the best), and each one has nice hotels, beautiful parks and fancy restaurants, and by “fancy restaurants” I mean ones with cloth napkins, clean restrooms and attractive “To Go” boxes. Meanwhile campers eat with unwashed fingers in a cloud of buzzing insects and stealthy crawling ticks, some of which carry horrible illnesses like Lyme’s Disease, a poster child for the pharmaceutical industry.
Nonetheless a person appreciates summer more when you’ve had a long miserable winter, so I get points for that. Long dismal days with sinus’s stopped up tighter than a stadium toilet, hysterical Democrats and confused Republicans all around you, and then freezing rain, which accumulates in a gutter, then drains somehow into the outside electrical box that controls your central heat and you come home from two hours of shame in a PiYo workout class with flat-bellied millennials only to find your house as cold as Grant’s tomb. This helps you appreciate July.
Also, it’s a great help to be married to the right person. During the courtship one should discuss various subjects such as camping, hunting, and rappelling, this after you’ve discussed NFL favorites but right before religious doctrine. I met my wife by a swimming pool, not a campfire, and she was not wearing boots or insect repellent. We’ve been happy for 29 years now. She’s a socializer, loves people, travels across town to play Bunco. I stay home and read classic novels.
Not many great novels center around camping, except for “Call of the Wild” and “Lord of the Flies". Neither is pleasure, but rather an abused dog surviving the tundra in camps with cruel men and psychotic kids running amok on an island without adult supervision. Not one thing recreational about it.
No great cultural work deals with camping. Not one Beethoven symphony, Shakespearian sonnet or Beatle song was inspired by cooking on an open fire, slapping at insects, and sleeping on the same ground as snakes.
Camping is uncomfortable and boring.
The idea is pleasant, but living in a tent and hiking in the heat with blood-sucking mosquitoes is an unpleasant experience and most people later admit that a coffeemaker, air conditioning, and pizza delivery is more important than interacting with bugs and bunnies. It’s true. Before I’d go on a week-long camping trip, I’d rather fly to the moon with 15 4 year olds.
I’m sorry you wanted an opinion about camping.
As I write this, I’m looking out my window, sitting in an air-conditioned house, a refrigerator nearby, internet service, and plenty of toilet paper. On my last camping trip as a boy, I went for a swim, got out and decided to air dry and laid down in a lush thick growth of green leaves and fell asleep. There is a leaf that should never be used as a mattress or toilet paper. Never. I’m OK now, except for occasional nightmares. Thank you for reading. Stay home. Count your blessings.
Readers can write to Joe at Joehudsn@gmail.com and Facebook (View from the Hudson). He is author of “Big Decisions are Best Made with Hot Dogs”.