Camping is torture

I have never been, nor will I ever be, described as “outdoorsy.” This has been a problem for me with my dating experiment on FarmersOnly. I do not camp. I do not canoe. I do not hike. Not even if you look like David Beckham.

While it is true that I went to law school in Vermont aka the middle of nowhere, it was not due to a love of nature. I don’t like nature. I like furry cute animals in nature, but I like my nature more furry and less naturey. I don’t like to get dirty. I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like bugs.

I’m also allergic to everything. Poison ivy. Smoky fire pits. Citronella. Mold spores. Lilies. Sunlight. People. And I can’t breathe at all when the temperature is over 75. So I guess I just like winter nature. I could play in the snow all day long. But unless you are staying in an ice fishing hut, that’s not really practical.

My blood type is O positive, which apparently makes me a tasty snack for mosquitoes. Or perhaps it is because of the copious amounts of sweet red wine flowing in my system. In the summer my legs tend to look like relief maps of the Himalayas.

A few years back I was in peak itch mode when I ventured out in shorts to my local Walmart. Normally I wouldn’t wear shorts in public because I might scare old people who think they’ve seen a ghost. However, I figured it’s Walmart, so they’re lucky I put shorts on.

I was standing in the checkout lane when a small boy in front of me turned around and pointed at my legs in horror. His mother was distracted in a loud conversation on her cell phone, so I thought for a second and decided to run with the voices in my head. I leaned down and said, “Yes. I am a leper. Like in the Bible. “ The child kind of nodded like he was familiar with the story. Not being able to resist, I had to add, “Didn’t Jesus teach you it’s rude to point at people?” The child whipped his head around and refused to look at me again. I consider it one of the few examples in my life where I can say I would have made a great parent.

It’s a good thing I’m 42 and the door for having kids has slammed so tightly even the Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t knock on it. Surely I will be the first person in Connecticut to contract the Zika virus.

When I was a child, I pretended to be a model citizen for a year by joining the girl scouts. The highlight of the girl scout year was a weekend camping trip to Massachusetts, where camping meant staying in cabins, thankfully. Even still, they didn’t tell me ahead of time that toilets were like outhouses. One look at that and my response was, “How long is the walk back to Connecticut?” It was then that my stubborn French Canadian side emerged and I held my bodily fluids for something like 40 hours until I returned home. Fortunately, it wasn’t difficult, because I was only allowed the water in my canteen, and the only food was beef stew and s’mores. So I had a couple s’mores and 8 oz. of water all weekend. I think prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have it better. Needless to say, this experienced pretty much ensured that I would never camp again.

That was until about 4 years later, when my Dad decided he was buying a camper for a family vacation. Being 13 and going through puberty, a camping trip with your Dad is not high on the list of fun activities. Understanding my stubborn refusal to go unless it had a toilet, shower and air conditioning, he at least was not insisting on “roughing it.” Although having a 30 second cold shower in a small closet was only slightly better than not showering for a week. After a couple days, my Dad was also not so much into “roughing it” and found a campground with mini golf. He also proved to not be so skilled in the camping area and had difficulty building a campfire. Not that we were cooking on it, because we had a propane grill. I guess it was for ambience. Or boredom without TV. But not being a man who gives up, Dad pulled out the big box fan to get the fire going. I’m grateful to this day he couldn’t play the harmonica, although he tortured me enough with bluegrass music and such classics as Boxcar Willie on the 12 hour drives everyday. (I’m going to suggest that to Donald Trump as a new torture technique. Highly effective.)

I only was forced to go camping two more years after that, when he upgraded to a bigger camper with a bigger shower closet. That was enough “roughing it” for me to last a lifetime.

I feel badly that I was a bitchy teenager who refused to bond with my Dad over something he enjoyed so much. My siblings never got to go with him, because they couldn’t afford to go on vacation when they were young. With the huge age difference, my Dad was retired when I was 12. As much as I complained about it, I know I was lucky to have those memories.


It’s been three years since he’s been gone. I still miss him every day.

2 thoughts on “Camping is torture

  1. When I saw the subject, the first thought that popped into my head was that camping trip from hell!!! Somewhere I have a Polaroid of you and me sitting on the bus waiting to go, all smiles…with absolutely no clue the horror that lie ahead.


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