I don’t camp. In the immortal words of Ms. Karen Walker of Will and Grace, the only stars I’m sleeping under are five stars. Unless you’ve got a big RV or a camper of some sort, there’s a safe bet I won’t be joining you in the middle of the woods.
My husband, on the other hand, wants to hike the Appalachian Trail someday. In case you were wondering, that would require about four months straight of tent sleeping. When he asked me if I would join him, I could only answer after my five-minute long laughter attack.
“Yeah…we can’t even flip a mattress together without things getting into a fight. I don’t think we want to test the waters with mosquito-infested trails, steep mountains, minimal showers and actual tent camping. For four months straight.”
Okay, to be fair…yes, I would join him and visit him along some points of the trail (preferably the flat-terrain parts and the part where I am only 40 miles from New York City). So it made we wonder…where did I get this aversion to camping? It’s not like I’ve even tried it that much. But then it hit me.
That is my earliest (and last) camping memory, and I’m not sure it was entirely positive. And I even have photographic proof!
Exhibit A: Here I am at Jellystone Campground, merely one year old, innocently getting a backpack ride with my Dad (clearly rocking that 70’s mustache).
All seems cool, right?
Exhibit B: Cut to five minutes later, when I encounter this dinosaur-sized, menacing bear!
Now to the outside world, Yogi is just this normal-sized bear. (Well…normal-size bear costume.) But to this day I still remember him as this giant grizzly, ready to come down and snatch me away from my dad.
So apparently sometime after this tragic meet-and-greet, I decided I wanted to run around a bit and not stay anywhere near my family. Frankly I think I was suffering from some post-traumatic-stress symptoms from encountering the giant bear. Either that or I was in my terrible twos and just wanted to run away. Constantly. I don’t know, you decide…but anyway, my parents must have gotten a bit tired of chasing me, so they tried this creative solution.
Exhibit C: 1970’s Child Restraint
Yup, that’s me in the family car. (Was it a burnt orange Maverick? I think so). One end of that rope is tied around my waist, and the other end is tied to the steering wheel. I look pretty happy to be playing inside the car. I must have then started doing something wrong (beeping the horn, perhaps?) because later I was then banished outside the car, where I could still roam on my leash…at least within a 15 feet radius.
I can only assume that these traumatizing events had a direct effect on my distaste for camping to this day. Oh, and maybe the fact that I like daily showers, a comfortable mattress and a bug-free room. I’m no dummy…in fact I may be smarter than the average bear.