I grew up camping. It’s one of those things I’m sort of ambivalent about. I used to go with just me & my dad, sometimes we’d bring the sister closest to me in age, but oftentimes, not. We’d go out to the middle of nowhere and have a nice campfire and some hobo type dinner that involved spam.
When my mom would go camping with us, it was a whole different type of camping. We always stayed in a campground, with a bathroom in sight. We had a huge tent, with cots, for sleeping. There was a dining tent, a whole kitchen set up – there was nothing roughing it about camping with my mother.
I never felt the urge to get my own camping equipment. In college, there would be groups that would go camping, but I never joined in. Not sure why. When I met Pat, every time we camped it would end two ways – we’d wake up in unseasonably cold weather or, it would rain. One year I was brave enough to suggest camping at the Outer Banks, as I just really wanted to go to the beach and it seemed like an economic way to go. Until we woke up in the middle of a tropical depression. There was the canoe/camping trip when I was pregnant where there was no rain in the forecast and as soon as we put in, the bottom of the sky fell out and we proceed to get 3″ of rain that day. I love that man, but even suggest putting us in a tent for a night, and you’re going to make it rain.
Needless to say, I decided a few years ago, that if we must go out to the woods and sleep, we have to have a roof over our heads. We need a cabin. I can live without electricity and running water. I can live without internet and tv for a few days, but, I like a roof. I want to be able to make coffee in the morning, under cover of some sort. That’s really not asking too much, is it?
Pat had to work a booth at a music festival this weekend. We know a good number of folks that like to go to those things and since we got to go for free (thanks to his working it), it seemed like something good to take Edie to. I can spend one night in a tent for this, right?
Edie had her mp3 player and her nintendo ds. Pat had his new laptop with the gps device that can find internet anywhere so we could have football scores. We knew a slew of folks going and best of all, there was no rain in the forecast. It was going to be unseasonably warm & sunny. I had no excuses as to why I could not go.
Having never been to one of these things before, I really didn’t know what to expect. I recognized the names of the bands, but I’m not a huge blue grass fan, I’m not a big Americana fan either really, so I can say, I had never listened to most of them. There were alot of young hippie types there – some really unsavory looking ones too. It was billed as a family event and while there were kids activities (the best of which were offered by my better half as part of our free entrance to the festival), I found myself having to yell at several young men on several different occasions for unsportsmanlike behavior. There were all sorts of sketchy looking characters walking around the campground with all sorts of things they were selling.
First was partyboy, in the next group of tents over. Now our little group had quite a campfire and picking circle going on until the wee hours of the morning. When Edie called it a night, she insisted one of us come with her into the tent. As the spout on my box of wine had apparently stopped working (still don’t have a clue what that is about, but there is still plenty of wine left), I took it as a sign that I had been cut off and went with her. We fell asleep well enough, but got woken up by sounds of partying a good number of times. Most notably, the next group of tents over, a group of young men, one of whom had this loud laugh that I can only describe as very beavis & butthead like, only dumber sounding. As everyone else fell into their tents and went to sleep, this party continued on and got progressively louder. Finally, they grew quiet and we all managed to get back to sleep….until just a little bit later (about 5:30 or so), when they cranked it back up a notch. As I laid in my tent between my husband muttering ‘shut up. just please shut up’ and my daughter complaining about the language being used, I finally sat up, unzipped the tent and in a voice a little louder than I had intended yelled “PARTYBOY”. A very quiet, ‘yes m’am?’ answered me. “SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO SLEEP!” Silence. Golden silence.
Later that morning (a much more reasonable hour), I apologized to everyone around me for being so loud in my yelling at partyboy and every last one assured me it was fine, and thank you very much. In fact, later on, I got to witness a neighbor giving a hard time to a youngster on the other side of them, for trying to abscond with some of their stuff, like their firewood.
I didn’t start feeling really old and cranky until this kid came walking by with an armful of water pipes, offering them up. First of all, I’m pretty sure he hadn’t had a personal association with any form of soap in longer than I wanted to know. Secondly, he looked as if he had been trying his merchandise along the way. Thirdly, there were children running around! I don’t give a rats behind how ‘legal’ your things are, be cool. Don’t make me have to answer questions from my curious child. I mentioned to him that children were around and he might not want to be so flagrant with his wares. He told me to stop being uptight.
If you know me at all, you know I am NOT the most uptight parent out there. I know that I myself have stayed up partying to wee hours of the night and have had people yell at me to just shut up and go to bed. I brought her to a hippie fest for crissake, how uptight can I be? I was trying to warn the kid that other mothers might not be so nice about his offering his wares to everyone in sight and looking like he did, he was just trying to get busted. Seriously.
The festival itself was ok. It was their first year and they have some kinks to work out for sure. Next time the family camp ground on the hill next to the road might actually be the better option, instead of in the woods with all the riff-raff. The upside to the weekend? It didn’t rain. And I didn’t get poison ivy.
I’m just that old and cranky apparently. What a way to find out.