Isn’t it a little bit interesting, if perhaps not outright strange with a hint of absurd, how “camping” means something completely different to adults than it does to kids. When you’re young, camping is kind of like your average family outing except instead of revolving around Pirate-themed mini-golf, you just hang out in the woods with your folks and maybe your dog and once in a while go swimming down by the beach. All your food is cooked over the fire, by your parents, served to you on thin white plates. Water is mysteriously, and plentifully, provided by a large blue cooler than dad keeps in the truck, though for some reason you’re never thirsty. On the first and last days of the trip, all the tents, gear, pic-nic and supplies magically pack and unpack themselves and you never have to worry a drip.
Then you become am adult and everything changes.
When adults talk about camping they aren’t talking about the wild, colourful and fun example listed above that fills in the blanks for the childhood camping experience and related memories. When adults talk about camping they are talking about something radically different that in reality actually has very little to do with camping and quite a bit in common with voluntary alcohol poisoning. After all, what does one expect to happen when the only thing on the agenda for three days is to make fire, stare at fire, and finish off an entire bottle of Gin. I suppose hot dogs fit in there somewhere too, but depending in the state of fire and Gin, they often times fall into a tertiary role.
In this way, I guess that camping actually has quite a bit in common with a backyard barbecue. On the surface they both involve lawn chairs, copious amounts of drinking, cooking meat over a grill and paper plates, but its not often at a barbecue that you happen to catch one of your neighbours walk by wearing nothing but a beer-belly and a snake tattoo, or hear strangers blast Metallica louder than God or see and entire family down the lane pack everything they own, screaming kids including, into their RV like it was a clown car. Backyard barbecues operate off of a certain understanding of a noise limit. In the forest, there is no such thing. Outdoor voices what?
Now, I’ve heard people talk about camping as a way to escape from the city and reconnect with nature and trees and wildlife and all that, but that’s a damnright lie. Camping is essentially a way for well-to-do, white, suburbanite families and groups of friends to pack up, go to the woods, and slowly destroy said woods. Camping generates trash, lots of it. Everything is disposal, and there’s only so much Styrofoam those fires will lick up before everyone has trouble breathing and their burgers taste like draino.
Ever really see what a camp site looks like after three days? How big are those garbage bags? Wonder what forty cars driving back and forth from the beach smells like?