[P]er the weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat, I have decided to address the issue of camping, for no other reason than I’ve done my share of it. Oh, and something crazy always seems to happen when I go. I’ve selected one of my most memorable excursions to share with you, so read on if you dare.
I grew up in a little town, you know, the kind where your neighbor across the street still dries the clothes on a line so you can watch them flap in the breeze while you sit in the front porch rocking chair enjoying an RC Cola and a moon pie. We don’t have the luxuries most towns do when it comes to entertainment, unless we drive the 10 miles to town, so we became expert self-entertainers. My friends and I would drop everything and decide to shoot cans in the yard, take a fishing trip or anything else we could do to pass the time.
Sometimes, we decided to go camping. This was, after all, the idea that suited us best, because we had the perfect camp spot — as long as it wasn’t hunting season. The campsite, as it came to be known, was in a secret location on a plot of land called “The Flats.” It had everything. You couldn’t get to it without going into a heavily-wooded area, and you were bound to get lost if you didn’t know the right trail to take. Only a select few are privy to its exact location and, to this day, when we take people there we make them close their eyes, lest they reveal our hiding place to the world.
The first ill-fated trip came about as a result of sheer, unadulterated boredom.
Two of my friends and I planned the trip in about 10 minutes, sped to Wal-Mart to buy the essential items such as hot dogs and lighter fluid, grabbed three tents and headed for the campsite.
Dusk was already fast approaching when we arrived, so we had to hurry to set up camp before the last remaining daylight flickered away. It took my friends all of 10 minutes to set up their single-person tents, but I had neglected to mention one minor detail. My tent boasted three rooms, and it was all mine. It took a while to set it up, but, when it finally stood on its own, it was nothing short of spectacular. We’re talking the Taj Mahal of tents. My friends were insanely jealous of my
palace abode, and I relished in it. We lit our campfire, ate our hot dogs and enjoyed the night air until we began to get sleepy. We coated out tents in waterproof spray, then used the rest of it to make the fire blow up. When it came time to turn in for the night, I ducked in my palace tent, unzipped the walls between the rooms, zipped up the door and relaxed in the huge amount of space I had. Halfway through the night I began to feel thankful for the large dose of spray I had applied earlier, because a gentle rain trickled down on the tent and its soothing melody soon lulled me to sleep.
When I awakened a short time later, I sensed something wasn’t right. My suspicions were confirmed when I opened my mouth to breathe and nearly drowned. Apparently, I had either (A) missed some spots in my application of the waterproof spray, or(B) I received a faulty product(I tend to stress option B when I tell this story in person). Either way, when I rolled over and tried to rid myself of the waterfall that found its way into my mouth, I noticed the roof was sagging so that it nearly touched my nose, and, as if that weren’t bad enough, torrents of rain flooded in through the faltering side walls.
When daylight finally arrived, I quickly
swam crawled to the entrance and tried to escape what had now become more of an aquarium than a tent. I soon found my escape attempt impossible, however, because of a stubborn door-zipper that wouldn’t budge, no matter how many times I cussed at it.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, one of my buddies heard my commotion and came to the rescue. Ordinarily, I would have laughed my head off at him because, upon hearing the racket coming from the Taj Mahal, he uprooted his tent and waddled over like a turtle coming out of its shell.
I was in no mood for laughter, but this was not the case with him.
He unzipped the door, and, upon finding me wading to meet him, erupted in a fit of laughter loud enough to be heard three counties over. His laughter eventually awakened my other friend, who promptly joined in the chorus after witnessing me come up for air on the way out of the tent.
They still haven’t stopped laughing about that day, and, needless to say, the Taj Mahal hasn’t made another trip.