Sunday, August 07, 2005

The (Inevitable) End of Summer or Camping to Avoid Reality

Yes, it's true. Summer is winding to a close. I can hear the theme music rising in the background. I must prepare myself for the credits and the inevitable exit into the glaring sunlight of reality. But first I must go camping with Middlebrow and Son. I, of course, am the instigator of said adventure. Middlebrow likes to go, but he would never suggest it. I don't think he likes sleeping on a thin pad on the ground. I like to go. Mostly I love an excuse to eat hot dogs and smores. I also love hiking and then coming back to camp and wading in the stream to cool off my feet. I like it when my clothes smell like wood smoke. I don't love sleeping on the ground on a thin pad, but maybe we just need better equipment.
Once when MB and I were in grad school we went on a backpacking trip with a few grad school friends. Two of them were a married couple (still married! with child!) who had the best camping gear I've ever seen. We all set up separate tents (them in one, MB and I in another, the three single folks in another). When they got their tent set up and we looked in, well, it was like looking into the Four Seasons from the Motel 6. One of my friends, Gary, hiked up with a can of Cheez Whiz in his backpack and nothing to drink but a bag of wine (he removed the box before cramming the foil wine pouch into his backpack). Another friend, Susan, looked like a toothpick carrying a turtle on her back. At one point she did fall over and couldn't get up. I think the backpack, empty, may have weighed more than her. Yes, this was the famous trip when, in the middle of the night, after listening to me complain that his side of the tent was somehow superior to my side, Middlebrow yelled "You wouldn't last ten seconds on this side of the tent!" In the morning we discovered that MB had been sleeping on the bag of tent stakes all night. It was under the tent. So maybe it's not all about the gear, but is about being smarter, somehow, than the gear.
So tomorrow we head out, not too far, for a few brief days of camping. I'm ashamed to say it is our first and only camping trip this summer. I'm not sure where the summer's gone. . . (don't we say that every year?) but it has been a good one. Camping will provide me with the opportunity to make coffee with a stovetop espresso maker (thank you Tony Caputo's!) and to avoid preparing for the start of school for at least a few more days.
When we return, we will attend a Stinger's game (all praise Thirsty Thursday!), also the first/only of the season. Again, where has the summer gone?
One last note: I cannot claim to have been "successful" at NaNoWriMo (or whatever) but I did write 20,000 words (so far!). I'm not giving up. But I have to scale back my expectations. Maybe I'll try to write 20,000 words next month too. Or something.
In other news, I am going to run a half-marathon in September. I figure if I can run 10 miles this Saturday I can do it. Even if I walk some of it. Hey, it's better than sitting on the couch. And when I finish, I can have a big piece of chocolate cake! (Not right after, but maybe after lunch or something. . . )


lis said...

I, too, am mourning the end of summer (although I am slightly consoled by the feeling that I hardly had a summer). I think the problem with being in education is that the end of summer is much weightier than it might be otherwise. Happy Camping!

Ron said...

It's the gear. I finally bought a very small and light backpacking stove and a very expensive (90 freakin bucks) self-inflating Thermarest pad. Pad was much better than thin foam crap but I still didn't sleep much; at least I was comfortable while I read Waterman's "Backwoods ethics." Don't read Waterman or you will feel guilty about building a fire and then won't be able to have that smoke smell.

Lisa B. said...

I used to like to camp, for the smoke reason you cite, but I think that years of raising kids beat the love of it right outta me. We sort of "camp" around the TV for movie marathons.

Good luck with the running. I would be glad to support you in the eating of a piece of chocolate cake.