Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping: The Great Equalizer

Here in middle-class suburbia, we spend lots of money and energy trying to live in the nicest houses and neighborhoods within our means. We send our kids to the best schools possible. We take care to find and encourage quality friendships with "good kids" for our children. We turn our noses up at fast food and try to buy organic food for our families because we don't want to die (or at least become genetically mutated) from eating bad stuff. High fructose corn syrup is synonymous with the Devil and we take the five-fruits-and-vegetables-a-day rule very seriously. We send our students to D.A.R.E. and M.A.D.D. assemblies so that they learn that drugs and alcohol are bad. And we never leave our houses without looking put-together.

Then we go camping and even though we bring our super-high-tech REI camping gear, brand new KEEN sandals, and french press coffee pots, at the end of the day, we're covered in dirt and mosquito bites (because our "green" bug spray didn't do a thing expect for act as a glue for dust), sleeping on the ground, and lining up with the rest of humanity for our turn to poop in a pit toilet.

We essentially become equals with our neighbor campers who may or may not: a)smoke weed and blow it into our campsite, b)walk through and pee on a tree in our campsite, c)loudly coach their children on how to be "bad ass" as they walk through our campsite drinking their 40s. And as the week goes on, it becomes perfectly acceptable that we haven't showered for a week. Tooth brushing becomes optional. Diets get thrown out the window and white sandwich bread is allowed (gasp!) along with consuming junk food whenever possible. Organic fruit gets traded in for canned peaches in heavy syrup. Our children are allowed to take off adventuring unsupervised. We don't recycle our paper goods or compost our food scraps; to heck with the ozone, we burn everything!

And you know what? Us filthy, uncivilized, non-green people end up having the best week ever.

and my personal favorite: