I’ve only ever been camping once in my life. It was a pretty lousy experience because nothing really went right and I just didn’t go with the right people, so eventually I’d like to go again with people who’d actually be fun to go camping with.
When I was a kid, my neighbors across the street were a woman, her boyfriend, and her son. The boyfriend was an older man who always seemed so crotchety and short-tempered to me, it wasn’t till years later that I realized he probably didn’t like children. The son was my age, so we grew up together, which meant we were always together and probably drove this dude insane, I know we were obnoxious sometimes.
One day Mr. Crotchety had a friend visit from the Netherlands, and they decided to go camping. I don’t know if my friend’s mom told him to bring us kids so she’d have the house to herself or if he thought maybe it’d be a good way to bond with us, but it ended up being the four of us. I don’t know why my friend’s mom didn’t join us, but that doesn’t matter.
Our destination was supposed to be some sort of empty circular patch of space in the desert that I suppose is known as a good camping spot, but we ended up getting lost because Mr. Crotchety didn’t actually have any idea where he was supposed to go. This was long before smartphones and dashboard GPS’s, so our only option was directions from the internet and actual maps. I don’t know what happened, but I can only assume Mr. Crotchety hadn’t actually printed out any directions, so we ended up lost and basically just picked a random spot in the desert to set up our stuff because it was already pretty dark.
Mr. Crotchety had the idea that we should explore, but with our flashlights off. I guess he thought our eyes would adjust, but me and my friend kept turning on our flashlights because we kept thinking we saw snakes or holes or other things you didn’t want to step in. He got mad and actually made us go back to where we’d parked while he and his Netherlands friend explored. By the time they got back, we all decided to go to sleep, and my friend just wouldn’t shut up about how freezing it was since we didn’t have tents, just our sleeping bags. Mr. Crotchety practically threw the car keys at his head and said to sleep in the car, and that’s where my friend spent the rest of the night. It took me forever to fall asleep because I was totally convinced I’d wake up to find some animal chewing on me. That didn’t happen, but waking up still sucked because wow is the sun bright when there isn’t a roof blocking it from your eyes.
Going to the bathroom was an issue for me. I was too shy to just squat behind a bush, so I just didn’t go. Not until later when I ended up wetting myself in the car while sitting on someone else’s sleeping bag. I remember not even being that embarrassed, but I was embarrassed enough that I didn’t actually say anything. And neither of them ever brought it up, so I never found out whose bag I peed all over.
We ended up passing the empty patch we were originally aiming for, it turns out we were only about half a mile from it. We had to spend the rest of the drive home in silence because Mr. Crotchety was so pissed about that.