Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Monday, November 12, 2007

"I tell you, that boy's got a talent for dissipation that is absolutely unique." - Ben Rumson, Paint Your Wagon

 

The Boy, studying for a Cub Scout achievement thingy, or maybe it was the MCAT, which would explain why someone named “John Hopkins” keeps calling.

The Boy and I got to our campsite when it was nearly as dark as the inner recesses of Ted Turner’s mind. We always seem running behind, despite our best efforts to not be horribly late and generally inept. Oh, sure, Internet, you can smugly sit and wait for us to be inept for you, but that just means you’re not trying hard enough to be as inept as us.

Anyhow, how we were late, and why we were late is relatively immaterial (I would blame The Mrs., but she sometimes reads this and certainly wasn’t to blame, since she can read and all). Part of what delayed us was me not being able to find one of our five(!) – not exaggerating – tents somewhere in our house. At least they used to be in our house, but at this point I think that they’ve been translocated to some dimension where tents are needed by an army of Christopher Walken clones for the purpose of . . . well, best not to go there. But at least that’s the simplest explanation I can think of as to why I can’t find my tents.

We got to the campsite and The Boy and I put the tent up. After that, I built the first charcoal cooking fire that I’ve built in over a decade. My mistake? Not dousing the charcoal with enough starter fluid to drain Saudi Arabia? No. Remembered that. My mistake was in not putting enough charcoal in the grill. In retrospect, it would have been faster to have grilled the hamburgers over a Bic© lighter.

As The Boy unrolled our sleeping bags, he kept singing, “Give Me Your Dissipation.”

Although “Give Me Your Dissipation” has only four words for lyrics, it is somewhat catchier than you might imagine, especially if you sing it like Ozzy® singing his old Black Sabbath© stuff.

John Wilder: “What does dissipation mean, anyway?”

The Boy: “You know, like when ghosts disappear, they dissipate.”

Hmmm. He had me there.

Ever shared a tent with a hyperactive seven-year-old? Don’t. They want to talk about, well, seven-year-old stuff, like whether or not Einstein meant to add in the cosmological constant or not, and not interesting stuff like which Army division is dating Paris Hilton now.

Anyhow, after the siren testing factory and jet fighter training school shut down for the night, I was able to get some sleep. I went to sleep at 10:00 PM, at 11:32PM, at 1:03AM, at 3:00AM, and then again at 6:13AM. It’s amazing the level of discomfort little blue foam sleeping bag ground covers can transmit through the sleeping bag, since at one point I awoke and was fairly certain that I’d had a stroke, given that the entire left side of my body was numb. I turned to lay on my right side. Repeat process. Listen to the rain on the tent. Turn to stomach. Listen to what sounds like cloven hooves smashing into the ground around the tent. Turn to back.

As I tossed and turned, I reflected that this was not the most uncomfortable night I ever spent in a sleeping bag in a tent – that would have to go to the time I was camping above 13,000’ in the Rockies between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I listened to the advice of my (stick skinny) friend and took his “way super cool” sleeping bag instead of mine. What I had forgotten to do was to see if the bag fit. I got into the tent (blizzard conditions, 60 MPH winds, -20°F temperatures) and found I couldn’t zip the sleeping bag up past my waist (this really happened). The really uncomfortable part, though, was wondering if I’d remembered to lock the back door to the house at home. Bugged me all night.

At 6:47AM, I came to the realization that I was now a decade older and this, indeed was the most uncomfortable night I’d ever spent in a tent. I counted the minutes until it was time to get up – and then The Boy and I tromped over to the rest facilities, which were tiled and not the general state-issue bare concrete, and had showers.

The Boy: “They have showers here.”

John Wilder: “I didn’t drive several hundred miles to come camping and have to shower. Camping means you don’t have to shower.”

He nodded, as if the advice I gave him were as sage as Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, “Hasta la vista, baby” at the end of Terminator II.

After our morning ablutions, he and I meandered back to our campsite where we had a breakfast consisting of Pop Tarts© and coffee. Okay, I made the seven-year-old hot cocoa, and had all the coffee myself. Did you think I was about to share?

We then got ready for the hiking and other bits that would make up our day.

Me? No radio. No television. No computer.

No withdrawals . . . just a sense of peace, the peace of the inept, preparing for the day.

Ain’t life grand?
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3 Comments:

Blogger The Therapist! said...

Sounds like good times for the Wilder men.

3:28 AM  
Anonymous CWH said...

"a decade older"? Am I missing an extra decade because of the metric conversion, or did Y2K cause us to lose a decade (or 2 at this point)?

8:07 PM  
Blogger John said...

the therapist,
Indeed. And, I might say so, we were suitably smelly the whole time.

cwh,
Caught my typo, I meant a decade older since the last time I camped, but, really, sleeping on the cold, hard ground felt like a whole decade.

9:52 PM  

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