Early this morning, Sophia and I returned from our abbreviated weekend camping trip. I doubt there will be another. Frankly, I was surprised she suggested camping in the first place. The notorious insect and snake hater had never been before (a life-experience omission I’d thought deliberate). As I pointed out when she proposed the concept: “You do realize there’s no manicurist at a campsite, and we can’t bring along the bathtub?”
Oddly, a voluntary separation from her normal luxuries did not deter Sophia. She insisted it’d be nice to try something a little outside our comfort zone. And outside our comfort zone it proved. Indeed, I’d call the trip downright uncomfortable.
We borrowed a double-compartment tent from our neighbors, along with other necessary camping supplies, and drove off to the North Georgia Mountains late yesterday morning. Forecasting even worse disasters to come, my girlie car blew a tire while traversing the off-road path to the campground. That’s when we discovered Sophia’s cell phone was dead and I’d left mine on the kitchen counter. As a result, the two of us, not AAA, labored more than an hour in sweltering heat to mount the spare.
Nor did our luck improve upon finally reaching the campsite. I’d just finished unloading the tent when I heard the unmistakable sound of Sophia closing the hatchback … with my car keys locked inside, together with our firewood, food and water supplies. Evening came by the time the locksmith arrived. The park ranger had been nice enough to call him, after we’d made the three-mile, largely uphill hike to the ranger’s station.
We managed to raise the tent more or less, get a fire going and cook dinner before turning in for the night. While Sophia washed the frying pan and attended to our garbage, I took care of dousing the campfire and arranging our sleeping quarters. Then we collapsed in our sleeping bags and passed out from sheer exhaustion.
At the time Sophia agreed to dispose the trash, I’d assumed she knew to lock the garbage bags in the car overnight. I had no idea she deposited them in the tent’s second compartment. Not until much later that evening did I learn of her camping faux pas. It must’ve been about 4:00 a.m. when she shook me awake and told me she had to go to the bathroom. Surprisingly, she didn’t completely panic when I told her to take the lantern and find a quiet spot in the woods. Instead, she reserved complete panic for the moments after she unzipped the flap leading to the second tent compartment, stepped into the compartment, and interrupted a raccoon family picnic centered on our trash.
Though I’m sure all present felt a fair degree of shock, I think it’s safe to say Sophia’s proved the greatest. The four furry critters may’ve been startled by the human intrusion, but they weren’t the ones who screamed, dropped a lighted gas lantern … and set the tent on fire.
Two-compartment camping tent