An acquaintance wanted to go camping. I agreed to go. I questioned many, many times whether I should bring my tent/sleeping bag/supplies/anything else.
“No, just a swimsuit, overnight stuff, and shower stuff.”
I packed all that, plus a pillow. They borrowed my cooler.
What followed was a comedy of errors the likes of which I have never seen.
Here, I tell the story.
First attempt to leave town:
The three of us load into the car in the morning. When we’re getting gas for the trip, I realize I forgot my contact solution, and Brandy forgot her hairbrush. Neither of us would have bothered to go back, but we were less than a mile away. So it wasn’t a big deal to backtrack.
Second attempt out of town:
On the highway, Brandon realizes he forgot to pack the charcoal. Whoops. We’ll pick up firewood at their parents’ house in Armor, where we are also picking up the tent, sleeping bags, chairs, and his dog Demon. (meaning Demon is the dog’s name, rather than ‘his dog-demon’) They both greet him with "WhoozaBigDumbDog?"
Success! Things go fairly smoothly until we reach the parents’ house. They weren’t home, and we were all locked out. After breaking in, what followed was a four-hour search for the damn tent. Also the camping chairs. Also the sleeping bags.
At least we found the dog easily enough!
Too bad we couldn’t find his leash.
He wasn’t trained well enough to be off-leash, so we had to leave him on the 30-foot logging chain they used to keep him in the yard. The links were as big as my wrist, and the whole thing had to weigh over forty pounds.
The parents’ house is a pigsty and stinks like rotting garbage, so I can’t bear to stay inside for long. I now understand why the siblings live like they do. I read my book in the car because there is literally nothing I can do to help find stuff in a house I’ve never been to.
I regret coming, but grimly tell myself that this might still be okay. I snarl and snap under my breath at both of them that I have never seen such a display of utter incompetence.
They declare they have found everything they needed. Everything from the trunk gets loaded into the back seat, and the trunk is filled with firewood.
At Last, we load up the dog and head out.
By ‘load up’ the dog, I mean we force his thrashing, protesting 70-pound frame through the door of the car, and struggle not to let him escape while we try to get in ourselves.
About Demon the dog: He is ostensibly half Lab and half Husky, with possibly a bit of Blue Heeler. He is very big and very strong. He is mostly black, except his paws and a patch of his chest. His ears are his cutest feature. They are longer than you’d expect. The top third folds down like Labrador ears, while the bottom two thirds are erect like a Husky’s. This gives them a sort of bunny-ish look that is cute as all get out. Demon’s main feature is his eyes. They’re bright orange. Not traffic-cone neon, but fruit-orange, or the color of blinker lights on a car. At night, they glow bright red in artificial light.
On the road, Demon is ping-ponging around the car like a hyperactive rubber ball. He’s on the dashboard, on the floor, in the back seat (the side that isn’t packed with crap), in the front seat, in the rear window, straddling the front and back seat, wagging his tail into the driver’s eyes. He makes rounds, sticking his head out of every available window, and then trying to jump out of them, the whole time dragging the muddy logging chain behind him. We make sure to keep the windows rolled up enough that he couldn’t actually jump out, but that didn’t stop him from repeatedly trying. We couldn’t roll them up all the way, because it had been raining and the dog was wet. Also, Brandy has BO.
Demon continues stomping on the driver’s testicles every few minutes, while launching himself full force into everyone’s lap to stick his head out the window. Said driver ends up with his arms wrapped completely around the dog to reach the steering wheel, his head doing a constant bobbing and weaving to try and see around the big furry body that will. Not. Stay. Still.
At this point, I am laughing so hard that I’m sobbing. I declare that this alone has made the trip worth it.
We pass a cop.
Demon farts. It smells so bad, we think he actually shit in the car.
We instantly pull over and bail out.
The cop pulls up behind us.
Thankfully, we convince him that we’re not doing anything wrong, and he goes on his way.
We finally reach the campground.
They can’t figure out how to pay and get a sticker. We give up, risk getting fined, and drive to find a site.
Basically, there aren’t any. They hadn’t called ahead, and the place was PACKED. We end up in the furthest-from-the-river spot there is, in the furthest RV parking circle, even though we have no RV.
No big deal.
We tie Demon to a post, and unload the car. It’s nearly dusk.
They hadn’t brought a tarp, and it was supposed to rain. I roll my eyes. This whole thing is still salvageable (optimism!).
Demon pees all over my cooler.
We unpack the tent. 2 out of 4 of the tent poles were missing. One of the poles belonged to a completely different tent. I take over, and end up using the non-matching tent pole and a folding chair to prop up the ends of the tent. They didn’t bring a hammer, so we end up using firewood to pound in the stakes.
The tent looks ridiculous.
Me: “It looks like a bunch of retards decided to go camping.” *sigh* “Where are the sleeping bags?”
There were no sleeping bags, despite somebody’s insistence that he was certain he remembered carrying them to the car. So we had Brandy’s one blanket and our three pillows.
I’m determined to get something out of this, so I change into the swimsuit.
Forgot to bring shorts. Whatever, but I've also neglected shaving.
Brandy lends me her shorts. She weighs, like, 400 lbs. The drawstring on the shorts wraps three times around my waist before they even pretend to stay up. I match Brandon, who wrapped Demon’s giant logging chain around himself a few times to get rid of the excess length.
The beach is too damn crowded to let Demon offleash. It’s raining again, and the thunder makes swimming a bad idea. I’m bored stiff. The mosquitoes are swarming, and even though I brought sunscreen (in spite of their protests that I didn’t need to), they forgot both sunscreen and bugspray.
They give up, and go to Gregory to find Naomi, the ultimate doomsday prepper, and get the stuff they forgot. They also pick up a few of their friends.
I’ve had it with them, so I elect to stay behind with Demon so they don’t have to bring him.
They leave. I finish my book, the boredom increases and I start wishing that I was anywhere else.
Then I see Demon trotting by the tent, dragging his big chain behind him. I don’t know how the hell he got loose.
Catching him was less difficult than it could have been. We only knocked down half the tent in the process. I take him on a looooooooong walk (half-hoping that they’ll return while I’m gone, and panic thinking that I just took off with him). The muddy, sandy fifty-freakin-pound chain is wrapped around my waist and over my shoulders four times. I get sand in my shoes and swimsuit in the worst way.
Half-healed nipple piercings + very coarse sand = ouch.
And I can’t even take off the shoes because the term ‘beach’ is accurate in only the loosest definition of the term.
He drags me all over the damn place, the chain is SO HEAVY, the giant shorts keep trying to fall down, and I start crying a little inside.
We get back, I tie demon back up, but he’s too scared of water to drink any when I try to give him some. (a long story that I don’t feel like telling.) I go to the restroom. As I’m coming back, Demon growls at me territorially. Out loud I actually look at the sky and say “COME. ON.”
Demon finally recognizes me, looks sheepish, and slinks under the picnic table.
The others get back, they say they brought a tent from Naomi and three sets of tent poles. They forgot the bugspray, but thankfully I had spent some of my boredom killing most of the bugs in the tent.
We unroll the new tent. Not. A. Single. Tent. Pole.
We go to start the fire. Thankfully, everyone smokes, so there’s no shortage of lighters. But the firewood is wet, each piece is twice as long as the diameter of the fire pit, and there is no kindling.
There’s also no hatchet.
The idiots attempt idiotic things with brake fluid and other toxic but ostensibly flammable fluids.
Thankfully, one of the new people is a firebug. She uses the cardboard from the beer carton to light the fire. My eye twitches as I watch as the fire roar several inches outside the fire pit in all directions.
I decide death by fire is preferable to putting up with people any longer, and crawl into the tent to nap. I wake to hear Brandon worrying about how I’m upset with him, and in all likelihood I’m going to grab Demon in the middle of the night and leave, and he’d never see either of us again.
Food is prepared.
We hadn't brought a pan, but Naomi had sent one!
There is no can opener, and no tinfoil for Mexican S’mores. Therefore - burgers.
Somehow someone gets a can of beans open. They go for the bag jammed with various kinds of plastic silverware.
Not. One. Single. Fork.
I don’t eat, but I do go back outside the tent, and try to be pleasant. It turns out the grass DID catch on fire from the too-long firewood, but they put it out in time. I chat with one about Bleach. Three of us leave the others and walk Demon again, this time in the middle of the night. Fireflies! So many fireflies! One girl catches a few.
We get back. Brandy, whose idea this whole trip was, bails with one of the others to go sleep at someone else’s place.
Later, the other two decide they don’t want to sleep here either. We douse the fire, but not before throwing all our garbage, including accidentally the collection of fireflies, onto it first.
Everyone else had been drinking, so I got to drive. I was the only one who was unfamiliar with the roads, having never been there before. The others were all locals, of course.
Everyone piles back into the car, including the huge project of forcing Demon inside. I begin to drive. The fog is so thick I can’t even see the road three feet in front of my headlights. Horses and cows loom in the road. Demon helpfully starts licking my ear.
We crawl along. The twenty-minute trip takes well over an hour.
Demon steps on the power-window and gets his head stuck, nearly strangling himself before we figure out how to roll it back down
Everyone else gets dropped off. Brandon, Demon, and myself get gas and go back.
The return trip was a Bunny-pocalypse.
In the scant few inches I could see, at least eight rabbits threw themselves under my wheels, and a few less identifiable things scurried away. Thankfully no deer. And the escaped cows and horses, while uncomfortably close, stayed on the side of the road.
We get back to the campsite at 4:30 AM, chain Demon to the picnic table, and collapse onto the blanket that Brandy helpfully left.
We’re asleep in seconds.
This started out more smoothly. Brandon and I woke and freed Demon from where he had gotten his chain so tangled that he was strangling himself. I start the fire with the wet firewood, garbage from the car, a roll of paper towels, and scavenged pine needles. (Go me!)
Brandon gets a call. It’s his mother telling him there’s a tornado coming.
We break camp, shove a struggling Demon into the car, and get the hell out.
We end up at Naomi’s to give her crap back. Brandon wants to stay all day, or as long as he can until my patience runs out, I inform him that my patience with people ran out multiple hours ago, and if he didn’t want me to go on a murderous rampage, we would leave NOW.
A few hours after that, we were back on the road to his parents’ house. We only forgot a few things at Naomi’s house.
We reach his parents’ house. The parents are not there, and Brandy is with them. I suggest we simply take Demon to Mitchell, and act surprised when she calls, saying we thought he was Brandy.
My great idea was shot down.
A few hours after THAT, the parents and Brandy finally show up.
The parents were fucking terrible. A constant stream of bitching by daddy dearest from the moment they got out of the truck to the moment we left. Whenever one of us would try to get a word in edgewise, he would simply talk over us. The Dad-hole brags that their dogs didn’t have their shots, they ‘never been to the vet a day in their lives’, and ‘they take care of themselves’.
I fantasize about caving his face in with a crowbar.
FINALLY back on the road. Brandon is more upset than I’ve ever seen him. He says they’re usually nicer around guests. And upset that they hadn’t even asked my name. (I hadn’t even noticed.)
Back in Mitchell. Home at last, right??
April storms out of the apartment complex as I’m getting out of the car, screeching that she needs Brandon to fix her AC and jumpstart her car and also she’s so upset about almost killing her brother’s kitten. Brandon looks like he’s hit the end of his rope, so I gently snag her elbow and lead her away. I take off my shoes to climb up on her couch, I look at her AC and tell her it can be fixed, but her car’s probably totaled. Then I go upstairs, forgetting my shoes.
She’s in a full-blown tantrum, but I disengage and finally collapse into bed.
The next day, Brandon shows up at my place. I mentioned something about “saving your ass from April yesterday”.
He said “Yes, but it cost you.”
Apparently, she had seen my shoes abandoned on her floor, freaked the fuck out, called the police, and reported a break-in. The cops bagged and tagged my shoes and hauled them off to the station, and are now looking for the owner to arrest/question me.
No good deed goes unpunished.
She’s been up here several times since, asking to use my bike pump. I silently hand it to her and close the door in her face. The most recent time, she begged me to come do it for her, and then when I refused, she never brought the pump back.
So that was that story. Next time I shall post either about the Awesome(ish)Trip to Minneapolis, or the Car Troubles that Wiped Out Every Cent of My Savings and also the next four months of spending money. (Spoiler: the gas light came on as I was driving away from the mechanic’s shop!)