roughing it

When we were kids, my brother and I often spent summer nights “camping,” which to us meant simply pitching the tent in our parents’ yard and sleeping outside for a few nights.

We loved it. Living far away from any big cities, the stars were in full view and we spent many a night lying on the cement of the driveway gazing into the lightyears. We could stay up until the early hours, talking about everything young boys talk about and maybe a few things older men mull over. There was a small pond nearby and we’d fall asleep listing to the croaking of toads and frogs, the stridulation of insects and the hushed whisper of wind.

And as great  as it was – and I really don’t think my memory is aggrandizing how much I loved it – I can now tell you unequivocally that doing the same thing as a grown up is far, far better.

For starters, we pitched our tent in her parents’ backyard by ourselves, meaning I didn’t have to ask my dad to do it like when I was a kid. My dad is pretty much the opposite of the dad in A Christmas Story in the  sense that I pretty much never heard him swear. But for some reason the physics of pitching a tent eluded him. The few times I did hear him swear usually involved tent-poles, spikes or the rubber mallet. Last night, pitching the tent was guilt-free.

When my brother and I got hungry, we had to sneak into the house for a midnight snack, stuck with leftovers or whatever goodies we could scrounge up in silence. But Ashley and I ordered pizza. And yes, camping is more awesome with pizza.

Of course, one downside to being an adult is that you’re expected to clean up after yourself. Luckily we found this tiny broom-and-dustpan combo at the store.(1)

Finally, being a grown-up means that instead of trying to read by flashlight you can watch movies on your iPad. Some might say this hardly sounds like roughing it, but it is only a 32GB iPad and so I could only load like five movies to choose from. That was pretty rough.

What’s funny is that, really, we didn’t do anything all that different from what we would normally do on a Saturday night. We ate pizza and watched a movie. But last night we did all that in a tent. And for whatever reason, Ashley loved it. She was smiling all night. And that made it way better than any backyard camping experience I had as a kid.


  1.  I’ll also add that I’m pretty sure Ashley took this picture kinda to make fun my compulsion to clean. But whatever.
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