Sunday, November 15, 2009

#9 Hiking and/or Camping

You're not supposed to not like hiking or camping; it's getting right up in there with nature and being natural and exploring and sleeping in the wondrous beauty that is the natural world.

But, I don't know, nature makes me uncomfortable and I kind of think that's the natural response. Look at most every creature in the wild, they're all basically terrified of anything that moves. As well they should be, because they're probably either close to starving or close to being some starving creature's dinner. The flora's nice, but you don't really have to sleep in it or trudge 10 miles uphill to get that, do you? My people have a word for hiking: it's called "shlepping" and believe you me we don't mean it all happy-like.

Hasn't the whole project since the beginning and we started to get smart and figure this stuff out been a pretty continuous effort to shut out the random perniciousness and flat out filth of Mother Nature? Haven't we been continuously applied to the task of figuring out ways to withstand and cordon ourselves off from the earth because our experience has taught us that we're a lot better off that way? Don't get me wrong, I love going to parks and setting up a nice picnic in a grassy lea and gasping in rapturous delight as lo! a sweet antelope comes bounding along to the music of the trees sighing in pleasure from the wind's dear caress as much as the next guy, but do I really need the shlepping and the sleeping with the bugs in the dirt on the rocks without the plumbing and the cooking on the fire and the freezing or the sweating and the overall dearth of chairs or couches or air
conditioning to enjoy that stuff? I can drive to some nature or go to a nearby park and set up a picnic blanket for a nice couple of hours and then pack up and go home to my shower and bed and fridge and air conditioner and electricity and bookshelf and sofa. We have brought millennia of ingenuity to bear on the problem and, outliers notwithstanding, the structurally sound, safe, climate-controlled, cushioned, be-toileted, insect-and-dirt-free (at least as far as we are capable) have won the day.

Which makes the whole camping and hiking thing seem, I don't know, kind of forced right? I mean don't you get the sense whenever you're camping or hiking that everyone's always trying to outdo one another in their insistence of how awesome the camping or hiking is and so you feel obligated to stifle that part of you that wants to bitch about what a frigging shlep this mountain is, or how much you'd give to sit in a nice armchair with a cup of hot chocolate and a book like Watership Down (because there's nothing wrong with enjoying nature from a distance, in comfort, like Bilbo) or how you can't sleep because you're absolutely sure that as soon as you doze off some lithe and enterprising spider is going to have its way with your ear-hole? Doesn't their insistence feel like they're trying to convince themselves of something and make you feel like you're not supposed to contradict them? It's environmental fascism and it needs to end here, buster. Hakuna Matata.

3 comments:

  1. Hi. I have a blog at www.picturecamping.com where I feature people's posts about camping, and I would like to send my readers your way. Of course I would give you credit for quotes and would link back to your site.

    Thanks for considering this,

    Jean B. in SC

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  2. when i was little we travelled around the country a lot, and camped a lot, largely because it was a lot cheaper than hotels. and i liked it because i was little and there was fire and i didn't have to do any of the schlepping.

    even still, every now and then we'd book a hotel for the night and it was fucking like christmas in july.

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  3. Thanks for the comments! Mmmm wonderful antiseptic hotels!

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