On Not Camping
This past long week-end, Eve and I did not go camping. By which I mean we went, sort of, not-camping. By which I mean the three other families we traveled to the east coast with last summer made reservations ages ago to go camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park for a week including the long week-end and asked us if we wanted to go to make it a WAWA reunion (our four last names). Whereupon I laughed until I fell over and bumped my elbow and said 'ow', then sat up and said 'oh, pardon me, you were serious?', then said 'yeah, sorry, I don't camp. If there's a nuclear holocaust that results in the complete destruction of civilization and we all have to take to the forest and forage for food and dig toilet pits and make paper out of tree bark and crap like that, then maybe I will consider camping, as a possible alternative to death. Maybe.' But in keeping with our 'two single-parents in the same household' summer (see: goddamned baseball) I thought a girls' road trip was in order. So we did go to Sandbanks. During the day. At night we retreated, sunburned and sandy, to a hotel room in Belleville. I'm not saying this is the most genius idea in the history of ideas, but I'm pretty sure it comes close. Of course, I felt like somewhat less of a genius when I punched the address of the hotel into my GPS the first night and got there to find a big empty parking lot, but switching Front Street North to North Front Street fortunately remedied that. So we showed up with a van full of haphazardly thrown-together clothing and a cooler full of nitrate-laden food because we were NOT going to buy more than one bag of ice (actually I didn't buy any ice -- I threw in some frozen juice boxes). Everybody generously let us use their dinner tents, Coleman stoves and firepits, and let us park in their campsites even though it was illegal. Does this mean we stole camping? I like to think it does.
The kids had a blast. You know that law where pedophiles and dangerous people evaporate upon entering a provincial park, so you can let your kids run freely between campsites and bathrooms without fear? (shut up, it is so a law). They played tag and ran around waving sticks and collected bugs. Which was good, because it left us free to play bananagrams for hours at a time (I couldn't stop playing even though I sucked at it -- I was really good at telling other people whether their words were spelled correctly or not, which then helped them hand me my ass -- I'm just nice that way). The beach the second day was scorching. Searing. Sizzling, torrid, tropical. There was actual damage of burning your feet walking across the sand to the water. Some obnoxious older people set up their chairs actually blocking the path from the parking lot to the beach because that was the only place left with shade, and I was kind of jealous that I wasn't obnoxious enough to do it first. It was the kind of day where you feel you have well and truly Been to the Beach.
The nostalgia level was high. From when I was about five until when I left home, my sister and I spent many summers in provincial parks with my parents. Sleeping in the trailer with rain pounding on the metal roof. My little sister eating cold baked potatoes in her bunk bed in the morning. My Dad playing the banjo around the campfire. Drifting off to sleep hearing my parents' muffled voices outside. The oh-so-ironically named 'comfort station'. At one point last week-end I was walking from one campsite to another (they were all a little ways apart), in the afternoon, and the air was the ideal temperature, and the light falling through the trees onto the road was so beautiful; it was the perfect distillation of all the best of those memories, with the bonus that I didn't have to stress about how I was going to sneak out and meet my junior ranger boyfriend later that night.