My relationship with technology can best be described as, "it's complicated". So when I take an annual camping trip where I know I won't have any cell service, I'm completely elated. But, also filled with a little dread. What if something happens to my dad, my oldest kid I left home alone or our dogs in his care, and no one can reach me? Also, what if someone posts something completely bizarre on my Facebook wall or tags me in a horrible looking photo and it stays up for days before I can delete it?
What'll happen when I'm unplugged?
I'll tell you what happens. I tune into nature, that's what I do. Watching the fish jump out of the freshly stocked lake. Why do fish jump anyhow? Well, I can't google it, but I bet they're trying to escape because they suspect they're going to get brutally murdered by some guy with a hook. Then there's all those birds flying in formation like an intricately choreographed flash mob. How do they all spontaneously know the next move they're going to do like people musicals always do? All these wonders of nature, drowned out by my kids fighting about whose turn it is in the canoe next.
Time I would've spent on my phone looking at photos on Instagram, I spent judging other campers. Like who buys a pastel yellow tent? It looks like it was meant for a puppet show. A creepy, stupid puppet show, just to clarify. Tents are supposed to be classic, neutral shades, like the inside of an Eddie Bauer store. And what I mean by that is, completely boring. Also, who brings their own porta potty camping? The guy across the way from me, that's who. The only thing worse than using the campground toilet is using one that looks kinda like a shower stall, but with nylon walls that illuminates the silhouette of the shitter who brings a flashlight with him to use it. I didn't want to know this information, it was thrust upon me. But, I do want to know who the hell thought that was a good idea and who the hell cleans that shit? Now, back to the lady in tent the color of a lemon drop who's wearing silk pajamas to bed. WHO WEARS SILK PAJAMAS? Does she have a water bed in there too? Hugh Hefner?
While over at my campsite, my son brought an MRE from back when my husband was in the army. Which was over 12 years ago now. Never mind, that I packed all kinds of fresh food that I painstakingly prepped and cooked on-site, my kid wants a dehydrated, preservative filled meal that was packaged in 1993. I did not typo that date. He ate a 24 year old package of chicken and rice, which, I'm sure wasn't even "good" before it expired. I know it wasn't good when he ate it because he offered me a taste. And in my defense, I'd already finished the first book I'd brought with me and I'd judged all the surrounding campers, so there wasn't a whole lot left to do. Except guard the peanut butter from the chipmunks and ground squirrels intent on stealing it from us. Why aren't ground squirrels allergic to ground nuts like the rest of America is? I was actually bored enough to google that, if only I had a connection. But, I probably would have googled how to kill a pesky rodent with the least amount of blood. Because the blood might attract bears.
The thought of bears did keep me up at night. Did I put all the food back in the car? Did I leave the caramel m&m's out on the picnic table? Wait, did I bring them in my tent to hide them from the kids? This is how I die. Attempting to fight off a bear to protect my candy stash. Sounds about right. But, that didn't keep me up as long as the incessant owl hooting in the middle of the night. Which, if you haven't heard an owl hoot in real life, sounds like a person trying to imitate an owl hooting. And that person won't shut up for like 2 hours. Finally, when it stopped, that's precisely when porta potty guy started snoring.
The next day, it started raining. And it didn't stop. It rained for hours. Over 20 hours. You know how the sound of rain makes you feel like you have to pee? That guys porta potty right next to my camp site started to seem really appealing. But not as appealing as peeing next to a tree in the rain. Or in my pants in the tent. Or getting eaten by a bear. Although, I hope the bear would see that the lady in the silk pajamas is a much better option than me because she'd go down smoother.