The Camping Trip of 2014
Every so often, I do something completely stupid. Zap myself with a flyzapper to see how much it hurts. Decide to climb to the top of a ruined castle tower and get stuck half way up. Think that becoming a writer was a way to be rich and famous.
But I have one that tops them all.
I volunteered to be a chaperone at a grade 7 camp excursion.
For some, this would have been no big deal. Some are outgoing, outdoorsy types. Some are used to having more than two kids around. Some are just plain insane.
Me, I am, at my core, an introvert. An indoors, nerdy, game-playing, book-reading, Games-of-Throne-loving goober.
For me, being all social and stuff demands a ton of energy.
Think of it like riding a bike. Downhill (or being my with close friends) is pretty easy. The only energy used is for braking (or in social situations, from stopping myself from saying something complexly offensive.)
Being with a small group of acquaintances, co-workers, or hockey parents is like riding up a hill. It takes a bit of work, but it’s doable and, sometimes, even enjoyable.
Being with a large group of adults who I largely do not know requires a ton of energy. Like biking up a steep hill hauling a heavy load of rocks (or social anxieties).
But being with a large group of kids, kids aged 11-13 – kids who are just entering that awkward stage of being surly teenagers – is like biking up a steep hill hauling a heavy load and having that load throw rocks and insults at you the whole time. In the rain. With lightning.
So why in the hell did I do this?
Why not sit on my couch and find out who’s the latest one they’re going to kill off on the Walking Dead?
It’s a good question. I think my therapist will want to know this, too.
The truth is I have to back up a bit to explain why.
When the idea of a camping trip was floated three months ago, the Oldest was completely against going. He saw no reason to be with a large group of his peers, sleeping in an uncomfy cabin and having to do all sorts of outside activities. He would much rather be at home, sitting on the couch and finding out when the next 5 Nights At Freddies was coming out.
I totally get this. He didn’t want to go. In a bad way.
Let me put it this way. He would rather spend 3 days doing math, dishes and picking up dog poo than going camping.
But the teacher was keen for him to expand his horizons, we were keen for him to get outside his comfort zone, and his friends all wanted him to go so they could all have fun together.
In the end, his friends won out, (not, as much as I’d like to think, my clever arguments about the how this trip would not be like Beavers.) Nope, it was his friends who convinced him to come. They were sure he’d have a good time.
In the end, the Oldest relented. He said yes.
Had all the parent-chaperone spots been filled, I wouldn’t have had to do anything. I could have patted him on the back for his courage (which I did anyway), and gone back to trying to get that perfect spiked look in my hair.
But no, they were short one male chaperone.
Like God had looked down and said, ok, asshole, I heard all that you had to say about getting outside your comfort zone, so man up and get out of your comfort zone. Or else.
Hard to argue with God.
So, the next day, I phoned up, committed myself to what is probably the 2nd most terrifying thing on my long list of terrifying things, and became a chaperone.
What could go wrong? Right?
It couldn’t be as bad as I imagined it would be (and believe me, being a writer, I have a pretty good imagination.) It couldn’t be as bad as the movies portrayed it, could it?
So let me take you on this journey. I’ll post a new blog every two days. Stay tuned!