Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Camping

Pleading amnesia with regards to last summer‘s outdoor experiences, my family and I recently inaugurated our new old camper. The weekend began with a crisis of logistics. In a pick-up that legally seats three, we parceled out our children (to the gracious in-laws, and their big honking 6 seat dually) till we were left with my ten year-old son, Aaron, the German shepherd, and myself. The seat lottery, heartily rigged, lodged the German shepherd in the bed of the truck, tethered to my wrist through a lead in the sliding window. Did you all know that dog slobber makes the most delightful scattered spray pattern when traveling at 55 miles per hour? Neither did I! Well, we are not the squeamish type, and we gamely wiped away the spittle from our necks and faces and set ourselves up for adventure. Aside from the minor set-backs (door to camper swinging open on the highway, a mysterious dripping, and a campsite that was the obvious victim of recent flooding), our first night of camping was concluded with smores and air-conditioning.
Day two commenced with my ritual walking of the dog. Armed with a plastic bag and a dose of caffeine induced optimism, I trotted my neurotic pet out into what could be considered the campground lawn. This grassy area is surrounded by concrete plots occupied by various motor homes. Samson and I proceeded unimpeded. Its early, naught but the thirsty mosquitoes seem to be stirring. Doggy proceeds to hunch into his evacuating stance, I ready the bag, and proceed to demean myself. As I stand I feel a tell-tell tug at the lead that signals that Samson’s attention has been drawn. Before I could shout the word no, Samson begins lunging with all his might at a Shi-Tzu with over-confidence issues. I plant my feet to stop the pull. Alas, I am wearing flip-flops, and every blade of grass is coated in dried river-bottom silt. I begin to slide. Seeing my fate, my shouting reaches fever pitch. The little girl walking the bait scoops her doggie into her arms, and beats a hasty retreat. This is not before I am dragged to the ground. It is at this point, as I am standing up, reevaluating my station in life, that I realize that I never cinched the poo bag. I look down at myself to discover that I have been splattered with offal (little known fact: some animals, when placed in situations such as long car rides, new environments, and dubious drinking water, display gastrointestinal distress resulting in loose or watery bowels, uh huh). As if my situation weren’t already life-affirming, I noticed that every camper within earshot, had mysteriously awoke and had been following my predicament with great interest. I trudged back to camper, eyes downcast, swearing viciously.
If any of you are pet owners, or child rearers, you have probably played the game “Name that Smell”. You may not have precipitated it, but at one point in your life, you have turned to another, and the dialogue has went something like this:
Person A: [sniff sniff] Do you smell that?
Person B: What?
A: Over here, cant you smell it?
B: Now I can, what is that?
A: I don’t know. Where’s it coming from?
B: I don’t know, smell over here. Does it seem stronger here?
You get the gist. Well, we had ourselves a rousing game this past weekend. At about high noon, ye ole camper began to heat up like the social security office on the first business day of the month. The poor air-conditioner was doing its level best, but just couldn’t seem to effectively circulate any air. A fan was procured. About 20 minutes later the smell arrived. I am not blaming the fan in any way. Numerous suspects were suggested, namely the dog. I countered that I had been with the dog nearly all day, and if a 100+ lb dog cops a squat anywhere in your vicinity, you are bound to notice. Other suspects included: flooded septic receiver, old reservoir, and an indiscriminant camper toilet user, etc. I hope to have this issue resolved before this weekend’s upcoming trip. Wish me luck


  1. Good to have you back.

    This story reminds me of my sister and myself going on about the smell of crap that was wafting through the air the other day. No, it wasn't the dogs, it was the smell of manure from the farms!

    Good luck with finding the source of "the smell." :-)

  2. Hmm...comments seem not to be posting. Well, I have been going out to the camper to execute periodic investigative sniffs. So far, the smell does not seem to be of the malingering sort.