Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cabin Six

At the beginning of sixth grade, the first year of middle school, we had Mandatory Sixth Grade Camp. In other words, get to know your peers in a controlled yet uncomfortable environment! Stay for 2 awkward days and 1 cold-ass night! Don't worry kids - we brought the cafeteria food with us, no campfire s'mores for you! And get ready for some required teamwork - only the strong will survive! (Well, socially that is.)

Anyway, considering my shyness and discomfort with unfamiliar situations, it didn't start out all that bad. We weren't exactly "roughing it" as we had little musty cabins to sleep in that held 4-6 people. And as mentioned, at least you only had to put in one overnight stay. The thing that sucked was being separated from your friends, as almost all activities were with an assigned group.

One of the few memories of the experience that sticks out in my mind was the hopeful feeling I had as I got my cabin assignment and headed off to find out who else would be in it. Maybe a friend? An acquaintance at least? Hey, maybe a possibility for a *new* friend I just hadn't met yet! (Ok, so I was a bit naive, but hey at least I was positive.)

I reached the cabin at the same time as another girl. She was pretty and had that more polished look (which at the time probably just meant a spiral perm and Umbros) of one of the richer girls. She didn't look too happy to see me coming, but I figured that like me, she must've just been thinking this camp experience was kind of weak. So I smiled and said "Oh, hi! I'm [so and so] - looks like we're in the same cabin..." Her eyes narrowed as she assessed this information. "Oh yeah? Well, I'm Katie..." (pausing for effect) "and I'm your worst nightmare." And with that, she stepped inside, slamming the door in my face.

Camp got off to a GREAT start.

But not long into the camp experience, it became clear that this Katie bitch wasn't what ended up as being my worst nightmare. Nope, I think I'd have to go with the state of the "bathrooms" along with being painfully constipated for two days as being the worst part. The thing was, at that age I tended to be horribly embarrassed by any bodily function as it is, so having no stall doors and only being permitted to go to the bathroom in groups was not something I was down with. If you were lucky, you had a friend who would hold her coat up in front of you while you went to the bathroom. But I wasn't about to ask her to keep waiting there so I could drop a load while within arms length (and definitely within smelling range) of each other. Lame. I just could not will myself to do it. So by the end of the next day of holding it in through climbing, jumping and other hateful activities, I was really having a BAD time. All I could think about was the concrete mixer action going on in my guts, and how it felt like either my ass or my head was going to explode. I didn't really care about teamwork anymore. I just wanted out of that fucking camp and to a reasonably private facility that didn't smell like sulfur so I could poop in peace. I hung in there for the rest of the time and begged my mom to drive straight home as fast as possible when she picked me up. So, seeing as how constipation is my clearest memory of sixth grade camp it's no wonder that I didn't make a bunch of new friends there, nor did I participate very well in team activities. Other people took my silent frowning as being stuck up, not stopped up. So, overall it was truly a pretty crappy experience for me. Ugh.

Side note: my friend was telling me about an actual "roughing it" hiking/camping experience she went on in high-school, complete with having to dig a hole to shit in, for two weeks. Call me over-sheltered folks, but you'd have to count me out of that. I like nature and all, but I just don't know if I could hang with being "at one" with it quite like that. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.

3 comments:

Kate said...

Poop post! My favorite! Great story. :-)

Quinn said...

Um, I STILL suffer from shared-bathroom anxiety, and I'm supposed to be a grown-up now.

I used to go on those true roughing it camping trips, and they were actually a ton of fun. Can't seem to convince anyone nowadays to do something like that, unfortunately. They all look at me like I'm crazy, which, duh.

KC said...

I hate camping. Hate it. I'll never go camping again.