The Worst Part? I Won't Be Able to Pick Up Hitch Hikers for Awhile
My Mom always used to say that—one of her many verbal gems that I never quite knew what it meant.
Obviously, dog water isn't a pleasant thing. I wouldn't want to drink it, so I think this turn of phrase adequately describes my attempt to go camping and the hullabaloo that ensued.
With the potato salad made, glow-in-the-dark collar purchased for Wonder Dog Bean and Milwaukee's Best chilling in the fridge, I got up this morning prepared to do a few hours of work and hit the road to the camporee around 1 p.m. I was feeling groovy, enjoying some peppermint tea and, out of curiosity, I checked the weather reports for our campsite.
Well, shit. Rain. Cold. More rain. A little more cold. A 127% chance of grumpiness for 123Valerie.
I'm a very amateur camper—I don't even have a sleeping bag. I haul all of my quilts out to the site and spend weeks trying to wash the campfire smell from them. Cold I can tolerate. Whiskey can fix that—no big hoo-ha. Rain? Nuh uh. We ain't having that up in here. Besides, JennyJenny8675309 would never forgive me if Wonder Dog Bean came down with pneumonia or rickets or any other illness brought about by exposing oneself to the harsh elements all in the name of "fun."
It was early, and I left messages with Scotty and Busta Keeton that basically said, "I'm a pansy ass, but if you call and tell me that it's not so bad, I can rally and get myself there." I also left word with Scotty's friend Byrd who was going to ride down with me to alert her to the possibility that I may have to cancel.
Several hours later, I hadn't heard from Scotty, Busta or Byrd, thus vindicating my stance that camping conditions were entirely horrendous and sleeping on dry mattresses was a much better option.
Fast forward through a lot of text messages, a lot of e-mails from Byrd who had dropped her cell phone in the washing machine and thus DID NOT KNOW I was planning to cancel and some second-hand guilt tripping via Megan Jane, and I decided, "Alright. I committed to camping. I have 15 pounds of potato salad. I'll be hanging with my friends. It will be fine. Wonder Dog Bean, get your hat—let's go."
"Wait just a gosh darn minute here," said Wonder Dog Bean. "Nobody cleared this camping thing with me, and no one especially cleared the car ride necessary to go camping with me."
"Oh, yeah. No, it's cool Bean. Your Mom said you could go. She even got you that neat glow-in-the-dark collar. Remember that? You liked it when we tried it on. Oh! And you know what else we've got for you? Pupperonies. They're in the car. C'mon."
"Pupperonies, you say? Well, I guess I could give this whole 'riding in the car thing' a shot."
So, she followed me out to the parking lot and stopped about 10 feet shy of my car. "On second thought," Bean said, "This isn't really my cup of tea. I'm just gonna stay here, but you go ahead. I'll be cool. There's a movie on Lifetime I wanted to check out anyway. I just love Roma Downey."
"No, Beanie. That's not how it works. You have to come with me. It'll be fun, I promise. Megan Jane has 30 pounds of sausage," I coaxed.
"Nope. No thanks. I'm just gonna dig my claws in the asphalt here to show you how much I really don't want to get in the car. Maybe I'll whine a little bit, too. Hey! You know what else might work? If I start to shake and foam at the mouth some. Is this helping you get the picture, 123Valerie, that I don't want to get in the car?" she asked.
"No. I'm not really picking up what you're putting down, Bean. Maybe if I just gently try to hoist you up into the passenger seat whilst giving you a lot of Pupperonies that will help you change your mind that you really do want to get in the car."
So, I pushed and pulled for a few minutes and managed to get her in the seat. She, in turn, took three seconds to jump out the window. She's a wily one, that Bean Dog.
I rolled up the window and tried the process all over again. I got her in, but by this time she was panting and sweating and omitting a very unpleasant odor. "No matter," I said to myself. "She'll settle down once we're on the road."
"Listen, 123Valerie. This just really isn't my scene. Why don't we end this little charade before some one or some paneling gets hurt?" she propositioned.
"Nope. This is going to be fun. You'll see. Have another Pupperonie," I said.
"Um, yeah. Here's what I think of your Pupperonies and this whole goddamn car ride," and with that, Wonder Dog Bean shat on herself and on my passenger seat. Dark and runny. And positively rancid.
"Hmm. I see. So, what you're telling me is that you DON'T want to go?" I asked.
"Exactly. Now you're speaking my language," she said.
After I ushered her back into the house, the crazy antics immediately shut off. No explosive pooping. No mouth foaming. No excessive panting. No weird smelling. Just sweet Wonder Dog Bean asking me if I could turn on the T.V. because she didn't want to miss any of Roma's scenes.
I cleaned up the car and started to carry crap back in the house, namely 15 pounds of potato salad, 27 honey buns for breakfast and 47 quilts that still smelled faintly of burning wood from the last trip.
I was bummed, man. I'd gotten over the "I don't want to sleep in the rain on the cold, hard ground" hump and made it to the "this is going to be excellent" plateau. So, there I sat all night, wondering what my pals were doing. Wondering what kind of songs Scotty was singing. Wondering how many pounds of sausage Harwell had put away. How many righteous stories Kristen was telling. How many times Megan Jane organized a camp site clean up. How many memories and new friends I was missing out on.
Wonder Dog Bean seemed to sense my upset. She's been particularly sweet to me tonight, hanging close by my side. Oh. Never mind. There's a Pupperonie in my pocket.
In the Comments section, you hardcore campers can tell me one of the fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime memories I missed out on by not going to the camporee OR those of you who were not sleeping in the mud and muck can tell me about a time when you missed out on something really, really fun. Extra bonus points if your reason for missing the action involves dog shit. The winner gets some of my potato salad. (I know, I know—that was yesterday's prize, but Jesus H, I've got 15 pounds of the stuff.)