My childhood camping conundrum


[dropcap]I [/dropcap]will admit that I dislike the outdoors. Ever since a misguided hike with my father at the age of six, I’ve been wary of the majesty that Mother Nature has to offer. Yet, in the summer in between grades eight and nine, I decided to tempt fate and camp with four of my cousins and one of their friends in a tent in my cousin’s backyard.

That night started out much like any other: we goofed around, ate dinner, goofed around some more, and then got ready for bed. By the time we were ready for sleep, it was dark outside, but this didn’t matter since there was an outside light and we had a flashlight to protect us. So once we were all situated in the tent it was lights out — literally. It was pitch-black in that yard even though we were technically still in town.

Around midnight we decided to call it a night. Naturally though, someone had to go into the house to use the bathroom (oh, Teresa), which meant that those of us in the tent were without a flashlight.

Typically, if someone needs to use the restroom, my cousin Emily then decides that she needs to pee as well. The other person who had the flashlight had already been gone for about two minutes, so I told Emily to wait until we got the flashlight back. This was an unsatisfactory response, and she countered with, “This is my backyard. I know it well enough to not get lost in it.”

I didn’t think it was possible to move that fast, or scream the way that I did.

I couldn’t argue with that logic — it was her backyard, after all — so I let her go against my better judgement. About 30 seconds later Teresa returned. I asked her if she had passed Emily on her way back out to the tent and she confirmed. So that was that, we just needed to wait for Emily to return to the tent so we could all get some sleep. About two minutes into a random conversation, there was a thud as something bumped into one of the ropes holding the tent into the ground.

Well holy shit, I didn’t think it was possible to move that fast, or scream the way that I did. There we were, five of us dogpiled into the middle of the tent mostly screaming in high-pitched fear. I say mostly as the sound that I made was more of an “ARRRRRRAAAAAAGGGGGHHH,” about an octave lower than everyone else’s.

The screaming only stopped when the zipper of the tent started to make noise. I threw myself in front of the others so I could face the intruder. As the zipper opened further, I saw that it was Emily coming back from the bathroom. I pulled her into the tent while yelling, “Holy crap! In the tent, in the tent! There is a bear out there!” And instead of reacting like I expected, she simply laughed her ass off.

After having awoken the entire neighbourhood, and being yelled at by my aunt and uncle, it turned out that there never was a bear that ran into the side of the tent. It was Emily. Turns out she didn’t know her backyard as well as she thought, and instead of walking to the front of the tent she walked into the side of it.

Needless to say, it was a very long time before I trusted Emily again with anything, not just her knowledge of her backyard, and thankfully was one of the last times I went camping.