10 August 2005

After Camp Mather

What I really wanted to do here, see, before it was 2AM, was write a little about how changed I was by going to a fucking Family Camp. Am I allowed to curse on here? I certainly hope so.

I went to this Family Camp for San Francisco residents last week, because my friend B. called me up and said, "We're going to Camp Mather, get me your tax return so [you and me and our kids] can get a cabin at the discount rate. And make it snappy, this thing has to be in by tomorrow afternoon." Well, I was just floored. I mean, I had no idea what she was talking about, really, but I knew some intelligent and engaging people that actually went to this Family Camp. And LIKED it. A LOT. I tore the place apart looking for last year's tax return.

Now, I know how to arrive in Paris and New York; I could arrive in Rome, too, without too much ado, and Boston, or Vancouver, and pretty much any place that used the same alphabet as me. Philadelphia. Aix-en-Provence. But the California wilderness?! I hadn't a clue. This place is in the High Sierras, right next to Yosemite. Would we have to sleep in a tent? (She said "cabin," didn't she?) Would we have to hang our food from ropes so bears wouldn't eat it? Would we have to poop in a cartoon outhouse with a moon on it, in a hole in a plank of wood ? I had so many questions. And dear, lovely friends were actually coming out of the wood...er, woods, COACHING me, so that I could really, really do this absurd thing: go to Family Camp with my son and my friend's family for a week.

Mosquito nets and extension cords and fans and lawn chairs started filling up the Purgatory Area of my apartment.

I always liked the British idea of Family Camp, but I had no idea they had them here in the United States. Here, most of us had to make a kind of leap to understand the whole Tommy's Holiday Camp thing...like, why were there adults at camp with the kids? And if there were adults, why was Uncle Ernie allowed to fiddle about? What WE did HERE for "sleep-away camp" was send kids alone up to the mountains, so they could have "fun" by themselves in The Country. That is the myth, anyway. I will spare you my expanded discourse on the tortures I endured at the hands of evil bunkmates at Camp Louemma, an innocent Native-American-sounding name until one realized the camp was run by sports fiends Lou and Emma. (I'll save this for another rant, one about clueless camp directors and sadistic 11-year-old girls.) Anyway, this Family Camp thing actually sounded like a pretty good idea, but I had no idea they had them here.

I had been mortified by an old friend who once told me, after she'd had kids and I didn't (yet), that she and her husband had gone on a Disney Cruise. This kept me from having kids for at least another 6 years. Is this what parenting would make of me? A person that will go on a Disney Cruise? It felt like I'd be selling my soul to the devil. I was horrrified, with 3 r's. It was creepy, like that housing development in the "F" State next door to Disney World, or ThomasKinkadeland. It would be like having to live with Barney 24/7 and those creepy teenagers (who should be out scoring crack or something) that hang out with him. No thank you. Can you even begin to imagine the food? And the prices?? And all the HATS?! And...Pinocchio? Oh dear, don't get me started.

Well, it's almost three and I haven't made my point yet, so I'd better hop to it. I KNEW this would happen if I started ranting in one of these blog thingies.

The point is, I had a wonderful time at Family Camp. Like that Talking Heads concert I saw in 1988 at the Civic, where there was like Before the Talking Heads Concert and there was After the Talking Heads Concert. I was blown away, I was never the same. This was true for Camp Mather. It was all about being outside, and people all eating together, and eating whatever I wanted (3 meals a day, prepared by someone else, eaten at a dining hall, outside, on a big patio), and not gaining weight because I was happy and I was walking and riding horses and playing ping-pong and swimming and talking and dancing and singing and hiking and lounging by a lake reading and playing bingo and walking many yards (a block?) to a bath house (NOT a plank, thank heavens) every day and back, and I swear I am ready to join a commune. I was so happy and healthy I almost forgot that I wasn't having any sex.

Yes, it was a virtually sexless week, and I came home more determined than ever to create for myself more of a family, which meant joining three more online dating sites. (I would have joined four had there actually been a "Kikes&Goys.com," but that one was apparently a joke on the part of a friend.) Yes, it would have been perfect if I'd gotten to snuggle up with Mr. Right at the end of every wholesome fun-filled day and gotten to have some incredibly wholesome fun-filled sex.

Of course, it was also the first time in 10 years I'd been without email for more than 3 days.

But it was great anyway.

I am a Changed Woman. I went to Trad'r Joe's and bought seven large plants and put them out on "the porch" (formerly known as "the fire escape.") OK, Real Plant People probably don't buy their plants at TJs but it was a start. And now I have a garden! And you won't believe this, but tonight I made oatmeal cookies.

Something unusual is definitely going on here.

Welcome to Rant Violet, Aunt Violet's non-blog.

Vi (do you sign these things?)


Clary said...

Vi ... remind me not to read this at work. I nearly cackled out loud too many times and this office is quiet as a tomb (and nearly as cheery).

I'm not one to read a bunch of blogs, but I'll be back for Aunt's Rants. Thank you for the (internal) giggles.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aunt V-

Something unusual is definitely going on here... Glad to see you up and ranting!
Or seated and ranting - whatever. Sorry to tell you: oatmeal cookies don't make you thin.

Jane Allen

Jenny said...

Amazing blog! I really enjoyed reading and hope you keep updating it frequently! I really liked the information on disney cruises! I have my own disney cruise vacation blog if you would like to come and see what I have on mine! Also, may I put a link to this blog of yours on mine?

robin said...

Rant Violet - you darling!! I do think it makes a difference that it is SAN FRANCISCO family camp. One of the summers I was there, film night featured the subtitled film, King of Hearts, and no one got up and left the outdoor theatre when it got cold! Camp Mather is the camp for San Francisco families - and it is divine!!!!

Anonymous said...

Next time, try a tent site! You put the kids in one tent and you in an another, and the whole family stays happy, if you know what I mean. ;-)


Camp Mather regular