This is the post where I dish on what it’s like to camp with My Parasitic Twin, a newbie to camping.
For one, you pretty much have to not care who you offend. It started when she found a campsite amongst the RVers, AKA, Not My People. I commented on the, um, manly names. She said, “Just put the anal in front of every name. It’s hilarious.”
Yes it was.
To fully enjoy the slideshow, just add the word anal to each RV name.
She’s not a roughing it type which didn’t at all surprise me. I mean, anyone who is a fan of camping doesn’t rent a 31 foot trailer, right? Alana and I did all the cooking and we watched in awe as she figured out how to do the dishes while expending the least amount of energy.
MPT: Where do you do them?
Me: In the bucket.
MPT: This one?
Me: Yes. That one. I’ll get it for you.
MPT: How do I fill it?
Me: With the water jug.
MPT: Which one?
Me: That one.
MPT: This one?
Me: Yes. That one. Fine, I’ll do it. Now you have to boil some water.
MPT: How do you do that?
Me: On the camp stove with the kettle.
MPT: Where is it?
Me: Right there.
MPT: How do I light it?
Me: First you turn the knob, then you press the button.
MPT: Like this? I’m confused. The pot’s hot. How do I hold it?
Me: With a pot holder! God! I’ll just do it. Now mix the cold and hot water.
Me: In the tubs.
MPT: Which one?
Me: Both. One is for washing the other is for rinsing.
MPT: How do I get the cold water in there?
Me: Turn the knob.
MPT: How do I balance it?
Me: Ugh! Give me that! I’ll do it!
MPT: So I wash the dishes in this tub?
MPT: Do I use soap?
Me: YES GODDAMMIT YOU USE FUCKING SOAP! JUST SCRUB AND I’LL RINSE THEN GO BACK TO YOUR GODDAMN TRAILER SO I CAN RELAX!
MPT isn’t an idiot. In fact, I think she’s a genius. She goes limp and plays dumb so it ends up being more work to have her do it than to just do it myself. I swear, having her do dishes is the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done.
We skipped making dinner one night by going on a dinner cruise on Elk Island. Alana said that people raved about it and they were right, it was fantastic.
We waited at the Colter Bay marina for the ferry to show up, all of us lined up on a bench in the shade with a bunch of other fellow cruisers.
Some how the subject of my dad came up and MPT was like, “Your dad is really good looking.”
Me: Yep, he takes good care of himself.
MPT: Was it hard for you growing up to have such a hunk for a dad?
Me: Um, no. Why would it be hard for me?
MPT: I don’t know, he’s just really good looking.
Me: Are you asking me if I was attracted to my dad?
MPT: I wasn’t implying that!
Me: What else could you possibly be implying?
At which time I turned to her teenage niece who was making a face and asked her what she thought.
MPT’s Teenage Niece: It has implications that could be construed as, uh, somewhat sexual.
Me: SEE! EVEN SHE THINKS YOU ARE ASKING IF I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH MY DAD!
MPT: I WAS NOT! I WAS ONLY SAYING YOUR DAD IS HOT AND MAYBE YOU DIDN’T LIKE HIM BRINGING GIRLFRIENDS BY!
Me: WHY WOULD THAT BOTHER ME? AND WHY WOULD I BE JEALOUS OF MY DAD’S GIRLFRIENDS? I LIKED HIS GIRLFRIENDS! YOU ARE TOTALLY WEIRDING ME OUT!
MPT: NO I’M NOT! I’M ASKING A TOTALLY NORMAL QUESTION!
Me: NO YOU AREN’T! YOU ARE BEING COMPLETELY GROSS!
Let me be clear. This is verbatim conversation and we were full-on screaming even though we were sitting right next to each other until Loony literally broke it up.
“Could you lower your voices? Children.”
Then the ferry arrived and we headed for the island. It was an informative hour of cruising and sight seeing.
We disembarked onto the uninhabited island and circled around the campfire where a very friendly and authentic looking old cowboy gave us the rundown on dinner, pointed out nice after dinner walks, and encouraged the kids to skip stones in the lake.
He was folksy as fuck.
So when we all sat down to tuck into a steak and trout dinner overlooking the lake and the Tetons, I noticed that the cowpoke was sitting on his own. I invited him to sit with us thinking he’d be fun to talk to.
It all started out innocently enough. Lots of raving about the food, etc.
MPT was psyched about how much her kids were enjoying the meal, they being sometimes fussy eaters. Her one son was holding a steak in his bare hands, slathering it with A1 and taking big bites of it.
“My eldest son died eating a steak,” said the cowpoke.
“He was in the prime of his life, having dinner with his best friends at his aunt’s house. He took a big bite of steak just as someone cracked a joke. He started laughing and that piece of steak lodged in his throat. He died right then and there.”
Here we are, just having a pleasant dinner when a complete stranger drops his greatest sorrow like a bomb on the table. What the hell am I supposed to say?
MPT said, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
And like watching the worst car crash ever, I was helpless to stop myself from saying the most idiotic, trite, stupid, asinine thing ever.
“At least he died doing what he loved: eating steak and laughing at a good joke.”
“They tried doing the Heimlich maneuver on him but that steak was lodged so tightly in there that they had a difficult time removing it at the autopsy.”
MPT was eying her son like maybe she should snatch the steak out of his hands.
Then he changed the subject to us. “Where are y’all from?”
“My deceased son-in-law was from there. He was in his late forties, in perfect health. Then one day he complained of a tummy ache (he said tummy), went to the doctor and it was pancreatic cancer. He was dead in a month. You’ve never seen a person go from being healthy as can be to completely wasted away.”
Gulp. At this point we were shooting panicked looks at each other because we had no idea what to say. It was like the fucking Twilight Zone. This guy was as casual as can be and we’re just wishing we could get the fuck out of there.
He talked some more with Loony about his improbable road to being a Teton ranger. According to him he was a big shot lawyer in Florida in a firm that took on big tobacco and won.
“That’s big money if you are a lawyer,” observed Loony. We’re talking $600 million settlements.
“Then I had a friend who got into politics and became a senator and I was his chief legal counsel,” he continued.
“And you left it all to work here?” I asked.
“For the last four years.”
At this point I’m observing his extremely well worn and sweat stained cowboy hat. I’ve seen a lot of hats, it takes a long time to get it that stained. I zillionaire might think it was time to get a new one.
And his teeth! For someone rolling in the dough, his were in terrible shape.
Me? I’d treat myself to veneers.