“It’s so nice you have these ice cubes.”
I was standing in front of my parents’ refrigerator, deliberating between the Riesling and the Pinot. Life’s full of tough choices.
“There’s too many,” my mom said, clinking two of the cubes into a glass for me. “We’re thinking of just taking the whole unit out.” I pulled the Pinot from the shelf, thinking how anyone could ever have too many ice cubes.
It had been four years since we moved into the set of Grey Gardens and I still couldn’t find the ice cube trays or my underwear or a good enough reason to hang onto all that camping stuff. There are few things I’ve yearned for less over the course of the pandemic, including PPT meetings, mammograms, or putting on a pair of jeans or anything with a zipper. But pour me another Pinot because there is nothing, I tell you nothing, that brings me less joy, Marie Kondo, than a camping trip with the fam.
I gazed out the window, wishing I had an ice cube maker and a will to camp but I just couldn’t get there because, let’s face the music and dance, (preferably before my second glass of Pinot), weren’t a few rocks in my back and mosquito bites in hard to itch places the last thing I needed in all this pandemonium?
But there I was contemplating doing it all over again because, apparently I liked learning my lessons the hard way, or at least the long, circuitous route via Jon’s old Town and Country, the one that just refuses to come to terms with its own death. Exhaust fumes are the new air conditioning, I’m reminded each camping trip, dangling my foot out the window like a tampon commercial for middle-aged women devoid of ice cubes.
I want to like camping, really I do, like I want to like juicing or jogging or the joy of tidying up. I want to be one of those fresh-faced, dewy chicks with good bone structure and reliable footwear, the kind who enjoys harvesting ramps and sleeping with a rock lodged in her lower left quadrant, the kind who climaxes on-demand at the sight of a properly pitched tent (yeah, I went there) but every time we get in that van, hauling an army’s worth of shit across the Taconic, I think, How many times can I continue to do the same thing over and over and over again and expect a different result?
A lot. The answer is a lot.
I think if I actually remembered in detail the discomfort and painful aftermath of these delightful little excursions, I wouldn’t go on to repeat them…kind of like childbirth. Demerol, please. Keep it coming.
Our camping trips have numbered many and have all been encumbered considerably not only with blood drives for mosquitoes and enough residual rock pain to pay for our chiropractor’s second home in Saratoga but also a comedy hour’s worth of campy capers. There’s nothing like arriving after dark, after an extra hour in traffic with a weekend’s worth of perishables and a dead cell phone only to discover the camp store very much out of ice and your charger very much at home. It’s most helpful, after this discovery to back the Town and Christ-will-it-ever-die? into a tree (Where’d that come from?), smashing the entire back window in the process. “Hey kids, let’s go fishing for glass!”
It rained that night and when it rains, it pours into the tent and I didn’t think there was anything quite as bad as sleeping on a pile of rocks but apparently, there was, so we made camp in the van.
I think maybe I’m more of a glamping girl, you know? Airstream, streamlined, line it up and sign me up, I like air conditioning. I like a charged cell phone and ice cubes and not waking up in a puddle of shitty mood. I like my wine on tap and my back on a mattress and, although I like the idea of sitting under the stars and watching the kids catch fireflies, it’s not nearly as alluring as indoor plumbing and a fresh cup of Nespresso.
Call me spoiled. Call it sad. Call me the unhappiest camper from here to Saratoga Springs but I’m totally content to play it safe and sit this one out. My Pinot’s chilling in the fridge and I’m having an intense infatuation with “Shtisel” (full disclosure: it’s hypnotic and hard to get over) and although my ice cube situation is far from remedied I think (for now) I’ll take my wine, not my nights, on the rocks.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.