Camp? or Camping?
So, Lydia and I went to Camp last week. Notice that I said "to Camp", and not "camping". There is a difference. Correction: there are differences.
First of all, when one goes camping, one must pack up a vehicle with every known bit of gear that will serve every imaginable situation while in pseudo-wilderness. (I say "pseudo", because really, as much as I do like to muck about in nature, I really don't want to immerse myself in it overnight in the dark, with the coyotes.) This of course includes tent, tarp, camp stove, vittles, lantern and marshmallow skewers. When one goes to Camp, one must pack a Rubbermaid tote (keeps the mice at bay) full of shorts and tee-shirts that have one's name written in Sharpie marker on the labels. Throw in a hideous rain poncho, a raggedy sweatshirt, some pilfered toiletries from your last stay at a hotel and some toxic-smelling bug spray, and you're good to go.
When one goes camping, a cooler full of tasty adult beverages to be enjoyed round the campfire is the norm. At Camp, NO FOOD OR DRINK OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED.
When one goes camping, one registers with the park ranger and parks at or near the site. At Camp, one registers with teenage girls who have name-tags that read "Bubbles" and "Sparkle" and "Angel". (A very strange thing, that. Why do the counselors have nicknames and are forbidden to share their real names? Some of the names could double as pornstar names later on. )
When one goes camping, one is free to unload one's belongings and set up camp immediately. At Camp, one must go through and excruciatingly long check-in process that includes having one's head checked for cooties and one's feet checked for creeping crud- right there in front of God and everybody.
When one goes camping, one is free to relax and enjoy the campfire late into the evening. At Camp, Bubbles and Sparky yell for everyone to get their pajamas on and brush their teeth at 8:30. After a lame friendship circle, everyone is dismissed to their cabin/tent. Bubbles and Sparky yell for "lights out" at 9:00.
When one goes camping, one usually stays up late drinking beer by the fire, the combined effect making it quite easy to fall asleep on the cold, hard ground. At Camp, one is not accustomed to being sent to bed before dark and has quite a time of it falling asleep on wicked uncomfortable camp cots. Owls and coyotes interrupt sleep and quell any fleeting thought of walking up to the bathroom just for something to do.
When one goes camping, one must either make a fire if coffee is to be had, or make a quick trip into town for some joe. At Camp, nice ladies in the dining hall make a wonderful breakfast, complete with hot coffee.
At Camp, people spontaneously break into song and encourage others to join in. When one goes camping, a guitar is sometimes brought out and some songs are sometimes sung. But, not usually.
At Camp, you get to ride horses. When one goes camping, one usually wishes a horse would haul your sorry ass back up the hill you trip-trapped down when you optimistically took a hike after breakfast.
At Camp, you do archery. When one goes camping, one hopes not to be a target for any psycho hunters in the woods.
When one goes camping, one can break camp at one's leisure. At Camp, you go by someone else's clock.
When all is said and done, I think I prefer camping at the Hilton.