I Even Got Scared While Writing This Also Known As Why I Don’t Camp

I don’t camp.

Besides the obvious lack of bathrooms and places to plug in my computer in a tent, I’m afraid of the dark. Not city-dark, where the sky is orange and the darkest place is a burned-out street lamp.

I’m afraid of the country-dark. Where you can see all the stars. And no one can hear you scream.

The Blair Witch Project made me die a slow horrible death. For weeks afterwards.

Because my worst nightmare is to be in a tent with creepy noises and weird rock piles and no shoe store in sight. Oh and a crazy witch serial killer thing that kills people. That’s also why it freaked me out.

But once, many moons ago, I agreed to go camping with my husband.

All day I’m happy and smoochie and hiking in my awesome new boots.

Then BAM! It’s dark and I’m terrified.

After laying in the eerie blackness next to my snoring husband for HOURS also known as thirty minutes recalling all the ways I could die according to every horror movie I’d ever seen, I gentle shake him awake with punch in the kidney and ask him play cards.

And yes, I realize a flashlight in a tent makes us a GREATER TARGET for the freaks.  But no one has ever been killed playing gin rummy. Sleeping? Running? Playing poker?  Yes. Yes. Yes. Gin rummy? No.

So we play. For an HOUR.

And now I have to pee.

Of course, I make Scott go outside with me. TO STAND GUARD.

As I finish peeing, a great rustling comes through the woods. But not like a squirrel jumping gleefully among the leaves. More like FIFTY-FOOT TREES BEING TOPPLED OVER BY SOMETHING ANGRY and that SOMETHING ANGRY  is heading our way.

I turn, half tripping on my pants around my ankles, to get reassurance from Scott.

And he’s GONE.

Now I’m like PSYCHO afraid. And the crashing is coming closer and closer.


Muffled voice: Get in the tent!

As I run towards the tent, I holler: EXCUSE ME? Did you just leave me alone in the dark with a MONSTER THAT IS KNOCKING DOWN TREES!

Muffled voice: I’m getting a weapon.

Me: What? A sleeping bag?

Muffled voice: A pot!

As I climb into the tent, I ask: And just when were you going to come out of the tent to use it?

The monster must’ve heard my indignation. Because he hightailed it the other way.

PS. We don’t camp anymore.  At least not without a cabin and a deadbolt.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

16 thoughts to “I Even Got Scared While Writing This Also Known As Why I Don’t Camp”

  1. Wow? That’s scared. Being the Boy Scout, I’ve got tons of scary in the forest type stories. Did I mention we Honeymooned in Camp? We were in a little tent, uh….honeymooning when this TRUCK rolled into the spot next to us. HUGE Recreational vehicle. It automatically deployed it’s satellite dish and awning while we watched. Lemme guess, that’s how you roll ( or would like to).

  2. I was pretty sure that you were going to reveal that hubby was the big monster creeping through the woods.
    I’ll camp, and enjoy it, but not without running water and toilets. That peeing in the forest crap is for bears.

    1. I’d rather him hide in the tent then try to kill me. And had he jumped out? I would’ve died. If I hadn’t died? We probably would’ve divorced. That night. Although I would’ve admire his moxie.

      PS. Maybe you could camp with my family instead?

  3. “Glamping” is the new camping!
    I think I would hate sleeping in a tent outside in the woods- SCARY! Only slept in a tent once and it was in a park 15 mins from my house. (In a giant field) We had bathrooms and could walk back and forth to our car. I found out tents are also the only thing that make me feel claustrophobic.

  4. I feel like this about the woods and the dark too. The only problem is that I live in the woods. You’d think I’d be cured by now with all the immersion therapy but no. Also, we have coyotes, and I read a lot of Stephen King. Yet again I’m responsible for my own neurosis.

    1. This made me LAUGH.

      Do you have infra-red goggles? Or do you just try to ignore the dark creepiness around you? I’m now an ignore-er but I went through an investigator phase… like a stupid horror movie extra.

  5. No goggles, just really bright floodlights for outside. In the winter I have to go out all the time and get firewood. It’s not fun. I think I”m going to get one of those headlamps like cave explorers wear.
    I don’t ignore, I invent even worse sounds/creatures.

    1. No. And I’m okay with that. I pretty much hope to never discover it.

      And I’m glad to find someone who isn’t all: Oh WHATEVER about the movie. Because WHATEVER right back (as I pee my pants)

  6. I am laughing so hard right now. We literally just came off a camping trip in a tent and I feel similar in that the sun goes down and my imagination runs wild. But I still had fun.

  7. We camp.

    We used to camp a lot further from the potties than we do now, though. Four precipitous deliveries and I don’t camp anywhere without flush johns and showers.

  8. I loved camping as a kid. The thrill of being out there. We would hike in, so no potties, no running water, nothing. My parents were braver then I am. Haven’t taken the girls yet. And I think we already talked about alligators in parks. No way I am camping where I’m told to keep an eye out for those beasts. In general, I’m more scared of people then animals, which is why I haven’t watched that movie. No… No need for more fear here.

    But I totally understand what you mean about the dark dark. After a year in Chicago I spent a summer in a ghost town (really). One night, as I walked through a field in the dark dark dark, I kept thinking, who could be behind that bush? I freaked myself out.

  9. I can camp, I grew up on a ranch, so I like country dark. But this made me laugh because I feel similarly about scuba diving ever since I watched Open Water. We took a trip to the beach recently and I still had nightmares about somehow drifting out into the ocean and being eaten by sharks! And that movie came out years ago. I do not need to ocean life that badly. I’m just sayin’.

  10. We’re campers. And sometimes we’re even happy campers. 😀

    I’ve always thought that a campground would be a serial killer’s nirvana. All he’d have to do is slit open a tent with a large knife. No one would ever hear.

    Bears are another story entirely. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night, needing to use the facilities, and hearing a bear roam your campsite.

    Still…love camping. The pros – s’mores, Dutch oven cooking, long Scrabble games, crafts, no technology, card games, campfire philosophical discussions, flashlight tag, fishing, hiking, swimming in a cool mountain stream – far outweigh the cons – cold showers, no technology, cold nights, bugs, campground toilets, bears, serial killers.

  11. Ok. Are you serious?! There was really something coming for you guys?! But a pot? Hummmm…maybe you could talk the boogie monster into sitting down for some tea first before he made damage of you. Perhaps he was just stressed out and after a little chamomile he would have gone away…or just climbed into your sleeping bag with you.

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