My iPad is resting on a log, with the moon lighting the lake in front of me as I listen to my little Dumpling, snore. I can hardly believe the sights and sounds in front of me because it’s taken so much work to get here.
Camping is hard work, y’all. A week of prepping, planning and packing, to live like homeless people for three days.
It’s also expensive. Four trips to the store later, it’s costing me $150 to sleep on the ground and eat prepared food out of a cooler.
It just so happens to be the worst time in the world to take off work, but my coworkers smiled and sent me on my way. I’m fortunate enough to work with two of the best people I’ve ever known and I’m grateful that they knew I needed to check out for a few days. I was nearing the end of my rope, crying on occasion and not being the nicest version of myself. A basket case, to be generous. A brat, to be completely honest.
A dear friend secured a lakeside dream of a campsite for me at 7 this morning, so I had all day to overpack. We rolled in late, and landed in the midst of tourism hell.
There are not words.
Well.. yes…yes there are.
I’m camping beside a reunion of frat boys. They’re early to mid 40’s and have been yelling “YEAH BRAH” for hours. Then they started drinking and screaming at their wives.
Which is when the wives started screaming back. This is also when their shitty little dogs began barking and howling… (they are still at it right now.)
I hate shitty pet owners that insist on taking their ill mannered pests to public places. I don’t care if it’s an unpopular opinion. I don’t like your dog like you do, especially if it’s an untrained nuisance.
If it howls at people, don’t take it fucking camping. Your Shitzu is going to be wildlife bait if I have anything to do with the solution, so leave it’s yappy ass at home.
Don’t tell me it’s friendly as it’s jumping on my kid and my dog. I don’t care how it behaves in your family environment. We are strangers and stomping on someone is NOT friendly. I guarantee a little “friendly” return stomp would not be well received. Keep your pet on a leash in public, please.
My blood pressure was rising and I was twice as livid for all the shit I’d gone through to actually get to our tent. I could hear them screaming obscenities at each other with a dozen of their own children present… so I knew they weren’t worried about mine.
I tried to breathe through it, when my little Dumpling frowned at me and said:
D- Mama… What’s a douchebag?
SNAPITY, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP.
I turned and yelled in the direction of our disgusting neighbors.
J- WATCH YOUR MOUTHS!
Their shitty ass dogs still continued to howl and bark but the rest of their trashy group has been silent since I yelled.
(which lasted all of 15 minutes)
They started right back up again and didn’t stop until midnight… … … …precisely when the campers at the site past ours arrived to unload their camping equipment. It’s a steep hill, so they used a plastic sled… slid across the rocks in front of our tent… until 1:15 in the morning. As soon as they were settled, their dog began howling back at the shrill barking nightmare of the asshole neighbors. I swear God is testing me to see just how much it takes before I strangle someone with my bare hands.
>>>>Insert the worst 5 hours of shrill, dog barking/howling, laced “sleep” you can fathom. To say I woke up on the wrong side of the tent, is quite the humorous understatement, only to be enveloped in their cigarette smoke as I struggled to fire up the camp stove I’d borrowed.
Things were moving from a simmer to a rolling boil.
The Dumpling reluctantly told me she needed to take a trip to the outhouse, so we grabbed the toilet paper, some nose plugs and clipped our overjoyed dog to the leash. She’s the only one who rejoices in a trip to the shit shed.
As we walked by the evil neighbors from hell, a pack of 6 of the ugliest dogs I’ve ever seen, came running up the hill towards the Dumpling and our dog, Honey. Chinese Crested hairless assholes. That’s what they were. I only had a second to roll my eyes before they started attacking our dog, whose leash was in the hands of my Dumpling.
Q- MOMMMMMY!!!!!! HELPPPPPPPP!!!!
J- YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. IT’S NOT BAD ENOUGH THEY KEPT EVERYONE AWAKE ALL FUCKING NIGHT? WHAT WOULD POSSESS YOU TO BRING THESE SHITTY THINGS CAMPING AND WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEIR LEASHES? CALL YOUR FUCKING DOGS!
They didn’t even get up from their picnic table, so I began kicking them off of my dog, one by one. POW, right in the neck. POW, in it’s stupid little hairless head… POW, POW, POW.
I am the last person who would ever hurt a dog… but these weren’t dogs. These was a deranged pack of pathetic hyenas. UNTRAINED and AMOK.
Also- my dog is a timid little softie. She hides under tables when new dogs come into HER house. She was never the alpha and doesn’t even attempt to defend herself. Which makes me ten times as protective and homicidal.
They didn’t say a word and I stared them all down on our way back to camp.
The looks on their faces said it all. They were public enemy #1 in the campground and didn’t give a shit. Everyone was going out of their way to give them a heavy side eye first thing.
The campground is a bit hunger games when you’re an asshole. Sleep is already hard to come by when you’re sleeping on the ground. Nobody needs to add anything to make it more difficult. The people with barking dogs and screaming children are shunned, as they should be. Don’t take things camping that don’t camp well unless you’re going off on your own to suffer in the chaos of your own creating. Don’t shit your life choices in the National Forest with a bunch of innocent strangers.
One more trip to the bathroom had them rushing us again, only this time there were 8.
J- CALL YOUR FUCKING DOGS OR I’M GOING TO BREAK THEIR FUCKING NECKS.
Still nothing. I kicked a few more and prayed the Dumpling didn’t have to go again soon… which is when I saw the people at the end of the beach, packing up. We were in site 6, and this meant moving to site 1. In other words, the clouds parted and heaven opened up and threw me a miracle. I knew I’d probably lose ten pounds from hauling everything another half a mile, but I didn’t care. (Thanks, Mom.)
My beautiful camping trip was on the line and there were a half dozen tents and twice as many trees between the new campsite and the asshole campers from hell.
So I began to schlep. Unfortunately this took me past them on each of our dozen trips to relocate. They came out each time like a bunch of poorly bred miniature hyenas.
I started to yell at them directly.
J- GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE.
Finally; the idiot responsible for making all those worthless animals, spoke.
Asshole: HEY. DON’T YELL AT MY DOGS.
J- WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU HAVE 8 OF THOSE? GOOD GOD. GET A DAMN HOBBY. MIGHT I SUGGEST DOG TRAINING? AT THE VERY LEAST, PLEASE STOP CAMPING, SPAY AND NEUTER.
He finally put the asshole pack in the extra 10 man tent they’d brought just for their dogs. Rumor started to circulate that they were dog breeders and loved to take their dogs camping. Lucky everyone. Ugh.
As I set up the tent for the second time, I looked up to see three other people approaching with the same idea.
C- Oh shoot. Are you camping here? You just beat us to it.
J- Sorry- those people are assholes and I couldn’t take another 5 minutes.
C- SERIOUSLY. My husband left this morning. He couldn’t stand it. Their dog tent is right next to ours.
J- #3 is also leaving! Go grab it!
On our second to last trip, shit got REAL. I saw an angry, red-faced man stomping towards me from the end of the beach. The man from site 7, who was celebrating his retirement from teaching this weekend with a solo camping trip to the woods. Yeah. His patience has run out… I recognize someone who’s slipped off the deep end. He’s about to kill a bad camper and I’m going to pop some corn and watch.
T- WHOSE ASS AM I GOING TO BEAT?
Yep. First time I’ve ever seen fisticuffs at the campground AND the most satisfying boxing match I’ve ever seen. I was absolutely satisfied just watching someone else punch that guy in the mouth. The assholes packed up and left after that, to a smattering of applause.
I liked camping much more when my biggest fear was getting eaten by the wildlife. Now that it’s gotten trendy and more accessible, I find myself praying for that on occasion.