By Corrine Asturias – Reprinted from Los Gatos Weekly-Times Aug. 5, 1992*
While it’s true that with each camping trip we learn something new, we’ve also found that we get the opportunity to relearn something old, such as what it’s like to live next door to the Simpsons for a few days.
Instead of the ingredients for s’mores, this family has brought a small liquor store. They have a boom box and a large, untrained dog named something like “Thunder-turd.” There is an axe and a whittling knife for each family member, all stuck into a tree for safekeeping. There are two layers of rip-stop nylon between you and them.
During the years, I have philosophically concluded that every such [tag]campground[/tag] should have such a group, if for no other reason than to make everything else look good. And the truth is, being a truly obnoxious camper is a delicate art, relying on careful planning and orchestration. The rules are as follows:
1. Make your entrance to the campground fashionably late, preferably after 10:00 pm., when there is no available light and everyone else is asleep.
2. Drive around the entire campground with your brights on so you can inspect each potential campsite fully, and so campers can make shadow puppets inside their tent if they want. Feel free to idle your engine at high RPM for long periods while you and your family carefully weigh the merits of each site, including those which are already taken.
3. If you have a boat, camper, motor home or other vehicle that blocks your rear view, always back into your parking space. Again, take your time, preferably having someone in your party stand behind the vehicle, shouting directions at the driver. Keep at it until you get it exactly right, grinding your reverse gear, revving your engine and spinning your tires in the gravel as needed.
4. If things take longer than you planned, which they probably will, swear a lot. This is, after all, the country. Do it loudly, leaning out your open window and with all the gusto you can muster. And don’t forget the kids. It will ease the tension for everyone if you get them to cry.
5. Pump and pump that lantern for all your worth (skip the directions, you can’t see them anyway), then throw in a lit match and enjoy the majesty of your very own atomic blast. Keep the valve completely open, so your campsite will serve as a beacon for other campers who may be lost, disoriented or under the impression they were sleeping comfortably.
6. Pack a tent that uses metal poles. Plastic poles just don’t clang loudly enough when you throw the sack of them on the ground, trip over them and kick them out of the way.
7. Be sure someone in your party is either:
a) drunk and obnoxious;
b) ill with bronchitis, emphysema or some other lung affliction that produces a loud hacking cough; or
c) tired and under the age of four.
8. Hours later, when you have set up and fully decorated your campsite with hummingbird feeders, lawn chairs, Japanese lanterns and your newly made walking sticks, zip and unzip all the sleeping bags and tent vigorously four or five times each to ensure proper functioning for the night.
9. Have a radio playing – a simple boom box or car radio will do. If the signal is weak, and there is a lot of crackle, you can always turn up the volume.
And last but not least…
10. Plan to have your entire party sleep late. There is always a family somewhere nearby with small children who rise and begin their day at the crack of dawn. They’d like to eat their granola bars and drop by to play trampoline on your tent.
While their parents sip espresso and watch.