Monday, August 23, 2010

Camp Stimey: Stay Alive...No Matter What Occurs!* (Part I)

* Even though this should really be called "Camp Schmalex: Disaster on Long Island" because he is the jerk who wanted to go see Phish play two shows at Jones Beach and somehow tricked his entire family into driving him up there.

Last you heard, we were well prepared to head off camping, what with our comprehensive experience and extensive, almost redundant, equipment stores. (By the way, everything in that last sentence was a lie.)

We arrived in the late afternoon and set about erecting our tents. (Erecting. Heh.) Surprisingly, it went pretty smoothly. Alex was in charge of the six-person tent that we brought to our campsite still in its box. (See what I mean about how experienced we are?) I totally won the tent building race by putting up the two-person dome tent that was eventually designated as home to our suitcase. (It didn't hurt that Alex didn't know we were racing.)

This little vista made me oddly uneasy.

You'll be happy to know that of our assets (lantern, Frisbee, telescoping marshmallow forks, and a tent), we forgot the lantern. At least we remembered the tent.

After our campsite was set up, we continued with our gathering of essentials (like a flashlight) from the nearby camp store and the surrounding area:


A fire pit.



A trip to the nearby beach.

We eventually walked back to our campsite and discovered that our telescoping marshmallow forks had several purposes, including dueling swords and telescoping hot dog roasters. We were all happily settled into the darkening night, eating our hot dogs, corn on the cob, and s'mores—and feeling pretty damn proud of ourselves if I do say so myself—when we heard some sort of animal noise.

It's almost as if Alex has never talked to a child before.

Fortunately, my kids know better than to take Alex seriously. Thank God.

So, while in fact there were no actual vampire bats (that we saw), we did wake up to the discovery that we were the proud renters of a very special campsite.

Now, I know that maybe, once or twice in the distant past, I've been prone to some slight exaggeration. But I'm really not kidding. These things really were two inches long. And on the campground map, all the other campsites had little icons of tents or RVs. Ours had a drawing of the SUPERWASP.

I will call him Bartholomew.

There were at least two of them because Alex stepped on one and left half his body right in front of the nest, kind of like a warning—the SUPERWASP version of the horse head in your bed.

After I tweeted a photo of the beast, a couple of you offered suggestions as to what kind of bug he was. The consensus seemed to be that I shouldn't worry. This kind of bug doesn't sting you unless you bother it or get too close to its nest.


No problem. I'm sure we didn't bother him at all.

Not only was the thing's nest in the literal center of our campsite, we'd jammed sticks into its little entry hole in an effort to make him think the door was locked and he should go elsewhere. We're such dumb people. Does anyone have a hornet's nest you'd like me to retrieve from your trees with my bare hands?

Oh, but I think our fucking around with his nest, while it didn't dissuade him from buzzing in and out of it, did encourage him to decide to dig another nest—DIRECTLY UNDER OUR TENT.

Granted, it was the tent that held just our suitcase, but still.

There were lots of regular bees too. They didn't bother me too much though because I kinda like bees. We have an understanding. I let them walk around on me and they are so grateful that I don't run around and scream that they don't sting me.

It's kind of ironic that I am terrified of every single non-dangerous bug in the world, but the one bug that can actually hurt me? I want to pet him and take him home. Honestly, I should take my fear of the SUPERWASP to mean that he was harmless.

I fed our bees our leftover lunch meat. Alex waved his arms and yelled a lot while shrieking, "CAN THEY SMELL FEAR?!"

Yes, Alex. They can.

Stay tuned in the near future for Parts II through IX of Camp Stimey's Trip to Long Island. No, I'm (probably) kidding. I'll only subject you to Parts II and III. It's not because I'm nice either. It's because I'm tired.

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