Answering the Call of the Mild

Camping is best left to those who, you know, actually like the outdoors.
Anastasia Golubovich / Shutterstock
Anastasia Golubovich / Shutterstock

AS THE STIFLING heat of summer recedes and the winter months approach, I look forward to the promise of snowy walks, steaming hot cocoa, and the sounds of sleigh bells jingling down our street. (Actually, it’s probably a garbage truck spilling bottles out the back, so never mind.) I love winter, because only in winter can I do my favorite thing: not go camping.

Yes, I know, lots of people camp in the winter. Some of my office colleagues are never happier than when their breath crystallizes in front of them as they hike through a wilderness in February, the frozen ground crunching beneath their feet. Me, I prefer the Great Indoors, thick terry-cloth robes, and the crunching of small Lego pieces beneath my slippers, a reminder that little girls should pick up their toys when they’re done. Winter hiking is what I do between the kitchen and the living room, and then back again because I forgot something.

To me, winter is nature’s way of telling us “mmphremshth,” which I can’t hear clearly, because I’m indoors and the windows are closed. But I think it’s telling us to stay inside.

I’m not opposed to camping—I camped twice last summer—but I also don’t hesitate to call it what it is: an exhausting exercise in 18th-century drudgery, but without the helpful oxen. Camping in a tent, with a family, is an unending process of menial labor that begins with deciding what to pack for the trip: everything except the couch. And then consists of an unalterable pattern which, in its entirety, is as follows:

• Pack the car completely full, blocking most windows and floor space. Put bikes on back of car.

• Remove bikes to get something inside back of car. Put bikes on back of car again.

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