Offen: I prefer the great indoors

Aug. 17, 2014 @ 03:36 PM

When asked, several years ago, if he had ever gone camping, my friend Frank responded, with a look of total bemused amazement on his face, “You mean, like on the ground?”

And then, several years later, he actually went camping.
And, apparently, liked it. (Of course, he went camping with several bottles of good red wine, including a Chateau d’Affluence, an assortment of classy canapes composed of gluten-free caramelized goat cheese hummus and heirloom broccolini rabe spanakopitas, as well as a number of family members who were willing to do all the camping-type grunt work while Frank checked his vintages. Still, he did say he liked it.)
So that leaves, according to my calculations, me as the only person on the face of the earth who has never been camping and never wants to.
Even my wife, who thinks of “roughing it” as using paper napkins instead of cloth, has been camping. She did it some years ago with the Girl Scouts, correctly realizing that she if she were going to go camping, she needed to do it with expert help and with short people she could boss around.
I don’t want to go even if it’s with the Girl Scouts, although I might reconsider it if they brought lots of cookies, particularly the Samoas. But truly, I’m not interested. In fact, I don’t understand at all the attraction of camping, particularly when compared with not camping.
First of all, most of camping tends to be outdoors. That’s a place where it can frequently rain, which interferes with your TV reception particularly if you have a satellite dish. 
Then there’s the 700-pound backpack you have to wear on your back, which is so heavy because you’re carrying a tent, a bed roll, a mini-stove, a mini-microwave, your outdoor jammies and that cumbersome satellite dish.
Assuming you can ever get the backpack off your back and onto the ground, you then have to “set up camp,” which I understand to mean fighting off hundreds of very hungry mosquitoes.
Once you’ve finished fighting the mosquitoes and you have no blood left, it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors and determine if the great outdoors also includes snakes. After looking for snakes around your bedroll, you can then look up into the beautiful open outdoor sky to see if there are bats waiting for the snakes to finish.
Finally, there is that point that my friend Frank so elegantly described: the joy of sleeping on the ground. If you’re camping, it’s assumed that ultimately you will sleep on the ground, even if the ground is covered up by a sleeping bag, camping mattress or Nepalese sherpas.
The problem is, I have enough difficulty sleeping in my own bed, which is comfortable, soft, forgiving and located directly across from my secret hiding place for night-time Twizzlers. I don’t think the great outdoors can compete with that.
Neil Offen can be reached at theneiloffencolumn@yahoo.com.