Sunday, April 23, 2006
In case anyone's noticed, I've been away. I've been camping for the past 3 days, with Fatty and our kids, as well as another couple and their little boy. It was a great campground - near a lake, with wildlife all around. The photo shows just how many kangaroos were sharing the area with us (click to enlarge).
I haven't been camping since Fatty and I were childless. We may have even been still dating. If I recall rightly, we thought it was nothing but fun, and were all cutesy together. Oh bleah!
I've come to the conclusion that when camping as a married couple, there MUST be marital discord. On arrival at the camping ground, it is essential that griping and bickering begin. If you want to get straight into the swing of things, may I suggest arguing about the tent positioning. There are so many variables to consider, you can argue on this one for hours. Unfortunately, Fatty and I couldn't find a good solid point of dispute with this topic, so we had to move straight on to.....
Erecting the tent....it's the pinnacle of camping conflict. Each couple must nag, whine and mutter at each other. If you can, try to leave the tent instructions at home (this was our stroke of pure genius). That way, you can each explain to each other in slow, 'don't-you-realise-how-moronic-you-are' statements, how the job actually should be done. Priceless!
The couple we were with didn't fight at all over tent siting, or tent erecting. The husband, Lonky, did all the tent putting-up, while KP calmly made lunch. Hmmmm, I thought to myself, perhaps that's the way to do it. Just keep away, let one person do it all.
That night, Fatty and I were first to say goodnight, and snuggle down into our beds. All sniping at each other forgotten, we cuddled up and whispered our conversation to each other, so we wouldn't wake the children. Soon afterwards, KP and Lonky switched their gas light off, and all was quiet momentarily. Then there was the flash of a torch being shone about, and the strident tones of an upset woman.
"Look! Look at the roof over there! It's sagging!"
(indecipherable muttering from Lonky, who had during the evening consumed a whole bottle of white wine unaided)
"It is sagging. The whole bloody back of the tent is sagging too. It's going to fall down on us in the middle of the night!"
(murmur, murmur, it's fine, go to sleep, murmur)
"You haven't put the clips on over HERE! Look! No wonder the whole roof is caving in!"
Rustling and tent-unzipping noises ensued, and then the conversation was clearer, just a few feet from where Fatty and I lay, uncomfortable witnesses to the unfolding drama.
"I can't believe I let you put the tent up. You've stuffed it up completely! God! Why can't you put up a tent with clear instructions? This is just ridiculous!".
"Look, it's a little lax but really, it'll be fine. Let's just go to bed. Next time you can put up the tent and it'll all be perfect."
" WHAT? You want ME to put up the tent next time? So that's what this was about...you figured if you stuffed it up, I'd let you off the hook and do it all myself after today. Unbelievable!!!"
Fatty and I shifted a little on our skinny little mattresses. What could we do? There was no way not to eavesdrop on this heated discussion. We were hapless, helpless witnesses to this marital meltdown. Then, like a rainstorm onto a bushfire, a miraculous dousing of the flames occurred...
"Did they just giggle?", KP suddenly asked Lonky. She still sounded angry. I quailed under the sheet.
"I don't know. I'd be laughing if I were them!". Lonky began to chuckle, and KP allowed herself a brief giggle.
"Were you two LAUGHING?", came a stern voice, suddenly mere inches away from our heads.
"No!", I squeaked. "Honestly, we weren't!". (We wouldn't have dared!)
"Really, we didn't!" I repeated nervously.
The flashlight waved and wandered away. I could hear KP and Lonky murmuring and giggling off and on for several minutes.
Silence descended on the campsite again. Fatty and I smiled at each other in the darkness. It's comforting to know that all couples bicker. And if you can laugh together after you bicker, it's a marriage made in heaven!