Nothing shows one’s appreciation for Mother Nature in all her bitchy glory like a good, old-fashioned, half-assed camping trip!
Last weekend was my 27th birthday. After a four-hour crying session, lamenting the fact that I grow older and closer to death with each passing year, I rallied, packed a bag with all types of things that are inappropriate for outdoor use (though really, when is it ever inappropriate to have a blow up doll with “real vibrating labia action”?) hopped in Keep Getting Caught (my car) and headed out, with some friends, for an exciting weekend of ball-freezing weather, unsanitary conditions and a whole lot of irresponsible drinking.
I love the great outdoors. Sure I don’t actually know what’s so great about them, but I do think they’re pretty nifty and as long as I’m not missing anything good on television (and these days, with nothing but dumb ass reality shows like Win a shot at Herpes with Tila Tequila, or Who cares about child labor laws? I know that I’m not missing a thing. End soon writer’s strike!) then I’m always happy to spend some time breathing in great big gobs of nature.
For those of you not in the know, I was a boy scout for many years, back in the days when the only thing a boy scout had to fear was being mauled by a bear, or forgetting how to do a taut-line hitch, and not his scoutmaster with the “bad touch.” Though it could be crappy at times, I enjoyed sleeping outside, cooking all my food over a fire and all that other shit that used to give Teddy “Bully” Roosevelt such a hard on. I’ve only experienced homesickness once and that was back in 5th grade when I went to a weeklong summer Webeloes camp. I thought that a week was too long to be away from the comforts of home. Little did I realize that a decade or two later I’d go camping in Iraq. Twice. For a yearlong stretch at a time.
Anyway, this camping trip was going to be sweet. We were going to Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on the shore of the lovely and not at all polluted Atlantic Ocean. We hoped to enjoy the august views of the mighty ocean crashing down upon the shore in majestic splendor. The plan was to do a little kite flying, a little grilling, a little drinking and enjoy the good weather. What we hadn’t counted on was Hurricane Noel.
Ever tried to set up a tent, chop veggies or pee in 45MPH+ winds? It’s not very easy and involves a lot of running around like a chicken with its head chopped off. Funny to look at, frustrating to be involved in. Of course, all those things were easy compared to trying to fly a kite the size of a parachute at the beach. Here’s a little advice for you: Don’t do it!
It’s not everyday that one gets to invent a new sport (though if kite/parachute dragging is a sport already, I don’t want to know about it) especially a new sport where, if done properly, your reward is to be dragged out to sea, never to be heard from again.
A few of my friends are kite people. I’m not talking Mary Poppins “Let’s go fly a kite” people, I’m talking “I wonder if I can use my kite string to chop off that dude’s head” people. So, they brought out a few power kites to play with at the beach. My friend Patrick brought a giant kite he made called a bowl. It’s almost the size of a parachute, but a lot more colorful, as if he split open Raggedy Ann and used her skin to make his kite. We decided that this would be the perfect kite to send up in almost hurricane-like conditions. Obviously we had had much to drink by this point (and it was only 10 a.m.).
Three of us wrapped the kite rope around ourselves, confident that our combined weight of at least 300 lbs would be enough to maintain control of the kite.
After, oh, 5 seconds, it was obvious that we were the kite’s bitches. It immediately picked us up into the air as if we weighed no more than Calista Flockhart (now there’s a name from the past! What the hell has Ally McBeal been up to these days anyway?). The smallest of us was tossed aside. Me and the other person foolish enough to hold on were dragged a few dozen yards, screaming our heads off at our friends to throw rocks at the kite, set it on fire, anything to get it to stop!
Eventually, people were able to jump on the kite to get the wind out of it and I was saved from a watery grave.
I lay on the ground, locked in a death embrace with my friend Charles, until the adrenaline subsided and the tears of fear and joy were swept away from my face by the powerful wind.
Then we got up and did it again.
We decided to be smart the second time and wrap the kite rope around a large driftwood log that looked to be between 300 and 400 lbs and hadn’t moved since the last time Oprah’s va-jay-jay got a work out (and you know that poonani hasn’t seen any action since before 9/11!) Then we hopped on top of the log, figuring the added weight would only help to keep the log and the kite in place. This time we lasted two whole minutes. Once it looked as though we had conquered the bowl we got lax, stopped paying so much attention and all had a good laugh at our last misadventure.
This was the break the kite was looking for.
Suddenly the wind picked up, the log reared up like a Wyld Stalyn (San Dimas High School football rules!) and bucked a few of us off. Unlike last time, I immediately jumped off. My first ride, face first, through yards of wet sand, had cured me of wanting to do it again. I yelled at my other friends to let go as well, that there was no way we’d be able to get the kite to stop before it reached the surf. But they didn’t let go, so I leapt at the rope, hoping my 220 pounds of chiseled man-flesh would help slow things down. I was wrong. Once again we went for a ride down the beach. I’m sure we were quite the sight, five grown men running around, yelling and swinging from this big ass kite. A few people were actually lifted in the air. Luckily, my prodigious beer belly kept me grounded.
It was a titanic struggle my friends. One for the ages. An epic battle between man and nature! We again were eventually able to subdue the kite. Afterward we caught our breath, checked our pants for any frightened pee stains, refilled our beer mugs and headed home to spread our tale of windy adventure. Much as I have just done for you.
P.S. Other shit happened during the camping trip as well, a lot of it involved throwing things into fires that were not meant to burn, (and would help bring sense to the title of this entry). But If I wrote about everything, it’d be a multi entry and I don’t get down like that.