WARNING: Do not read if you are eating, just finished eating, disgusted by bodily functions, or if you are my mother who begged me not to share this story.
Last week, I went on my annual trip up north for a few days of sunning, reading, kayaking and cribbaging at my dad and stepmom’s lakeside summer getaway. It’s a big campsite with all the fixin’s–a trailer, a dock, a screened-in ping-pong/dining table, a bonfire pit, an outhouse, Dad’s overalls, kayaks, a paddle boat, a canoe, fishing gear, mountain bikes, and friendly neighbourhood moose, deer, bears, beavers, chipmunks, red squirrels, loons, ducks, dragonflies, horse flies, black flies, spiders and mosquitos. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Nature’s splendor. For one week every year, I become one with mother nature. Literally. She bites me a lot.
It was a great time, as always! I love camping. I opt to sleep in a tent instead of the trailer because I love sleeping outside (ok, and the trailer doesn’t fit the huge air mattress I prefer). I normally plan my trip up north for the beginning of August when it’s not as buggy; but because of the timing of leaving my old job and starting a new one, I had to make the trip a couple of weeks earlier than usual. This normally wouldn’t be an issue, but
Fun fact: Due to early spring flooding in the area, black flies were still around in July (normally gone in June), and mosquitos were rampant.
I made the mistake of going for a peaceful walk in the woods, which rapidly turned into a harrowing run back to the campsite and straight into the lake, all the while my hands wildly swatting at my head as flies swarmed me. It was graceful. Needless to say, after a few days in, I had some bites.
Fun fact: That’s eight black fly bites on my head and neck, and seven mosquito bites on my legs and arms, to be exact.
Oh, and another
Fun fact: The Off! Clip-On Mosquito Repellent is bullshit.
The day before I left, my dad, stepmom and I decided to spend the afternoon in town. We ran some errands, saw The Lone Ranger (a rip roarin’ good time! I recommend!), and went out for dinner. After a few days of making healthy eating choices, I decided to splurge. Popcorn at the movies, taco salad for dinner, and moose tracks ice cream from Kawartha Dairy for the 45 minute drive back to the campsite.
Popcorn. Taco salad. Ice cream.
You might see where this is going.
As we drove down the winding roads back to the campsite, my stomach starting turning. Churning. Concocting. Anticipating a close call, I joked to my dad and stepmom that I had dibs on the outhouse when we returned.
Well, I didn’t quite make it to the outhouse.
Minutes away from the campsite, it was zero hour. “Dad, you need to pull over right now.” He dutifully did. I jumped out of the car, frantically ran into the bushes away from sight, pulled my shorts down, crouched, and went. I’ll spare you the gory details, but just remember:
Popcorn. Taco salad. Ice cream.
I’m sure an emergency like this has happened to you or someone you know. Right??? Why else do we see all those cars parked on the side of a highway? This has NEVER happened to me before. A couple of close calls, yes. Perhaps you’ve read, “The Grass is Slippery.” But I’ve never had to do business without a proper toilet. It was mortifying. I guess I should be thankful it happened while I was with family and in the woods, and not in public.
But, of course, the situation was a little bit more complicated.
In my anger, embarrassment and discomfort with what was happening, I was not fully aware of my surroundings. It wasn’t until towards the end of nature calling that I noticed two mosquitos on my arm. I swatted them away.
It was then that I realized what other large part of my body was fully exposed.
Think about it.
Like two Christmas hams dangled in front of a pack of wolves.
I couldn’t even defend myself without risking losing my balance and falling over into, well, you know…
So in addition to the discomfort I was enduring from the several bites I had already amassed, in two unfortunate minutes, I added ten more to the mix. All in a terrible, terrible place. The five-hour drive home the next day was, um, interesting.
Fun fact: I’m allergic to mosquito bites. Not severely, but my bites instantly swell to an abnormal size and all the Benadryl in the world can’t save me from the itch. Just an hour or so before “the incident,” I had a conversation with my dad about whether prescription-strength mosquito bite remedies existed, because I was already in so much discomfort. Then I go and shit in the woods.
I learned later that as they sat in the van averting their eyes, my dad and stepmom deliberated about bringing me bug spray. I’m thankful that as a woman, my stepmom knew better and they resolved to let me be. I would sacrifice my entire body to the blood-suckers before being able to live down anyone witnessing that scene.
Though, in hindsight, they could have thrown me the package of wet wipes they gave me when I returned.
Instead, I cleaned up courtesy of the good ol’ maple leaf.
Sing it with me now,