Mar 3, 2010
The Disingenuousness of Polite Encouragement
Last summer, my neighbor told me she would be gone for a week. She was going camping with her daughter. I said, "Oh, that sounds fun!" But I didn't mean it. Not truthfully. To be terribly honest, it doesn't sound like anything but the opposite of fun to me. But it's not my job to burst my neighbor's bubble. She doesn't need to know that I'm afraid of possums and raccoons. She doesn't care that I don't know what poison ivy looks like. She was probably only telling me so she could blame me if her place got robbed. And I was just being polite in the way that we are polite to each other in our fraudulent little society of liars. And if you think I'm wrong, please cite the last time you said, "You look AMAZING!" to someone and meant it.
Maybe if a camping trip was planned by someone who really knows how to camp and is really good at it, I'd end up not loathing it. Maybe if the centerpiece of the camping trip was a two-night stay at a five star hotel.
But if you left it to me to plan a camping trip, I would just come up with ways to make it feel like it wasn't a camping trip at all. Because I can't think of anything less appealing than being outside all the time and learning why everything is all wet in the morning and not knowing who has recently peed on the spot where you are now about to pitch a tent.
I can make pancakes and steak on a Coleman stove. And I can remember to buy all the right booze. There is virtually no end to the number of travel size shampoo bottles I can offer you, and I buy only the most luxurious t.p. You want me as your supply officer. But you don't want me as your captain where camping is concerned. And you don't want me in your tent. Unless you like the delicate art of complaint. And let's face it, if you're inviting me somewhere, you probably do.
posted by Mary Forrest at 11:49 AM | Back to Monoblog