Two in a Tent: Camping Humor, страница 1
Two in a Tent
By Lenny Everson
Copyright Lenny Everson 2011
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Cover design by Lenny Everson
Husbands, Wives, and the Great Mythic Northern Wilderness
"Hubby?" she said. "I'm sliding off the mattress again. And something's biting me on the neck."
There were a lot of things I could have said, at that point. I contemplated them all. I calculated in the fact that we were four hours and two portages from the car. There were no divorce lawyers within shouting distance. In fact there was no one else on the lake.
"Those Thermarest mattresses are like that," I answered, in truth. "And the campsite is on a slope." I postponed my advice about biting creatures for the moment.
These things were true, of course. We'd had to camp on a ridge, more or less, because God left all the flat ground in Saskatchewan and around Chatham. Leastwise, in an Ontario woods, the landscape planners seem to have decided that any flat area more than a foot across would attract undesirables.
"I've slid down till I'm bunched up against the frame of the tent," she pointed out, a bit plaintively." Where, I wondered, Are the tough women that founded the country? At least she had an air mattress with real air in it.
"Want to trade air mattresses?" It was a long shot. However, she'd been married to me far too long.
"How is yours?" she asked, trying to shuffle back uphill inside her sleeping bag. It was like a giant caterpillar next to me. "You figured it was so cheap it wouldn't last more than a couple of days." Wives remember things like that.
"I miscalculated by forty-seven hours and a few minutes," I answered.
"It's flat!" she said, with finality.
"Remember," I asked, "how I was complaining that the pillow was useless, because it was at the same height as the rest of the mattress? Well, the pillow's okay now.
"The ground," I went on, "is not. There's rocks down there. All over the place. At least I can't slide anywhere. Are you sure you don't want to trade?"
There was a shuffle from the other side of the tent as Dianne challenged the law of gravity and the coefficient of friction once again.
"The pillow," she said.
I waited. A loon called. Something feasted on exposed parts of my body. You can't rush these things.
"You told me I could use the rolled up lifejacket as a pillow." Feverishly, my mind worked on a way to deny it.
"Ah!," I said, trying to be political or tactful, or something.
"It slides out from under my head," she said. "It also unrolls itself." There was another dangerous pause. "It slides off in the opposite direction that I slide in. I've got to hold it in a death-grip, so we slide together to the bottom of the tent, till I'm bunched up against the frame of the tent, holding onto my pillow.
"I don't find myself drifting off to sleep," she noted.
I waited, my hip reforming itself anatomically onto a chunk of the Canadian shield. Dianne just had to straighten out. This was perfectly logical. You think she'd figure it out herself. By staying poker-stiff all night, with feet braced against the tent, and both arms around the lifejacket, she could actually sleep quite comfortably.
I could have explained that, but some things are self-evident, I believe.
"Why didn't we bring the good air mattresses?" There it was.
"We're travelling light because of all the portages," I answered, "and these were lighter than the good mattresses."
There comes a dangerous point in any marriage, and a dangerous point in any camping trip, and the two points were coming together. I needed a way out, so I switched on the flashlight.
A flashlight in a tent in the wilderness at night is like a video game, in a lot of ways. Spot the bug, swat the bug, go on to the next bug. I got two mosquitoes and a couple of blackflies that way. Assorted other bugs of unknown lineage ended up as permanent additions to the fabric of the tent.
"I guess I should remember to zip the screen all the way up," I observed, with a lighthearted tone in my voice. "Always something to learn on every trip!" Silence. "Or relearn," I amended before she could.
"Hubby...." she began, slowly.
I'm not that dumb. "Slither up, " I said. She did, and I extracted a daddy-longlegs, and chucked it outside. "Hey, look at this fellow," I exclaimed, scooping up a spider of really unusual color. "Bet you're glad to get rid of him!" You always pretend bad bugs are males. Take my advice, it'll save your life in a tent someday.
That had to do it, I figured. Great white male hunter saves female from vicious wildlife. I snapped off the flashlight.
"And pleasant dreams," I added.