What a load of horseshit.
The Great Camping Migration of 1981. Sadly, the RV we're standing in front of like a bunch of orphans wasn't ours. But all that crap behind us was.
From the time I was very young, my parents would take my older Brother Jerkface and I camping. Sure, we did other stuff but it was mostly camping. My parents said it was because they were tight on money and couldn't take us to Disney World but I have my suspicions that they didn't want my sibling and I around the more civilized youngsters, opting instead to let us run amok in the woods, because the deer wouldn't care if we beat the crap out of each other or told fart jokes or something. Part of me also wonders if they weren't trying to pull a Hansel and Gretel on us and leave our wild asses in the woods.
Regardless, like good parents, they would load up the car, squish their two young children into the backseat and take off into the wilderness, usually leaving something important behind, like a hammer. Or the tent. Honestly? While I do remember all those camping trips as being fun and exciting, I also recall them being absolute shitshows, where everything would go wrong -- whether it was forgetting incredibly necessary items, or the car breaking down, or swarms of stinging insects -- the shit just always hit the fan. Hard.
More or less how I remember camping as a kid. I think it rained every single time we went out.
The second we pulled out of our neighborhood, my brother and I would become these little evil Tasmanian Devil-esque terrorists in the backseat. I think it's some kind of evolutionary defense. You suddenly realize you're going to be stuck back there FOREVER and your little-kid brain just completely fizzes out and you lose it. Or Brother J. and I are just assholes. Don't forget - when I was growing up, there were no video screens/entertainment centers or iPods or... really much of anything in the car. You had an FM/AM radio and, if you were really lucky (we weren't) a walkman. We were left to entertain ourselves, which mainly involved pinching the shit out of each of other.
Fuck "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." I recall hours of "she/he's touching me!!!" or "STOP STARING AT ME, MOOOOOOOM, HE'S STARING AT ME!!!" or any other variation of the complete obnoxious asshattery that only occurs when you strap two children into the backseat of the car for hours upon hours. This would go on until my father would finally pull over the car and scream incoherently at us, his face purple.
Once in awhile Mommy (not a)Jerkface would try a new tactic to stop us from killing each other or giving Daddy (not a)Jerkface a rage-induced coronary. For awhile they used to pile all the gear between my brother and I, like a Berlin Wall made of sleeping bags and coolers full of potato salad. We would tear down this wall before we hit the next state and the vicious cycle of endless taunting, goading and fighting would begin all over again.
I'm the smaller boy who looks like I'm about to have a demonic seizure. Also, my next post is going to be about how my mother dressed me like a boy when I was a kid and is surprised that I'm not exactly lady-like now.
One year, M(na)J gave each of us a roll of quarters and told us that each time we were shitheads (well, she didn't use that word) she would take a quarter away. We were only in Pennsylvania when Brother Jerkface balled that roll of quarters in his fist, punched me in the arm as hard as he could and calmly handed over the whole roll to our mother.
I think we were fourteen and eleven at the time.
The only saving grace for my parents was my motion-induced narcolepsy, which would render me completely unconscious for hours on end, or until my brother would become bored of staring out the windows and decide to torture me again.
If I had a superpower, this would be it. Millions of people have NOT been viciously murdered because I can fall asleep while riding public transportation. You're welcome.
Eventually, the family vacations stopped when we became teenagers and started getting busy with our own lives. Secretly, I think everyone was a little relieved.
About ten years went by without us taking a vacation together -- both my brother and I had moved out and gone to college by that point -- when my parents suddenly decided they wanted to take one last vacation together. So we went to Florida. I was twenty-five and my brother was twenty-eight.
I'll spare you the major details, but I will say my folks wised up and made Brother Jerkface and I drive and fly separately from them. Which was probably a good thing because we got into a fight at the airport on the way home and Brother Jerkface snatched my boarding pass and ID right out of my hands and threatened to leave me in Florida. Apparently I can be really annoying. Who knew?
Oh? It bothers you when I do this? Well, if that's the case, I'll just keep doing it over and over and over again...
In the end, we all had a grand time and I'm pretty sure when we all got to our homes, we dumped our bags on the ground and thought, "That was... nice. Thank fucking god I don't ever have to do that again."
Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike my family. I love them very much and we get along famously (well, mostly). There is just something about the 24/7 forced interaction between family members on a vacation that can turn anyone into an axe-wielding killer. It's really nothing personal. In some ways, I think that's the charm of vacationing with your family: it proves that you love them because you haven't smothered them in their sleep.
To be honest, I haven't really given much thought to the whole "family vacation" thing in awhile. I don't even really vacation with ML (since he's always on traveling with the band), much less my family. Instead, I vacation with all of you. WIN!!!
But that's about to change. A couple of days ago, M(na)J called me up and mentioned that the family (my parents, Brother Jerkface and his wife, The Good Jen) are planning to go up to visit my grandmother and other various people I'm related to in Michigan.
Five days. Four nights. Family. Michigan. Oh-holy-fucking-shit-on-a-shingle.
That was pretty much the only thing I could process, until M(na)J also stated that she thought it was a good idea if we rented a van and all drove together.
Then my head fucking exploded and I think I did that nervous, incredulous laugh thingy--the one I do when I'm either really drunk or feel threatened in some way [or both] -and told her I wasn't sure I would be able to make it.
One way or another I may end up in a van like this...
But I will. Even if it means spending twelve goddamned hours in a car with ML, my parents and the Good Couple, I know I'm going to do it. It's not going to be pretty and M(na)J still hasn't responded to my email where I asked if her if it was cool if I bring a flask in the van but... I'll do it.
Because they are family, after all.