Tuesday, February 20, 2018


One time when I was sixteen, I got pulled along on a family vacation, going camping in North Carolina.

I really didn't want to go.

I didn't really have a problem with spending time with my family; that's actually something I enjoyed doing sometimes, despite being at the age where you're supposed to be sick of your parents. But I was not, in general, a big fan of camping or outdoorsy stuff, and on top of that, I'd JUST gotten interested in a new television show that my friends were really into and I wanted to stay home and watch it.

That "I wanted to stay home and watch TV" thing sounds kind of silly, I'm sure. But think of it like this: You've picked up a book that's been recommended to you by someone whose taste you trust, and not only is it good; it's so much BETTER than you expected, and you want to devour it all. But then someone says "You have to put the book down, and also we're going to go to a place where you can't read at all."

I mean. It's not exactly torture. But when you're in the middle of something fictional and you're enjoying it, ESPECIALLY if you're a creative person yourself who thrives on stories, you can get pretty frustrated with this kind of situation.

I remember writing about it in a journal, being pretty annoyed in general, and really looking forward to going home. I remember not liking the inconvenience of sleeping in a tent, not particularly enjoying the location, being annoyed at some of the family interactions, and especially being irritated that everyone else was excited about seeing animals except me.

If you had asked me at the time, I'm sure I would have said I was having a terrible time and wished I hadn't come.

What's weird is that there are so many memories from that short vacation that I attach positive feelings to.

I remember climbing a clay hill with my sister and my friend. I remember taking a walk and picking out a walking stick. I remember a really cool old broken-down barn full of interesting artifacts that seemed like they were out of another century. I remember my sister drinking from a cup of wine and trying to burp long words. I remember writing insulting poetry with my sister and my friend in a tent at night. I remember running into a big group of international campers and my mom playing a prank on them. I remember some girl who was the daughter of the people who ran the campsite inviting me over to her house to see her room. I remember watching my friend ride a horse. I remember spending some time in the woods and writing a couple poems about tranquility.

It's weird how I sort of remember it as a great time despite what my teenage self thought of it.

Do we do that because we don't realize we're having a good time in the moment, or do we do that because we're idealizing the past?

Maybe it's a little of both.

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