Scene 1 – Camp Utopia
Desiring to access more remote areas of the western slope, Camp Buddy and I sell our camp trailer and get geared up for car camping. Camping without the trailer will allow us to take rugged jeep roads and explore less traveled areas. We enjoyed our trailer, but we often felt that it was a barrier to fully experiencing the outdoors. Focused on our new concept of Camp Utopia, we take some of the trailer sale proceeds and excitedly head to the local outdoor recreational merchandiser. We haven’t car-camped in years and the camp merchandise looks to have been greatly upgraded – you can camp these days in uber comfort and style – cushioned chairs with beverage holders, dreamy cots, thick and cushiony sleeping pads.
Camp Dream Land.
In walks the Sales Associate. We enthusiastically explain to Sales Associate that we’d love to get into car camping again and begin by asking which sleep pad is best. Sales Associate informs that he doesn’t know anything about car-camping as he exclusively backpacks. He gives a cheerless is-there-anything-else-can-I-help-you-with-? expression. Camp Buddy and I exchange that look out of the corner of our eyes – you know the one – Uh, did you feel that? But Camp Buddy forges ahead with various questions, now framing each with, Let me ask another stupid question. Sales Associate provides his best unenthusiastic support regarding mere car-camping merchandise for low-life campers. Camp Buddy and I do our best to interpret the lukewarm advice and somehow even with the un-salesmanship, manage to purchase and walk out the door with various car-camping items.
On the way home, Camp Buddy discusses how he can somehow nominate Sales Associate as Sales Person of the Year (NOT) and I try to get into Sales Associate’s head – to understand his scorn for car campers and his smugness about being a backpacker. After all, I’ve bagged a few fourteeners (okay, only two). But I try to look at the existential picture and contemplate how pride leads to rivalry and an oppositional attitude: division.
My mind begins contemplating the dichotomous key from plant taxonomy class when I was in college. A dichotomous key is used to rule out various characteristics that subjects have in common. The unique identifiers are used to divide each group of specimens into smaller and smaller classifications until finally you arrive at one species. This often requires a microscope. I picture a dichotomous key to identify and make a distinction between car campers and backpackers:
Subject drags all necessary and unnecessary camp items in vehicle for enjoying the great outdoors ………………………………………………………………………………….. Car Camper
Subject wears all necessary camp items on back for enjoying the great outdoors ………………. Backpacker
If we were to work backwards on the dichotomous key, we would find that car camper and backpacker have everything in common until we get to this final, microscopic division that separates us. I am wondering how we allowed this miniscule unique identifier put a separation as big as the Grand Canyon between us.
To be continued
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Enjoyed the beautiful pics! Looks like fun to me!!! What does he know anyway... not much if he only goes backpacking. Always good to find the humor in anything. KA
Very entertaining. Your writing is beginning to sound a bit like Barbara Kingsolver—because of all the science stuff creeping in. And that’s a good thing. Keep the writing coming! DB
Camping is good, whether KOA style or extremist style! When we camp, we attend to the natural environment. this affo9us the opportunity to nurture ourselves and nature. We find environmentalism can be a passionate hobby or career. TD
I really laughed at your description of the non-salesman. Too bad for his life, with such a closed mind. The little prig! Love your pictures, you really have a good eye - and a good camera, obviously. I have to admit, Colorado is a beautiful state. AJ