Monday, September 23, 2013

Babes in the Woods

I went temporarily insane yesterday.
These do not work.!

Nope, not because of the fact that a tube of toothpaste is no longer a simple means to a fresh feeling mouth what with all the flip tops and the clogging and....ah, forget it.

I went insane because the cost of true love is very high. Allow me to explain...

I don't know where I went wrong raising my son, Charlie. He has become a nature enthusiast. He loves to go camping---all alone. 

Good morning, Charlie.
Despite years of trying to explain that camp sites, the woods, hillsides and picturesque spots with waterfalls all look pretty in the sunshine, but at night become sinister havens for meth cooks who will kill him after he's stumbled upon their labs, bears who wish to maim then eat him, psychos who want to torture and dismember him for fun, insects who want to paralyze him with their venom, sasquatches who want to drag him around by the ankles and then marry him and lightening that wants to strike him and erase his memory.
Good afternoon.

Growing up in Brooklyn, if a leaf so much as tickled my cheek, I would roll into a ball and spin away. 

Grass harbored bugs and spit, dog poop and broken glass. Pavement was all I trusted. You want nature, watch "Born Free." I tried to make my kids understand this.

But off Charlie went the other day...but not before warning me that he was going to shut his phone off and that I'd hear from him in two days. WHAT?

Oh, no. Please, no.
"Mommy, I got here safely
but I'm lonely already."

Even Henry David Thoreau texted his mommy when he reached Walden Pond. Who did Charlie think he was? 

He was steadfast. My wails did not move him. He wanted to escape the madding crowd, feel the breeze, sleep under the stars, investigate for himself whether female sasquatches are -- as reported by National Geographic (or, was that the National Enquirer?) --  really anatomically similar to human girls. 

He wanted freedom.

Tom reassured me that he would be "just fine." Seth helpfully added, "He's a full grown man, for God's sake!"

Full grown man??? Are they out of their minds?  He just popped out of the womb........24 years ago.
If they're not real, who is this?

I was okay for half the day. But on the way to Trader Joes (I know, it was a Saturday...what was I thinking?), fear got the better of me. I really got scared. No joke. I had texted him earlier despite knowing he'd pulled the cone of silence over himself  but now I texted again....explaining that my maternal fear superceded his need for solitude. I was a mess.
No calories if taken for
medicinal purposes.

A few hours and a bag of trader Joe's peanut butter covered pretzel nuggets later, Charlie replied with three words: I am alive.

I was immensely relieved but also fully understood that the psycho who had slashed through his tent to eat his eyeballs could have written this response to delay the search parties.

Despite this, I felt much calmer and relaxed even more when Mr. I Want to Be Alone sent an email with a picture of himself, in one piece and smiling. He will not understand, until he is a parent, how much that meant to me.

To me, "roughing it" is a hotel room that doesn't provide little bottles of shampoo and lotion. While Charlie did remind me that s'mores can be part of any camping experience, I maintain that s'mores can be enjoyed in a hotel room...until the smoke detector goes off and security kicks down the door, that is...but that works for me and it should for him, as well.
My home town in
the 1970's.

It's all relative. I rode the subway alone at night in New York City in the 70's....and there were no cell phones. My mother didn't know if I was alive until my key turned in the door. I cannot imagine how scared she must have been.

As I said before, the cost of love is high. You give them your whole heart and they go camping...or they ride the subway...or do a million other scary things. 

You can smash their kneecaps with a sledgehammer (not my idea---remember Kathy Bates in the movie "Misery?") to keep them in one place or just pray and fret.
Does anyone have a sledgehammer I can borrow?*

The only kind of camping I endorse.

 *Actually, I have my own sledgehammer.

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