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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Musings – On the Transformational Properties of Camping

The Before:

It is dangerous to ponder the transformational effects of camping in Europe in the middle of August:  With temperatures above 30/90 and neighbors so close that, if you both just leaned a little out your front door you could shake hands, the danger is that it might become a gripe-fest.  But I have found living this way has made me more tolerant, the best indication of this metamorphous can be found in how many times a day I say, “Really, who cares?”

Watching the European men walk to the bathroom in less than what we would call underwear, I now simply say, “Really, who cares?” 

Wondering if I should change out of my sleeping shorts before heading there myself, I also say, “Really, who cares?”

There is no doubt that living like this has changed my opinion of where the lines of  social etiquette should be drawn:  At first I am aggravated at having to listen to some Italian musical blaring out of my neighbor’s van—until I can no longer hear their bodily functions at which point aggravation quickly turns to appreciation.  Perhaps there should be a Maslow’s Pyramid of Social Etiquette; the bottom layer, “The need to insulate your neighbors from your bodily functions.”

Last month, I commenced to bleach my hair while in a campground.  I considered how ridiculous I would look walking to the showers with a bag on my head but that didn’t stop me.  On the way over, I pictured a lady lying comfortably on her deathbed saying, “I had a perfect life—except for that time  I saw a woman walk to the shower with a bag on her head.”

I mean, really, who cares?