You Do You

Why I Never Went Camping with My Husband Again

By: Rhea Telson
3rd Place Dribble Scribbles Winner of Personal Essay

Rhea Telson retired this year after 36 years in the Wine & Spirits industry, most recently as Vice President of Sales. At 65, she is still consulting on a part time basis. Married to her best friend for 33 years, she has 3 daughters, 2 granddaughters and 3 rescue poodles. She is an avid cook and in the process of compiling a book of family recipes handed down from several generations. 


When my husband and I tied the knot about 34 years ago, he decided to take me camping. Being a good sport and trying to please my new spouse, I agreed.  It was a fairly cold October evening when we went to Big Bear Mountain. 

At some point in the middle of the night, I woke up with a full bladder.  It was dark and I could not see, but after reaching all around the floor of the tent, I found the flashlight.  With a bit of struggle in this small dark tent I managed to get my jeans on under the sleeping bag as “fairly cold” had turned into freezing cold in the mountains.  Then I start to search for the tennis shoes.  I could hear my husband start to laugh under his breath. 

Once outside, this was the scene for the next few minutes:  me trying to pull my pants down, while holding up the cuffs up and squatting with the flashlight.  Something pokes me in the rear, I assume a stick or plant and I scream.  (Husband laughing quietly now, but I can hear him).  I continue to move around with pants down, cuffs up, squatting and looking for a safe place.  After much shuffling around, I finally find it safe to pee.  Unfortunately for me, I now have one foot uphill and one foot downhill slightly and of course the pee was streaming down to my foot.  I am now cussing.  (Husband laughing quite loudly now in the tent).  Do I stand up, move so that I am not peeing downhill, let go of my cuffs, my pants or my flashlight?  What was that, that just hopped by?  I am sure it is a bear, a snake, or a coyote.

I cannot get back to the tent fast enough.  Shoes wet, pants wet, rear bruised and humiliated.  I silently get into the tent, remove jeans and shoes and move into the sleeping bag.  (Husband is trying not to laugh, but I can feel him shaking trying to hold the laughter in).  Then he says, “you know I think I have to pee too”.  I am thinking….good, let him go through all that and I will laugh and see how he likes it!

This was the scene for the next few minutes:  husband gets out of sleeping bag, unzips the tent, never gets out of the tent, pees standing up and his stream hits the bushes outside, zips up the tent, gets back in sleeping bag. 

We are still married after 34 years. We haven’t been camping since.

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