This is I

2 09 2010

I don't remember this picture. I may be asleep.

Camp was interesting.  I went there every year and met new people and did new things.  One interesting thing about the camp I went to every year was that none of the people at that camp (Except for my family and a couple of miscellaneous adults) knew anything about me other than what they learned about me while I was at camp.  This was interesting.  It was kind of like the first few weeks of dating someone, when you’re pretty sure they’re amazing, but you’re wary of spending more time with them the longer it goes because you suspect they can’t be that awesome (hint: they’re not.  At least, I’m not).

So, I kept going back to this camp for something like seven years.  I eventually roomed with one of the people I met there.  I visited a couple of other people from camp in 2005 on what was then my longest drive I’d ever taken.  I may have left some of my clothes at their house, and never got them back.  I believe my Bear Naked shirt was one of those items, and I got that shirt at camp along with Ian, another guy from camp.  Meaning that I bought the shirt and he bought one as well.  Not that I bought Ian at camp.  Although I did beat him at fake poker a couple times.

I went back to that camp last year as a counselor.  It was fantastic.  I had to check myself a couple of times when I started weirding out these 7th graders as I started telling them how much fun they were going to have at camp.  Some of them sort of believed me, but most of them just didn’t understand what I was trying to communicate.  I think they suspected me of something in the way kids suspect lifeguards of sinister motives when they tell them not to run by the pool.  Incidentally, I never liked the lifeguards at camp.  They were hired goons.  Water goons.

It’s hard to realize that I won’t have a place like camp again.  Not exactly like it, at least.  I’ll have other places, though.  And I’ll have camp, even if it turns into something different.  As I see my camp friends grow up and get married (sometimes to each other) or begin to wander from their faith or grow stronger in it, I wonder how present that eventual mentality was in all of us back then.  Was I already the psuedo-cynical writer destined to not be able to support himself through writing about being cynical and wearing…suede…shoes?  I don’t think so.  I think college (or the equivalent time period in most people’s lives of ideas becoming solidified and ideals beginning to supplant fantasies) probably did a lot of that.  I think that means camp can only do so much for you.  I thankfully stopped fairly early on trying to squeeze more dream realization out of camp — I made some good friends, and I made some embarrassing mistakes (You done goofed!), but at least I was never “that guy who…” at camp.  My reputation is something I value pretty highly, even if I’m sometimes too lazy to maintain it as well as I should.  I’m grateful I can still look people from camp in the eye (except for that stupid pointy unicorn), and I’m especially grateful for any opportunity to hand down such a great series of experiences and dreams (realized and ongoing alike) to some kids.  Whenever I start to get annoyed about having to think up new games for the kids on Thursday night…that’s what I’ll have to tell myself.

And seriously, I don’t remember EVER letting Joe take a picture with me.