Speaking of olfactory uppercuts, I was once ticketed for O B camping in Yellowstone.
|Be sure to catch Old Faithful. It’s a disappointment you won’t want to miss. (att.)|
For those of you less hardcore-campers, O B camping means out-of-bounds camping. The truth is, I am so one with nature that I can’t be bound by silly national park rules and regulations like camping in designated campsites or not lighting trees on fire. No, I O B camp. But when I O B camp, I look for only the best places, places of which only true outdoorsmen know, completely isolated from the outside world. A place in which I can truly commune.
|I’m sorry ladies, theres’ only room for 4 of you in this beauty. (att.)|
I went to Yellowstone a few years ago with two of my friends. One of my friends (Shark) had never been, and as an outdoorsy lumberjack type, I knew it was my responsibility to take him. So, One day, after a manly outing of wrestling buffali and not being inhibited by ‘trails,’ my friends (Shark, Kenipples) and I
began looking for a place to lay our weary heads. We headed back to a camp at the Southwest entrance (west is always left, right?). We drove past a few campsites, but they didn’t suit my seasoned palate. Some looked too full, others looked too ugly. So, we soldiered on. We came to what I knew was the final campsite for miles. This place was never full. She was the campsite nobody asked to dance, so I knew we would be fine.
When we arrived, I saw the “campsite full” sign. I had a moment of panic as I realized we had nowhere to sleep. But, ever resourceful, I decided that Shark, Kenipples, and I would hunker down, all 600-unshowered-for-3-days-living-off-of-beans-and-manly-feelings-pounds of us, would band together in a moment of O B solidarity and create a humble domicile from a sky-blue, 1991 Toyota-Tercel. Oh what a feeling.
As we stretched our legs in the more than ample room inside what has been coined (as of right now) the Taj Mahal of 2-door compacts, we turned on our flashlights to play cards for the evening. As we did so, a park ranger drove past slowly, no doubt admiring our plush accommodations, and then continued on, leaving us to our manly game ofhearts poker.
As the evening wore on, we settled into our respective rooms (seats) for a generous night’s sleep, Shark in the back, Kenipples in the front passenger, and I resting delicately in the driver’s seat. Sleep came quickly as I was held lovingly in place by my steering wheel. Occasionally, as I awoke briefly to ponder the solemnity of the moment, take in the beauty of the nature around me, or to punch my steering wheel, I was gently and tenderly reminded of my companions’ presence as Kenipples would pass gas, the smell of which can only be described as violent. Such delicate reminders comforted me, bathing me in the smells of Yellowstone. Only as the night wore on and I began to notice the obscene amount of condensation on our windows did I become concerned that tender asphyxiation may be a very real possibility.
Morning mercifully arrived with an abrupt knocking on my driver-side window. Wiping the smell from my eyes, I could just make out the shape of a large-brimmed hat and green uniform through the droplets of tenderness that lay on my window; undoubtedly a park ranger waking us to greet the day.
|“Good morning Merry Sunshine. The park and all its natural beauties await your exploration. Can I offer you a croisant and fresh-squeezed orange juice to rouse you from your coma-inducing stench?” (att.)|
As I slowly rolled down the window, I noticed the park ranger reel back quickly. No longer leaning down to gingerly welcome in the day, she stood head high, nose pointed slightly outward. In this moment, I suspected things may turn sour for me. She (not the woman in the picture) asked a few questions…well one really, “Did you sleep here last night.” I had to think quickly. Wasn’t it obvious? Maybe I could tell her we got up to see the sunrise, cleaned up camp, went for a sweaty hike, rolled in buffalo dung, swam laps in sulfur-drenched geyser, and then jumped in the car to boil some vinegar. (Seemed unlikely, but not any more unlikely than the fact that the violent smell and condensation was human-based.) Instead, still groggy from my olfactory pummeling the night before, I muttered, “Yes Ma’am.”
She then went on to inform me that what we had done was called O B camping (and I was like…more like B O camping….eh?…..eh?…..roy?….crickets). I feigned curiosity by asking questions about why camping in a car was out of bounds, despite the fact that I had first-hand, near-death knowledge as to why. She explained that she had seen us the night before, but assumed we were looking at our maps with our flashlights (maps…ha!). She wrote me a ticket and I couldn’t help thinking one of the other campsites would have been perfect (and probably less asphyxiation-prone), if I had just made the decision. But I kept thinking there was one perfect campsite out there for me. I didn’t realize there were a number of campsites that could have made me perfectly happy.
There is a horrible idea out there perpetuated by romantic comedies. The idea of a soulmate (or in this case, one perfect campsite that was meant for me). I know this sounds horribly unromantic of me (especially after such a romantic blog), but there is no such thing as a soulmate, at least not as we know it. There isn’t one perfect person out there for us that we are meant to find. Thinking there is such a thing gets people (and relationships) in a lot of trouble. We get into relationships thinking or hoping we have found our soulmate, and that as a result, everything will be smooth sailing, no fighting. The problem is, when the fighting starts we think, “This must not be the right person for me. How could it be so hard if it was. I need to end this and go out and find my soulmate.”
Scott Stanley, a leading researcher in marriage and relationship education, has found that the biggest difference between marriages that stay together and marriages that don’t is commitment (here). Not passion, not soulmatedness (copyright), not lack of fighting. It’s commitment. Couples that make it 40 years with happy marriages do so because they were committed. Despite hard times, despite feeling ‘out of love,’ despite anger, they were committed to their relationship.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying you should stay in your relationship no matter what, even if it means a threat to your physical safety or that of your kids. But the vast majority of couples that end their relationships do so for much simpler reasons (i.e. we just don’t love each other, we fight all the time, we grew apart). You can fall back in love. You can grow back together. Commit to making it work and figuring it out together. Commitment to a life together can make all the difference. It can get better.
It’s either that or a slow death by tender asphyxiation.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go hug my steering wheel.
Rob Porter, Ph.D., LMFT
Couples Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Former Rockstar, Austin TX