She didn’t even make it to the car before her dramatic revelation was blurted out.
“Mum, we had to poo and pee in the bush!”
Indeed. And how did that work for you darling?
I’d just picked madam up from camp. I use the word `camp’ loosely because camp was in the Southern Highlands, comprising one night in a lodge, and the second night “in the bush”. She and her Year 8 mates were hardly roughing it out yonder in the boonies huddling in a cave. However, having in the past witnessed she and some of her friends carry on like pork chops at the mere suggestion of peeing beside the road instead of detouring off to the nearest servo, I wasn’t surprised my teen considered her 60 hour `camp’ to be in the same league as a two-week trek around an Everest base camp.
Particularly when, heaven forbid, they weren’t allowed to take their mobiles.
For some it was like the end of the natural world as they knew it. There was panic at being cut off from friends, although that flew in the face of absurdity considering they were camping away with most of them. I think it was the withdrawal from sharing their every thought instantly with their hundreds of besties on Skype and Facebook which caused the greatest concern. What if they missed out on something? One savvy teacher assured them their phone screens would freeze if they took them. But this only resulted in a flurry of activity on Google to see if it was true. Of course it wasn’t, but I had to admire his crack at trying to fool them. It would have worked a decade ago.
Thinking back to my backpacking days around some far flung, flea-bitten joints where the only communication was ringing reverse charges from some desolate post office in the nearest town hundreds of miles away, I wonder how I ever survived. I wonder how the hell my parents survived too without hearing from me every day. They were lucky to get a letter every three weeks.
And yet here’s my teen who has perfected the art of texting, often, to the point where I’m never left wondering about her whereabouts. Having just signed her to a plan with unlimited texts, she obviously feels compelled to make the most of it and develop her skills to Olympic standards. The other day she took her texting to new heights when after confirming that Grandpa was meeting her at iceskating after school, she texted through her order for afternoon tea. I don’t know which horrified me more, the order, or the fact that Grandpa met her at the train station armed with tuna sushi and a peach iced tea.
Meanwhile, back at the camp site, the teen, whose idea of a walk is to the corner shop and back, was required to carry the tent into the bush.
“Two kilometres, mum!”
Which wasn’t as bad apparently as Meagan’s job. She had to carry the poo shovel. This was when my ears did prick up. Poo? Shovel? Were they really shovelling s**t?
“We had to dig a trench to poo in,” she explained.
Aaaaah. One can only imagine how that worked for a young lady accustomed to afternoon tea deliveries at the railway station. But at least it explained the frantic dash for the loo when the car pulled up at home.