Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Have No Ruach

Ah, summer. 

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. The blistering, skin-damaging sun; the potentially disease-ridden mosquitoes; the tedious sweating. Ick, sweating. 

In my innocent youth, I didn't quite realize my stance on summer. Additionally, day camp was rather exhausting; they always expected you to cheer. The same songs. Every single frickin' day. 

"B'nos! Do your ears hang low/Do they wobble to and fro . . ."

"Didn't we just chant this? Like two minutes ago?" 

Then: Sleepaway. I was shipped off when I reached the required age, and my antithesis to summer reached it's crescendo. When I returned, I was adamant: Never again. 
I love my parents because they let me remain home every summer following. 

My aversion, however, had to be kept on the down-low. It's not socially acceptable to be anti-camp. It may almost be considered tantamount to harboring sociopathic tendencies. I like (tolerate) people well enough, when there is competent air-conditioning humming and I can get a proper night's sleep. Which one cannot in "sleepaway" camp. Try getting tweens to go to bed at a godly hour. I'm an early bird, but I was still unpleasantly rattled into consciousness every morning by an obscenely cheerful head counselor squawking on the sound system. 

Then, after years of nurturing an insecurity complex (I exaggerate) the Sunday Styles redeems me! "Not a Happy Camper," by Pamela Paul. 
Each of my camps had one thing in common. I didn’t like them and they didn’t especially like me. Camp girls form their own special strata of the tween hierarchy. Girls who liked camp could do cat’s cradle without cutting off their blood circulation. They didn’t mind drinking from metal containers and were not especially attractive to mosquitoes. They knew how to hit balls with bats.
Yeah, there's that ruach girl. Always clambers onto benches, belting out the repetitively mind-numbing lyrics, over and over and over. Happily. "We've got ruach!/Yes we do!/We've got ruach!/How about you?" 

Leave. Me. Alone.

Keep in mind I was a wanna-be tomboy, and I still couldn't summon any enthusiasm for camp. 
Camp was for joiners; I was a loner. Camp was for participants; I was an observer. Camp was for extroverts; Susan Cain practically based her book on me.  
My experiences at sleep-away camp only solidified earlier, unpleasant encounters with day camp. I didn’t want to sing “Kumbaya,” and I didn’t want to sing the “Cat’s in the Cradle” and I sure as hell did not want to sing “Leaving on a Jet Plane” for the 47th time. (I still can’t get it out of my head.)
Oh yeah, I'm an introvert. An introvert that is cool with singing a song, once.  


Altie said...

Lol. Great post. I identify, except I got to a point where I say, ya I don't like people, and that's just how it is. I was miserable in sleep away camp and would skip activities and hang out in the (air conditioned) office. They put me to work and made me wrap presents for the counselors.

Daniel Saunders said...

I've always been glad that camp isn't such a big thing in the UK. I went on cub camp a few times, but didn't enjoy it much.

The weather here is generally cooler too (OK, wet and a bit cold the last few days) and we don't have mosquitoes either. Thanks for making me count my blessings!

Princess Lea said...

Altie: Who am I kidding; I don't like people. Why do I pretend?

If only I had that option to hide in the office. Despite the fact we were on a fenced-in compound, they didn't let us go anywhere without the rest of the bunk. Blah.

DS: And summer vacation is only one month there, and you guys do going on "holiday" more. We Americans suck at vacation.