I got back from camping on Monday, and had a great time. We went up as a group of 16, divided into three sites. I resumed my role as the token Chinese guy, since I was the only one on the entire campground. The sites were less than a three minute walk away from each other. Activities consisted of badminton, ultimate frisbee, reading, or just lounging. It was 20 degrees during the day so a lot of the time was spent in the shade. At night it dropped down to about 8 degrees, leaving most people shivering in their sleeping bags or huddled around a campfire.
Some tried to swim, but the water was so cold that they ended up wading. There was a competition every day to see who could stay neck deep in the water the longest, but they all ended in ties when everyone agreed that the idea was silly and that suffering through the icy water was not worth the potential bragging rights.
Most people brought quite a bit of alcohol (Wheaties actually got a 2–8 just for himself), and we were caught twice on the first night for having open alcohol containers off the sites. Fortunately, it was by two different groups of rangers, so we got two warnings, instead of a warning and then a fine with eviction.
Even when relaxing on the campground, with no time limits and no schedules, I discovered that politics had followed me there, to a place where one is supposed to forget the stress and conflicts of daily life. It’s such a pity that life can be so complicated in the midst of such serene simplicity, when the only thing that one should worry about is how much beer one has left or whether a fire will be going in time for dinner.
Something that I’ve long realized is that the politics of life are everywhere, mostly prevalent in uncommunicative or secretive situations. An uncertain attraction, a group of people with mutual dislike for someone, or perhaps even varied appropriateness in varied company are all typical examples I’ve most commonly run across and dealt with.
I always try to remain out of such complex affairs, in order to simplify my life, in order to have clarity. By doing so, I find that things are much less uncertain, and I thus have less to worry about. Of course, life thrusts me into such situations whether I’m willing to participate or not. After all, people will forever be upset by others. I find that I’ve been able to understand and survive these situations with increasing consistency.
It’s quite a different story when I am personally involved.