Laughing at Myself

Ya know how you say something, and think to yourself that you shouldn’t have said it, because it will probably come back to haunt you? Read the last few lines of THIS post.

I knew as I wrote that, I was setting myself up … for a chance to REALLY laugh at myself.
I knew it was coming, and knew I’d remember clicking those words onto a keyboard.

The time came much more quickly than I had expected … before sundown, to be exact.

My tent, van, bike & boatThis is my set up at the state park.  I have to tell you that I was a tiny bit nervous about camping alone, but the state park was fully booked.  It wasn’t like I’d be ALONE in the woods for the weekend. My only real apprehension was connected with biking or hiking alone on the trails … me with my excellent sense of direction and all!! Here at the campground, I felt comfortable.

I took the seats out of the rear of my sweet van. James flipped the boat upside down so it would fit into the van allowing the rear door to shut.  We laid the seat back and the boat opening nestled nicely over the reclined front passenger seat.  Then I threw in the bike, tent, cooler & suitcase.  I had plenty of spare space.  It was REALLY nice for traveling.

At the campground, I set up the tent, put all my “stuff” into the tent (cooler, suitcase, food) and set up my inflatable mattress in the back of the van. It was great because I could climb in the van and sleep safe from critters and “bad guys,” out of the dew fall and off the ground.  I slept really, really well. In a way, I made my van into an impromptu teardrop camper.  Here’s a great slideshow of them, if you’d like to check them out.  They’re SO neat!!


The only negative to my weekend was that I was camping right beside a huge group of friends (ten or twelve, maybe?) that literally spent their entire weekend sitting around the campfire.   I hiked and biked and went sightseeing … and they sat and watched flames in a ring. The negative wasn’t that they were sitting, but that any time spent at the campsite put me within ten feet of radio play of all day college football and then guy stories about air conditioning units, dogs and taters that explode when you put them on the fire. Each guy appeared to have a female companion, but the girls spent most of their time inside the camper.

So, when did I find myself reflecting back on my own words?
When I set up my tent.

I got to the campground mid-afternoon, so I did a little photographing as the sun sifted through the trees.  I got to the campsite with an hour to go before total darkness.  We have set up camp in the dark many times, but with a larger tent that I know a little better.  I didn’t want to wrestle with poles and bugs in the darkness.

Things went well.  Upon arrival, I slid my boat out of the van, backed out the bike and began pulling out the other bags.  I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t a little self-conscious as I set up.  Beside me was a raucous group of great friends fellowshipping and laughing around a cozy fire with MORE than one dog … and there I was … looking like a pitiful, old woman who didn’t have any friends OR EVEN A DOG!!! …. so she camped alone.

I pulled out my tent bag, pulled out my hammer, stakes, rainfly and tent.  I surveyed he ground for the most even spot. I rolled out the tent and positioned it so the door opened in the direction I preferred. I emptied the stakes bag and began put the poles into place. Talking and laughter continued at the fire ring at the site beside me. I knew they were watching me. As I walked back and forth across the tent ….
my feet got tangled up in the tent walls and window netting
and I fell to my fanny.
*crickets chirp*
There was an awkward silencing at the fire ring
and then they tried to recover without being noticeable.
I had been at the site
all by myself,
for less than forty-five minutes
and I had already taken a Three Stooges fall.
My words rang in my head:
“If we can’t laugh at ourselves,
life is a whole lot less fun.”
I WANTED to laugh.
I WANTED to throw my head back
and lie flat on my back and laugh out loud. I wanted to yell,
“Thank you, Lord. I love you!!! Talk to me, Lord!! Talk to me!!” (and actually, when I use the “Talk to me, Lord” phrase, I usually use the word “Lawd” instead)  I wanted to roar externally, because I was howling  with laughter inside. But, I DIDN’T want to look even more crazy!  (thoughts from the around the ring: “Oh!  Now I SEE why she’s camping alone.  She’s NUTS!!!”)

So, I recovered and kept going.  I got the tent set up without any more calamity/comic relief.

I grabbed a bite of dinner, did a little reading and climbed into the van.  By 8:45, the fire was still roaring next door, but I was sound asleep.

By the end of the weekend, I had spoken to many of the folk at the site five. Their darling, Max, made me miss my Dulcie.

I thought a lot about what it looks like and feels like to be alone … me camping by myself, next to a traveling, camping party.  I thought about perception through the eyes of others. I thought about the difference between being alone and being vulnerable, because the two  are not the same. I thought about the wisdom of caution vs. the protection of God.

I had an absolutely wonderful weekend. I spent three days taking photographs, hiking, biking, talking to God and working on a school project. I had the chance to meet strangers, and fellowship with myself. I talked to God on the trails as I hiked. I laughed internally as I set up camp. And I sang with the radio in the van.

I am definitely going to camp alone again. Maybe next time, I’ll be able to set up camp
without including an impromptu Three Stooges stunt.

So, here’s my question for you:
When is the last time you did something embarrassingly funny
and were you able to laugh at yourself
or was it just TOO awkward at the time?

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