(Day 1 at Camp Lenox) It’s the first day of summer camp and I’m already wondering, if I meant to go to camp this summer or somewhere more relaxing, like the peace corps. “Ease her in slowly,” they said. “Maybe, just have her spend a couple hours the first day,” they suggested. “What, she’s coming from Florida? We do need one more chaperone on that flight … let’s give her that job and if she doesn’t survive, we’ll know she never would’ve made it through a summer at camp anyway, and if she does survive, we’ll make her a t-shirt.”
That’s how I imagine the conversation went when the administration decided this would be a good introduction to my summer gig… because nothing tests your sanity and patience and wherewithal like chaperoning 43 kids on a 3 hour flight when you have a fear of flying (that was just icing).
Normally, I’d take a Xanax and be all loopy and Kumbaya by take-off, but my anxiety driven inner monologue involved me reminding myself that I’d need to remain alert in case I was asked to do something important like, land the plane … or help someone login to Wifi…
We began by wrangling the kids to the TSA check-in and asked that the parents say their ‘goodbyes’ from the top of the escalator. Some parents walked off happily, knowing their kids have a great summer ahead of them (evolved bastards). My husband being the biggest bastard, ahem, most evolved, was the first to go. He hurried out of there as if he had a plane to catch (PS – that analogy works better when you’re not in an airport). I’m pretty sure he was rushing home to get a jump-start on his daily workouts, as he promised he’d use his five weeks wisely.
Many parents who were not my husband, shushed and ignored me as they couldn’t resist trickling down into the “off-limits” TSA area. They snaked around the line from the outside as their kids rounded the lanes, and stopped only when they ran into unyielding TSA agents. With bloodshot eyes and their faces pancaked to the edges of the walls, they waved relentlessly as their kids passed through the metal detectors, but their kids didn’t look back (maybe one would turn as a desperate parent called their name for a sendoff, maybe not). I’d say those parents are insane, but I was one of them not that long ago. In fact, I would’ve probably chased the plane down the runway in some 40’s era ‘off to war’ love story, if I weren’t lucky enough to go along for the ride (never let it be said that I do anything half-assed).
The Southwest general seating passengers were surprisingly kind. They evacuated their cushy aisle seats from the mid-rear of the plane and opted for center seats available near crying babies towards the front. I mean, how lovely? They also offered me their free drink tickets and the attendants even offered me a free mini bottle of vodka, which if you think about it is probably the worst thing to offer a woman who has 43 kids. (On a side note, I’m fairly certain Michelle Duggar hasn’t bought herself a drink in 3 decades.)
That said, we made it, and I only had to threaten to “Turn this plane around” once (oh, don’t test me, I’ll do it). I haven’t gotten my “I chaperoned 43 kids and survived” t-shirt yet… I did, however, meet my “Cabin Mates,” who I’m pretty sure don’t like me (more on that tomorrow) and as it turns out, a 135lb duffel, a 56lb suitcase and 2 carry on bags, may be more than any one (or 5) people need at camp. I’m beginning to question whether I’m too high maintenance for this adventure.
Jenny From the
Blog Bunk at Camp Lenox
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