Saturday, August 13, 2005


My senior year in college I bought a brand new car. It was nothing too extravagant, a gray four-door Kia Spectra. But it had never been owned by anyone else, and I bought it all by myself. The whole time I was at the dealership, signing papers and whatnot, I kept thinking, "I can't believe they are actually letting me do this. How can I be old enough to buy a car?" Even now, I am sometimes surprised, though it is very clear that I do not own the car, but River Region Credit Union in Jefferson City, Missouri owns the car. And I have believed, from the point when I was driving the car off the lot until about five days ago, that buying my first car would only be topped by buying my first house. Little did I know that something better, and far less expensive would come along.

Every day after work this week, I raced home (I use the word "raced" loosely, considering it's about an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Van Wyck, and that's on a good day) to see if my package had arrived. And finally, this morning, it came: my Columbia Lost Lake 7' x 5' Backpacking Dome Tent with Vestibule. Sleeps two and weighs in at 6.52 pounds. Of course, I had to put it up immediately, and having no front or back yard to speak of, I put it up inside my bedroom. You might be surprised by how nicely it fits in between my bed and the bathroom door!

I have always loved camping, but I have never owned a tent. After I ordered it, I was talking to my roommate about it. "You know what this means, Sam," she said. "We can go camping whenever we want now." Here I am, a girl in her twenties, who has lived away from home for six years, lived on my own in three different states, made it through my first year of teaching in the New York City public school system, am a third of the way through my masters program; and owning a small structure made of nylon and aluminum has given me a new sense of freedom. It was summed up completely in my roommate's words: I can go camping whenever I want. Just escape, to wherever. Whenever I want!

So, tomorrow I am heading down to North Carolina for two weeks of visiting old friends and camping out. I don't have to borrow any gear, rent any equipment, or worry about knowing what the hell I'm doing. I'm halfway packed now, and ready to hit the road. In my very own car, of course...

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