Camping and Paruresis

Last Spring (the weekend after Memorial Day), I went Camping with 4 of my good friends.

We brought 2 huge tents (10′ x 14′) and set up camp with 2 adjoining lots.

I thought they would be packed, busy, busy, busy… (which made me anxious weeks before) Boy was I wrong!

After a long drive, 5 hours up North (we usually head South where it’s warmer), we get there and it was almost empty. The camp grounds were pretty much deserted. I would say about only 10 other lots were full, and those were spread apart nicely.

Take a peek…

Camping and Paruresis

This was GREAT! There would be plenty of quiet time, good food, and COLD WEATHER!

Yep! It was still cold up North! It was cold and rainy (no wonder why it’s dead). In fact, it rained every single day of the entire vacation. NOT COOL!

Well, err…

It WAS cool! ;)

Chilly at night, especially in the rain with a leaky roof. Drip, drip, drip… And, there were plenty of big black flies that wanted to land on you and bite you. You couldn’t even shake them off. You had to flick them off. Grrrr…. They were relentless! (bug spray didn’t help)

Usually I camp in the Summertime, when it’s hot. Who would have known? You can’t plan the weather.

When we get to the lot and set up tent (in the pouring rain), I notice something really cool. Directly behind our tent was a dirt trail. And 5 feet up the trail… A single user bathroom!!!

It was one of those porta-potty things made out of wood.

No matter, I was excited. I could pee in private! :)

I wouldn’t have to use the public bathrooms with open stalls, gross floors and a million bugs… I WAS WRONG! (again)

The first time I went up the trail and pulled on the door… I see it’s locked. Pad locked!

Really? Why don’t they have the bathroom open? How dumb! My heart sank. I could feel my Paruresis crushing me.

I’d have to go up to the office and inquire.

So instead of peeing in peace, I had to walk down the cement road to the center of the park and use the regular restroom. That I hated!

All the while I passed the other sites and campers and cookouts. Everyone was looking at me, watching me, gawking at me, giving me the evil eye!

GREAT! Just what I needed!

They all know I’m going to void. I was so nervous about peeing in that john. I walk in, it’s very brightly lit, it has an odd water smell to it, the floors are muddy, the stall doors are rusty and won’t latch well, the toilets are wet, and I can hear mosquitoes buzzing all around my ears. It made going very difficult. Especially since there is no door to the restroom. Anyone could walk right in and startle me.

After an agonizing 4 minutes (seems like a lifetime), I finally went. I was able to pee cautiously the entire time and not have one person come in (how many times would that happen?).

The long walk back didn’t help my anxiety either. I tried not to look at anyone as I walked. I could feel their eyes on me. It made me dread that walk again. I’m on display!

I could see a couple more campers pulling in. More and more people were camping… My anxiety rises.

Later on, I went up to the office and asked the ranger about the bathroom being locked. They said it was locked “Out-Of-Season“. Out-Of-Season? I thought from Memorial Day to Labor Day that was IN Season???

Nope!

I’m SOL!

No amount of begging helped. It was a firm and positive “NO!!

Damn! The bathroom is 5 feet away from our tents and I can’t use it. That’s mean and cruel. What harm would it do? My heart raced. I felt fear and panic settling in. If they only knew. This is going to be a long, long week!

So it was either I walk the walk to the brightly lit bathroom (with everyone watching), OR, I pee in the woods, like all my other friends did.

I’m sure you can figure out what I did.

I peed in the woods like a dog!

LOL

It was actually quite refreshing to urinate in nature. I kind of enjoyed peeing on trees. I felt like a man.

I didn’t enjoy the fact that I had to hide behind the trees (totally out of sight from my friends, tents, trail and every other living thing on the face of the earth), and that I had to stand there long enough for the stream to start and not let any bugs land on my junk. “GET AWAY FROM THAT!

All in all, I was able to do that the entire week. I peed at camp!

Sometimes it did take minutes to go. Especially when campers would walk by the camp site, or the park rangers were patrolling the lots… But I had no real problems. I peed! That’s all I cared about!

It was harder to pee at night when you couldn’t see twigs in your face or a dip in the trail (flashlights can only see so much). Plus, it was quiet other than the loud ass crickets, but you could still hear me peeing. I’m sure my friends could. I could hear them! (granted they didn’t have to walk as far as I did… some just stood at the edge of the woods).

Other than that, the only time I ventured across the park to the public bathrooms were to use the shower (don’t look at the huge bugs living in the drain).

One great thing I did find out the next morning… On the other side of the trees, next to the dunes and the beach… There was a little concession stand that sold food, drinks, and had 2 private, and fairly large, single person bathrooms with locks on the doors!

I felt like I hit the lotto!

Those were perfect for me. There was no one else there. It was only a 5 minute hike. And I was able to go #2 in private! I loved it! :)

I really do love to camp. Love everything about it. I love sleeping under the stars, roasting marshmallows, the crackle of the bonfire… It’s all good!

Of course, a nice Summer day would have made things ten times better, but that would have also filled the park and made it difficult to pee with that many people everywhere!

This time, I could pee!

What more could I ask for?

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