We just got back from our fabulous annual camping trip up near Lake Tahoe. I am in love with this trip and my family has enjoyed this tradition for more than 45 years. While it is a family tradition, new friends are always welcome to join us. This year, we had a new person join us… And she brought all kinds of crazy and obnoxious to the campfire.
Most Crazy Obnoxious People don’t know they are crazy and obnoxious, (which often translates to a rude and ungracious guest) so I created this easy multiple choice quiz to help you.
#1 Your friends mention that they are excited about an upcoming camping trip. They casually mention that “you are welcome to join us!” should you:
a) inquire and get more details so you can determine what this camping vacation will be like and if it is a good fit for you.
b) coordinate with your hosts to discuss travel, meals and lodging.
c) immediately and without any discussion, book a non-refundable flight into an airport an hour and a half from the campground, expect that your hosts will give up an entire day of their vacation and spend it shuttling your entitled butt to and fro. (Also, make sure you don’t offer up any money for the $100 worth of gas it will require for the diesel truck.)
#2 When you hear that the group you’ll be camping with are in tents and don’t use generators because there’s no need for them, also because they don’t like to upset the peace and quiet, should you:
a) comply with the request of your hosts and enjoy the experience (When in Rome…)
b) repeatedly explain that you’ve never been asked to not use a generator and explain you need it to charge your phone (even though there isn’t one spot of phone service available in the entire area)
c) grumble often, complaining that people shouldn’t tell you what to do on your vacation.
#3 When meeting your fellow campers, should you:
a) be pleasant, polite and a good listener, (as well as a talker) engaging in the conversation.
b) talk so much that no one can get a word in edgewise.
c) talk so much that no one can get a word in edgewise, claim to be an authority on every topic under the sun, and “one up” everyone else’s experiences, a la Kristin Wiig’s Penelope on Saturday Night Live, to the point that people actually cringe when you start to speak (But you don’t notice because it is all about you.)
#4 At dinner time, should you:
a) thank your hosts and offer to help with dinner preparations and/or clean up.
b) thank your hosts.
c) don’t offer to help with meals, other than to tell your elders that they are not manning the BBQ correctly, describe in detail that your pasta sauce is superior to the one being served, say “dinner was good” then disappear without offering to help clean up.
#5 You bring up the topic of cancer and proceed to blather on about it for an extended period of time. When your host respectfully asks you to change the subject, quietly explaining that his two step-sons recently lost their father to cancer and that it is a sensitive topic, should you:
a) understand completely and talk about a different subject.
b) don’t really understand but will respect his request.
c) argue with him, defending the topic by pointing out someone else who lost a loved one to cancer and that they are ok with the discussion, therefore it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone else.*
#6 When the friend who invited you politely suggests that “the guys” would like to go fishing with “just the guys” (not mentioning that it is because you’ve tagged-along for the 2 previous fishing excursions and your constant yapping has annoyed the boys and scared off the fish) and invites you to do an activity with her, should you:
a) realize that your boyfriend needs “guy time” the same way you need “girl time” and enjoy spending time with the friend who invited you on the trip.
b) have your feelings hurt a little bit, but rally and act like a grown up.
c) turn on the friend who invited you, finger pointing and with chicken-neck attitude, launch into a diatribe about how your vacation is being ruined by all of these rules (see # 2) and people “constantly” telling you what to do (see #5), that you have never been with such a boring group of people and that you. have. had. it., leaving your friend completely flabbergasted by your psychotic, narcissistic over-reaction to a simple suggestion.
#7 After an emotional outburst where you over-reacted to something and had a blow-up with the friend who invited you on the trip (see #6), should you:
a) take a moment to calm down, a few deep breaths, then apologize for your behavior.
b) take a few deep breaths and then try to discuss the situation like a grown up… after all, you are going to have to drive 10 hours in a car with this person the next day in order to get home, being as your flight to get here was one-way.
c) become so unglued that you walk down to a campsite full of strangers and their children, pour out your tale of woe, join them around their campfire, cocktail in hand, and proceed to complain about your friend and her family in such a loud voice that it carries back to their camp (where they sit around their campfire, listening to your crazy and wondering how such a socially retarded person ended up on their camping trip.)
#8 Upon breaking camp and leaving the next morning, should you:
a) walk over and thank the host camp for their hospitality and apologize for your behavior the previous evening.
b) at least wave goodbye from your campsite.
c) climb into the truck and wait for the other passengers to return from saying their goodbyes and thank-yous, pouting and steaming the whole time.
#9 Upon reaching your home, after your friend drove you 500 miles (during which time you helped to pay for 1 tank of gas) and talked incessantly on all sorts of subjects, should you:
a) apologize to the friend who invited you to join her on her traditional family vacation and thank her, even though it got a little weird.
b) thank her for driving you home and at least help to unload your stuff, including the generator you were told not to bring because you wouldn’t need it, but insisted on bringing anyway.
c) get out of the car, yell “gotta pee” over your shoulder while walking to your house and don’t come back out, leaving your friends to unload your stuff. Do not say thank you or apologize for your behavior.
Did you mostly answer a)?
Then you are a charming, polite person… your mama raised you right and you would be most welcome on anyone’s vacation!
You’re not perfect, but hey, who is? No one is looking for perfection, but common sense and a modicum of manners? You’ve got that going for you!
If you answered mostly c)…
You are an ill-tempered, bad mannered blow hard. No one enjoys being around you, even the teenagers on the camping trip pegged you as a know-it-all bore (whose too-thin T-shirts kind of skeeved them out, by the way). Your lack of situational awareness is fascinating and listening to you blather on about all of your areas of expertise (from restaurant management, to real estate, to soy milk, to firefighting, to the military and which boot camps are easy) has been like watching a slow moving train wreck… there’s nothing one can do to stop it, yet one can’t quite look away. Your immature and socially stunted antics will provide years of stories that will start out “…remember that time when that nut-job came camping with us…?”
Be a good guest!
(For those of you who are going to rail me for being too hard on someone… fine. You spend a few days with her and see if you don’t change your tune. Gah.)
*Note to Crazy Girl: When you say we all are born with cancer already in our bodies, if by that you mean that we are all born with cells whose DNA might be damaged or mutated, then not be able to repair itself and then that healthy cell turns into a cancer cell, then yes… we all have cancer already in our bodies.
If you meant we all are born with cancer cells lying dormant until they are exposed to the right carcinogen, you are wrong. Stop talking.
And if you’re saying this stuff in front of two young men who are now very much aware of the horrible medical legacy that their father’s cancer left for them, yet another reason to stop talking.
**Updated to add another note to Crazy Girl: My Hubs was bugged, but wasn’t going say anything about you blabbing on about cancer, until he looked at our sons and saw that they were staring off into space with the light gone from their eyes. Thank you for ripping them out of their vacation and sending them back to the most painful time in their young lives. Well done!