So how was your summer?
Yesterday, the last vestiges of my camp bubble burst as I returned to my other, non-camp job. Do not get me wrong- I love my non-camp job but reentry into the other than camp world brings with it some slight difficulties. There are always the accepted transitional hiccups like removing your entire forearm’s worth of camp jewelry and remembering how to dress for the outside world again. But the largest of these is the question that comes up about 14 seconds after seeing someone for the first time since you left for camp. After exchanging welcomes and pleasantries, they inevitably ask, “So how was your summer?”
It’s a perfectly appropriate and considerate question, one that I always ask in return but the problem is I have no idea how to answer this. My summer was amazing, stressful, exhausting, incredible, ridiculous at times, included far too little sleep and far too many snacks, and was, ultimately, exactly what I wanted it to be. How do you explain all of that to someone for whom summer means something completely different? It’s difficult to intersperse stories of Gold Rush and programming till 2 am with vacation highlights and stories from the beach.
Still, though, I think it’s important that we try and answer this one along with all the other variations of it that cause us to pause and wonder how you encapsulate camp to someone not camp. How we spend our summers is incredible and stressful, at times ridiculous and amazing but it is worth sharing even if they give you that “Why in the world would five grown women choose to sleep on a floating dock” look after you relate one of your favorite moments from 2014. Besides, the only way that we can hope to shift anyone from non camp to camp is by giving them even the smallest idea of what it is we love so much about it. So tell me, how was your summer?