“Let’s discuss shelter,” our braided leader says. I look up from my Ziplock bag of trailmix. I’m picking out the M and M’s. A girl in the wilderness needs her strength. I’m hoping that maybe we could just find a soft, bug-free beddy bye, thoughtfully made by some benevolent deer. Perhaps a circling Bluebird, bearing a wildflower in its beak, would lead us to its location.
No such luck. The tribe decides to build a lean-to, the easiest of the structures, and we will do it by our bare hands. The guy who doesn’t like people quickly establishes himself as one who has a clue. “We can build it here,” he says, pointing to a clump of trees that would provide a perfect framework. There is a consensus. Cody nods his approval.
Because we aren’t beholden to building codes, the criteria for materials is simple: Long sturdy branches. Later, we will collect grass to thatch. The Gilligan’s Island song plays in my mind. Which makes me think of MaryAnn’s coconut cream pie. Wait. Where did she get the cream?
“Theresa? THERESA? You okay?” Jay’s face is etched with concern. “Uh, yeah, I’m fine.” The tribe has scattered like billiards into the brush. I follow suit. Soon, we have a pile of tree branches and the engineers in the group arrange the foundational branches. I’m still thinking of coconut cream pie. Damn you, MaryAnn.
Now it’s time to gather grasses. Owie. Primitive people didn’t have gloves but I bet their hands were a lot more callused than my domesticated paws. We fasten the bundles, securing them with deconstructed yucca leaves. Who would’ve thunk?
By now the sun is sinking lower in the sky. This time tomorrow, I will be weeping with joy under a hot shower, I think to myself. A few of the tribe members are setting up camp underneath the shelter. They can have it; I’m picturing bugs dropping down on their faces during the nocturnal hours.
Jay and I unroll our sleeping bags and I try to fluff up my flattened pillow. Yes, I brought my pillow. Don’t judge me. Maybe it won’t be so bad. I try to think of some affirmations about how strong I am but my bullshit meter starts pinging so loud I stop. I want my memory foam bed. I'm worried about having to pee in the middle of the night.
The thought of no freshly ground and brew coffee in the morning brings anguish to my pampered soul. It will be a dark night of both the soul and body.