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In my early twenties, a group of my friends from college and I went on a camping trip to the cascades. We drove in a van from Seattle, for a long glorious summer weekend, or so we thought!We set up our tents, built our campfire, ate our dinners, made our s’mores, told ghost stories and laughed till we cried. We were for the most part good friends, even though at times we were rivals for top grades and scholastic achievements.We didn’t claim to have all the answers, we just were pretty sure there had to be more answers than the ones we were given! We stayed up late arguing, actually we called it “having intellectual discussions” and “agreeing to disagree on just about everything”, but my, oh my, we had some good ones! The campfire finally died, and we crawled into our tents, half asleep already.Then the loud roar of motor cycle engines and the flashing of the headlights woke us all up. There was yelling and a whole lot of chaos! We were invaded by what most of in my tent had decided must be bikers (duh, what was your first clue?) Yeah, that was me, I must confess for really smart people, the obvious went right past them, and I was cranky when rudely wakened in the wee hours.So, then they decided that they must be Hells Angels and we were in danger, and they proceeded to get dressed fast! I was still irritable, but it was my friends who were getting on my last nerve, what had come over them? I had crossed over what they called the “**** line”. It was unfair, it should have been called the “feminist line” and it usually meant that I was reaching for my soap box. Hey, I was really good in debate class! But they said, oh no here she goes again!I told them for once in there narrow minded, elitist, all about them lives, to sit down and be still! Listen! Stop jumping to conclusions! One smart ****, reminded the others that, Oh yeah, that’s right she has biker friends! That’s right I did and they were just as nice as he was! Maybe nicer, I was thinking, at this point! I’d had enough, I untied the tent and went outside, much to the others dismay and alarm!Lo and behold, they turn out to be a bike club, of doctors, lawyers and professionals, with really expensive Harleys! They camped with us, and we all had a great week end. All except for me, I could never quite see my so called friends the same way again, after I saw how they really saw me. And when I lost my temper and told them off, I told them how I really saw them. That wasn’t a mistake, just a missed mark. They misjudged the bikers. The others in the other tents had thought the bikers were dangerous also! Why didn’t I? I kept thinking of the guard at the state park and the gates we had to go through, the fee we had to pay, I just couldn’t see him letting the Hell’s angels through! But to my college friends, I had “biker friends”. I was one of “them”. I was as much an outsider, as I ever was. I misjudged my college classmates, by thinking they were friends, and I misjudged myself. A lesson learned over and over again…….
I love the way you wrote this piece. Camping was our favorite and most affordable way to spend weekends with our children. At the time, they did not appreciate it as much as they do now. They now share with their own kids, the great weekends they experienced when we went camping. Oh! More memories... MER