Car Camping and Bo Derek Braids
We never went on real vacations. We didn’t have any money, and my parents never got their act together to plan anything more than car camping. My dad would take us car camping and then toss me and my sister in the tiny two-person piece-of-shit tent. He’d take the deluxe model for him and the girlfriend. When the rains came, it was every man for himself. I couldn’t believe I was being cast aside like that. My sister and I slept in the car on those nights, fighting on the sticky Naugahyde seats of our beat up Rambler, the crappy car we’d driven all the way from Philadelphia to Mount Desert Island, Maine.
We also used to drive from Philly to Florida for camping. Hours and hours on the road while my sister hung her head out of the window, puking. It was awful. And we’d get there only to set up camp and get rained on, drenched. We couldn’t win.
One year he got us a hotel on Sanibel Island but I had mono the entire trip. I’d caught it from making out with a boy at Weight Watcher’s sleep-over camp. My dad kept trying to force me to go out in the sun, to enjoy myself, to swim. My throat was so sore I could barely speak and I slept all day every day. Finally, he took me to a local doctor who prescribed antibiotics, which is the wrong thing to do for mono. I simply stayed sick. God only knows how many people I infected at that hotel.
I remember sitting on the bed in my yellow nightgown giving my sister Bo Derek braids, like from the movie “10.” She was the thin one. I was never good enough in the looks department, why should I get cool braids? Why shouldn’t I be objectified? Of course, objectifying either of us now makes me want to check into rehab for something, anything, I’m sure I could come up with a reason I need it. No, my sister was a perfect little specimen of cuteness. Five years younger and simply perfect. Never talked back, never overate or snuck food, never seemed to get sick and if she did never complain. She was the anti-Jenny. I was the complication.