|How bad can it be?!|
Just got back from a weekend at a famous adventure holiday camp with my boyfriend's family. Having managed to resist it for two years in a row, this year I decided to bite the bullet, be a good auntie/girlfriend/daughter-in-law (ish) and join in. Everyone (including the boyfriend, who is now in the doghouse and never, EVER to be trusted again) promised me it would be far better than my worst, most fearful imaginings. 'How bad can it be?!' I thought to myself. Oh readers, how wrong I was...
Day 1: Arrived at aforementioned camp (in the middle of a huge forest) in the dark. Became increasingly aware of the remote location, thousands of cabins illuminated with cheap fluorescence and the glow of happy families, obvious impossibility of escape (one needed to walk for half an hour to get out of the forest and back to the carpark and civilisation), strange high-vis jacketed men peering through windows, and unidentified nature rustling in undergrowth. Went into bedroom, proceeded to get on the panic attack express (exacerbated somewhat by my conviction that I was trapped in a weird, Nazi-esque Hitler-youth camp), and only calmed down after my boyfriend managed to chuck a Lorazepam down my throat.
Day 2: After planning my escape the previous night, I settled down and decided to try to enjoy the day. We took the kids to a massive water-park extravaganza for some swimming and water-sliding action. 'What larks!' I thought. 'Come on Viv, stop being a fretful, paranoid snob and get thee in a wave pool for some chillaxing.'
|Now where did I put my Lorazepam again?|
Gentle readers, it was in a massive dome. A huge, humid, insane, verruca-fest inside an huge, insane, impenetrable dome. And full of thousands, literally thousands, of screaming children. After retreating under a plastic palm tree I launched into holiday camp panic #2. Berated boyfriend for inexcusable lies and crazy masochistic family. Regretted leaving tranquilizers in damp locker miles away. Calmed down eventually after squashing poor, shivering three-year old niece to my bosom for about 20 minutes (NB. this actually works. If you can find a child to hug, it's just like a stuffed-monkey - only much, much better. I can't vouch for what effect this has on them though)
Day 3: The spa. I don't think I even need to explain why three hours in a succession of tinier and tinier steam rooms and saunas was not exactly what the doctor ordered for his claustrophobic, panicked patient.
The moral of this story is not that we neurotics are right when we imagine terrible things, or that we should avoid leaving our safe, cosy, non-threatening bedrooms. It is to remind us that if we've ever felt trepidation about visiting an famous, fun-filled, family holiday camp, that we were GODDAMN RIGHT TO FEEL IT , and that sometimes our instincts are not anxiety-addled instincts at all, but the sane, rational instincts of normal, hell-avoiding people.
Thus endeth the lesson.