My sister and I are about 8 years apart in age and we are vastly different beings.
I am older and wiser. (ie. I have more grey hair and love handles). She is blonde (with the help of a little Loreal) and I am brunette. She is short (5 foot even – though she claims 5′ 2″- and we all nod and smile encouragingly while rolling our eyes at each other behind her back), and I am tall(er) at 5′ 5″. I’m know I was 5′ 6″ at one point but I seem to have somehow shrunk over the years, and I have no idea where the inch went.
It’s generally agreed that she got the looks in the family and I got the brains. (By ‘generally agreed,’ I mean by me.)
My father and my mother seem to think she got both the looks and brains and I’ve just pretty much wasted my prime years perusing J Crew cataloges and visiting Anthropologie stores while mastering the complexities of social media and decorating houses. But what are parents for if not to blow their opinions off as senile and absurd? So that’s what I do.
Our grandmother won’t commit on subjects like these, she’s considered our family’s version of Switzerland and will probably take her true opinions with her to the grave, and I love her all the more for it.
Regardless, for the purpose of this post my sister is the pretty-but-sometimes-dense member of the family. With that in mind, I’d like to recount to you a conversation we had recently.
My sister rented a cabin in our town with some girlfriends and spent the week doing what young women do best; eating out, sleeping in, drinking cocktails and lying on the beach sun bathing. At the end of the week her friends left town she came to stay with us for the weekend, before heading back to her life in her own town a few hours away.
We went out to lunch together and were chatting about her week, when I asked her about the accommodations at the cabin. I am not a fan of any kind of camping – especially when it’s made to sound like it’s a more exclusive experience than camping – like when people call it a cabin but what they really mean is a tent with firmer walls.
To me, unless your cabin has a/c, cable TV, fancy soaps in the bathroom and daily maid service – it’s camping – and no fancy siding or stylish roof line will convince me otherwise.
We had started this discussion about how cabins were still roughing it (in my world) before she went on the trip, and she had tried to convince me of the luxurious level of these particular cabins, adding that they even had air conditioning! I have to be honest it had impressed me, so now I wanted to know what other luxuries were on offer that I didn’t know about.
I mentioned the a/c and asked how the stay was overall, her response went something like this:
The first day we got there there was a horrible smell in the cabin (just as I suspected – glammed up camping is still camping!) and there was no air conditioning or seaside views as had been promised in the photos when we booked, so we went up to the reception area and complained. They responded instantly, assuring us they would move us to a suitable replacement.
We went out that day and when we got back they had moved all our stuff for us into a nicer, more modern cabin, and it did have the a/c wall unit and the ocean views from the deck, so we were pleased.
We got changed and showered and decided to go out for the night and in preparation of our homecoming later, we turned on the a/c to full power to make sure the cabin was nice and cool when we got home and we were trying to sleep.
We got home many hours later (it was a big night!) about 3am, and the place was stinking hot and smelled of something burning! We had to open the windows to let the hot summer night air in, just to be able to breathe comfortably.
We had seen a sign on the a/c unit asking us to never leave it on when we were out of the cabin, but we had ignored it, assuming it was a cost-saving measure. Now we were panicking, had we done something to the unit leaving it on for so long in our absence?
Had running it for so long unattended somehow overheated the unit? We didn’t want to get into trouble or have to pay for it, so we turned it off and sweltered our way through the rest of the week without mentioning it to the staff.”
The day we left when returning the keys, the guy at the front desk asked if our stay lived up to our expectations?
I made the comment that the a/c hadn’t worked for the entire stay and the guy looked at me with confusion. “we don’t have a/c in our cabins” he said.
I argued with him, “I saw it in the photos when booking online, and we definitely have one, it just wasn’t working.”
“I can assure you, none of our cabins come with a/c.” he responded. I started to get irritated, thinking that instead of offering an apology or some kind of refund, he was being difficult and rude. “Well, what do you call the big unit with the on/off switch on the wall that blows out air?” I retorted.
He looked at me with a huge grin. “I call it a heater. All our premier cabins come with those.” “Oh,” I said, “Well, that explains the burning smell…”
I know the guy at the desk was going to enjoy the memory for the rest of the afternoon, so humiliating!
This story sent me into gales and gales of laughter, because of course it proved my point. There is no such thing as luxury camping, or camping with amenities, and that’s why no one will ever get me out there.
Even better, it proved my point that despite my parents obvious disappointment at my lack of achievements in life, I’m still the smarter one.
As an added benefit, I get to repeat this story to all her friends and future children over the coming decades – not to mention the blogosphere – and we can all have a chuckle at her expense. As a sibling, it just doesn’t get much better than that.