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R U Camping?

By C.D. Payne

"CAMPING OUT" is the term my wife uses for folks like us whose living arrangements lack those essential finishing touches. Alas, she has been camping out her entire married life. Though we have been in our present house nearly five years, the living room still sports gold-veined mirror tiles and fake wood paneling, the kitchen is a festival of disco-era browns, and assorted wallpapers-from-hell accent other rooms. My wife is eager to remodel, but I think it would be less stressful just to post a large sign proclaiming: "The décor of this house does not necessarily reflect the taste of its occupants."

Here is a short test to determine if you, too, are "camping out":

  • Your computer sits on a card table, +5 points. It sits on the box it came in, +10 points.

  • Your books are stacked on bricks and boards, +5 points.

  • Your home is more "animal barn" than Pottery Barn, +5 points.

  • A blanket covers your hand-me-down couch, +5 points. The blanket features NFL team logos, +10 points.

  • Embroidered hand towels hang in your guest bathroom, -5 points.

  • The dominant aroma in your home is: Eau de kennel, +5 points. Rose potpourri, -5 points. Methamphetamine brewing, +15 points.

  • You subscribe to Architectural Digest, -5 points.

  • Posters are thumbtacked to your walls, +5 points. The posters are of Metallica, +10 points.

  • Your mattress is: On a solid wood bed, -5 points. On the floor, +5 points. You sleep on the couch, +10 points.

  • In your two-car garage you have space to park: Two cars, -5 points. One car, 0 points. Not even a bicycle, +10 points.

  • Your bathroom can best be described as: Color-coordinated, -5 points. Eclectic, 0 points. Grungy, +5 points. A pit, +10 points.

  • You own a book on feng shui, -5 points. You've actually read it, -10 points.

  • Teenagers are in the home, +20 points.

  • Your house is equipped with wheels, +30 points.


    0 to 25 points: Martha Stewart would be proud.

    25 to 50 points: Caution, some camping detected.

    50+ points: Greetings, fellow campers!

    Writer C. D. Payne camps out in Sebastopol.

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  • From the February 1-7, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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