|Lake Sunset 2013|
I always liked camping. And by camping, I mean real, tent camping. The description of LDS girls' camp in the feminist mormon housewives podcast rang very true to me. I have fond memories of camp. I learned a lot. I still know different ways to make fire, and how to lash two sticks together.
So it was nice to go camping with friends recently. What was interesting to me, however, was that I realized why I would not want to live on a commune. Please let me explain.
The food coordination was not really defined beforehand. We have lots of friends with food allergies, and others who are vegetarian or vegan. So it would already be difficult to find meals that everyone could eat.
Then, the person who was in charge of a communal grill didn't arrive at the campsite until 6:30 p.m., and then promptly set up their tent. So it was 8 before they started cooking, and the meal wasn't served until 9.
Sometimes I'm willing to wait to eat with other people (particularly when it's just me), but 9 is too late to eat with kids. And that's a difference among families - some families like to eat at regular times - others are more flexible and fluid. So we started cooking our own food at 6 and ate around 7.
Back to the reason I couldn't live in a commune - it would involve these types of conversations daily. It's one thing to coordinate with my own family (four), it's quite another to coordinate cooking, preparing, food with 8 other couples and their kids, given all the food allergies. And how does one make sure everyone does their share? There was one couple that seemed like they were not pulling their weight (monitoring or feeding their own child). There may have been more going on than what I observed - but it's uncomfortable to be in that situation.
The way to make it work -through communication and coordination. But living in a commune would mean constant conversations about that type of things ALL THE TIME. And from my understanding, often in communes in the 1960s, women did a great deal of work - picking up the slack. And I'm not comfortable with that either. In our camping trip, there was an equal sharing of work amongst the couples- cooking, preparing food, watching kids. But I could see that not always being the case.
I had a great time. I look forward to returning next year. I'm even open to a conversation about a communal grill - one side for folks who eat meat, and one for the vegan/vegetarians.
But I realize that living with friends all the time would not be roses and rainbows (we've returned to college dorm living!). It would be a great deal of work, communication - and would greatly depend on the people we were living with.