Is your name Jennifer Evans? Do you have friends named Sam and Sabra? Have you recently experienced a life event that would warrant the gift of a cookie bouquet from these friends?
If so, then there’s a cookie bouquet for you at my house! My address is difficult to confuse with another and none of my immediate neighbors are named Jennifer Evans, so I’m left to assume that:
a) you lived here once, possibly as one of the hippies with multiple dogs and bunk beds,
b) you live nearby and the cookie bouquet delivery person went temporarily blind, or
c) Jennifer Evans is just a common name and Sam and Sabra were kind of just fucking around and hoping to grace someone with a little bit of silly kindness.
In any case, if you are Jennifer Evans and you live near American Music in Fremont OR if you know this person, please let me know. I can only guarantee the freshness/general uneaten quality of your cookies for the next couple of days.
PS – if Jennifer Evans is the lady at the end of the block who never mows her goddamn yard, then you can have your cookies when you cut that thing. This isn’t the wilderness, you lazy weirdo.
ON WITH THE REGULAR SHITSHOW…
Well, I survived camping, although I maintain that it was by the barest of margins. I’m not sure how my body is able to withstand levels of stress as high as the ones I’m able to achieve while being driven along an 18-mile road (9 miles of which are dirt and gravel) to get to the top of a 6,000 foot mountain. I’m really not. My chest, arms, and hands are still sore from the gripping of the door handle and general clenching I did during that ascent, which is to say nothing of the near-hyperventilation that occurred on our way up and just before our way down, although in case you were wondering, it’s a lot easier to get dizzy and nauseous from anxiety when you’re breathing in air that’s about a mile higher than whatever sea-level sludge you’re used to inhaling on a day-to-day basis.
Aside from the bouts of blind panic (with a little bit of weeping), camping was not terrible. I still like the middle part about hanging out and drinking with my friends, and I’ll probably always appreciate the midnight legend of Taintscraper the Poo Coon (he’s lived in the latrine for “nigh on 20 years”), as well as all of the other high points, such as the dogs, the food, and the absolute perfection of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout in the morning. And yes, it was very difficult to understand why I had to continue going up that mountain road – at one point I whimpered “I just want this to be over” and quickly thought “but not over like ‘we crash through those trees and drive off the mountain over,’ so don’t fuck around on me, Universe” – but we did have this view all weekend:
And even with the heights and the dirt and the freezing cold nights, there is still a majesty to the American West. Other places are surely beautiful, but it’s here where your heart stops because it seems impossible that you can stand in one place and look out over alpine meadow, granite ridges, earth shaped by tectonic shifts and volcanoes, and oh yeah, there’s a rainforest down there and it’s ancient, and no wonder my friends and I frequently stand somewhere here – in the mountains, on the beach, anywhere in or around Seattle – and remark with some measure of wonder, “We live here.”
If I had to do it over again, I would like there to be some service that packs all of your shit, drugs you into a blissful stupor for any challenging part of the journey, makes sure you have plenty of space age tinfoil blankets or whatever for when the temperature at night drops to somewhere below 40 degrees and you shiver yourself awake multiple times, and then, at the end, cleans up the mess, packs everything up again, and gets you home by somehow avoiding the heinous hour-and-a-half ferry wait that delivered you home much later than you’d anticipated.
Also I’d make sure I had an actual weekend lined up afterwards, because for some reason I’m working next Saturday and that’s basically two weeks without any real time off (because to me, time off means sitting on my couch with The Cat and we’re both enjoying some Netflix).
But for now, I’m home, the cats have been fed and paid-attention-to, and I’ve taken a shower, a relatively simple act that took on near mythical properties during that million years I spent waiting in my car for everyone else in Seattle to get on the goddamn Bainbridge Ferry. While waiting over 40 minutes to travel the length of an entire block and a half, to kill time (or because I’m disgusting, whatever), I kept sticking my finger between my boobs and sniffing it to see how ripe it was. And it. Was. Ripe. Very ripe. Also, I completely understand if you’d like to stop reading now.
I’ve been led to believe that this is normal for camping, as is the greasy, smoke-smelling hair and some fingernail grime that would make a hobo raise an eyebrow. What I didn’t expect was what happened when I blew my nose in the shower. And don’t even start, okay, because if you don’t blow your nose (or pee, there, I said it) in the shower then you’re wasteful, and I’m not even saying that just because I live in the recycling and composting capital of the country. Anyway, I blew my nose and was startled to see that my boogers were black. And I mean black. The black of two days of campfire smoke, gray shale, and mountain dust. The black of lots of super strong campfire coffee. The black of “jesus christ, my boogers are black and this is what it means when you’re dying.”
At least neither of the cats revenge puked while I was gone, and they both seem happy enough that I’m back. And of course I’ve showered, and I slept in my warm bed last night. My boogers might even be back to normal, but I’m too scared to check.
It is magical out in nature…Thanks for being brave and hanging out, Erin. Yes, Black Booger Syndrome is the dreaded yet benign afterbirth of a camping deliverance – er – delivery. Chris and I ended up leaving the ferry line, driving through Tacoma, and made it home before our boat would have reached Seattle.