Monthly Archives: August 2013

Park Slope Food Co-op Nature “Lovers” Winter Outdoor Adventure Tent Fever

This blizzard has been shitting on us for three days straight. We were supposed to go on a week-long adventure hike. We’re trapped now because you thought it would be smart to wait out the weather. We don’t have enough to eat or enough fuel to melt snow, and we are fully at the mercy of this storm. You’re saying this is what adventure is all about. I’m starting to think you’re full of shit.


I haven’t slept for days. A piece of tent cord has been fluttering against the nylon right next to my head. It’s always early. Too early to fall sleep, too early to wake up. I need to piss. I open the tent flap and find two ice blocks that used to be my hiking boots. I have to go so bad, but we made a pact not to piss in the vestibule. I start the stove in the vestibule to thaw out my boots and make coffee. This requires fifteen minutes of bladder wrenching patience. I’m getting used to the fact that you’re an asshole, and your plan to bring minimal food to go light and fast was really a plan to starve me to death.


The boots are taking too long. I really have to go, so I muscle them onto my feet and trudge into the whiteout to dig a cat-hole. I crouch over the hole and look out like an animal watching forpredators. Actually, I’m making sure you don’t come up behind me to tell me to dig a deeper cat-hole. I don’t give a shit. I can’t see shit. Everything is so white. It’s like illuminated darkness. I feel like I’m in the matrix, when they delete everything. Every fluttering snowflake is unique, just like people, but there’s got to be one asshole snowflake that’s just like you. I feel like I should record these brilliant observations in my journal. But I don’t have my journal. You didn’t let me bring my journal. It weighs too much. You know what—you weigh too much.


I retrace my tracks back to the tent and notice the snow has piled up above the air vents on the tent. I dig out the air vents with my fair-weather gloves so you won’t suffocate. My hands are so cold I have to jam them down my pants. You’re welcome.

I hear you snoring in there like you’re getting the best sleep of your life. You better be dreaming something interesting and better not forget it when you wake up. I hope you’re dreaming about being force-fed overcooked non-organic beef, or getting exiled from your yoga instructor’s yoga social potluck brunch gathering. We desperately need something to talk about. I’m losing it. I’m turning into an evil robot.


You should wake up already. We have a lot of absolutely nothing to do today. Actually, maybe you should sleep. Sleep all you want. Let me handle this catastrophe myself. Let me do all the maintenance around camp. Let me wait for the weather to change. I’ll keep the snow from building up and suffocating us. I’ll dig the tent out every three hours—no problem. I’ll clean the dishes from your shitty macaroni dinner last night. I’ll do the cooking. I’ll make food for you and let it get cold and then heat it up for you when you’re ready. Let me deal with survival on my own. Let me weigh the options of staying put or trying to move down the valley to lower elevation. Let me worry about it all day. Let me sit with nothing but my thoughts. I’m so glad we didn’t bring anything to read. You were right. It was totally not worth carrying the extra weight. I’m so bored I want to gouge my eyes out. I’ve read the tent instructions sheet twenty times. Wait why did you insist on leaving my book behind? I was half way through War and Peace and you said it was too much weight? That’s ridiculous. I would have happily carried the extra 2 pounds. Are your leg muscles that sensitive? Were you planning on sleeping so much you wouldn’t have time to read? Not even a magazine? A pamphlet? My vision is getting spotty. My eyeballs feel like eggs. I want a fried egg so badly right now.


I crawl back in my sleeping bag. I try to meditate. I hate meditating. All you ever talk about is meditation. All you do is meditate when we’re not hiking. I came on this trip with you to learn how to control my anger a little bit, but you haven’t taught me shit. You just sleep all the time. It really pisses me off. I want to slap your smug little sleeping face so hard. Then again, I’m glad you’re not awake. All you ever want to do is talk about your yoga instructor’s yoga social potluck brunch gatherings. All you talk about is how much you want to move back in with all those squatters and thirty-three year old potheads who are allergic to soap. All you talk about is vegan politics. I voted for Gore and Kerry and Obama, but having met you, I honestly wish I had voted for Newt Gingrich. I would rather be married to Newt Gingrich than be here right now.

newt_gingrich_and wife

The wind won’t stop whistling. Three-days-straight. And you haven’t helped. All you’ve talked about is global warming, global warming. How does this blizzard have anything to do with global warming? You better wake up fast and explain this stupid weather to me before I lose my shit. Actually, you should sleep. I’m glad you’re asleep. I’d rather mentally annihilate your non-responsive smug little sleeping face.

I will never go hiking with you again. I will never bring tofu casserole to your yoga instructor’s yoga social potluck brunch gathering ever again. I will never use the word sustainable ever again. I will never eat a vegetable ever again. I want eggs on eggs on eggs. I want to slaughter a chicken with my bare hands. I want to join a mixed martial arts gym. I want to drive a huge truck and tail gate every single Prius in America. I’m going to vote for Newt Gingrich if he ever runs for political office of any kind ever again. I hate of this tent. I hate shoveling snow off our tent so we don’t suffocate. I hate survival. I’m going to hike out of here without you. I don’t even care anymore. You can suffocate. I’m out of here.


Oh, hey babe, did you sleep okay?


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Penguin vs. Albatross

We sat together at the stern of a ship ferrying us into the Magellan Strait. Clouds swept across the sky by the broom of God. We were going to see the penguins. I was here to write an article about Magellan for an explorers blog. Magellan, also known as the Paranoid Portuguese, feared that the indigenous people who lived in this rugged landscape would overrun his crew. He preferred the docile, God fearing indigenes. But these mysterious people had no religion or concept of God. According to a regional museum pamphlet, they mostly foraged for food because they considered fish untouchable, vile creatures. They were godless and all alone in this strangely quiet, windy place, at the end of the world. Until the other hemisphere arrived.

Death Of Magellan

I had been in India just weeks before. In my parka I carried a Swiss canteen filled with whiskey. The whiskey warmed our stomachs. We sipped back and forth, and you lectured to the wind on quantum mechanics. I told you about my new religious beliefs, which I never fully understood. I was losing the urge to tell people about India. We watched the birds instead. You identified a Wandering Albatross gliding in beautiful figure-eight patterns across the stern of the ship, swooping down and dipping the tips of its long wings into the water.


The penguins lived on a tiny, barren, bird-shitty island, which we circumnavigated in an hour. After the albatross, the penguins seemed short and stubby. You disagreed. The penguins weren’t afraid of humans and walked right up to us and pecked at our boots, which unnerved me. I generally preferred animals with a primal fear of humans. The penguins  sized us up in our yellow parkas as you clucked and kissed at them. I tried to pet one, and it scuttled away all pissed off. You loved the penguins so much we almost missed the ferry back to town.


On the way back, I said if I were a bird I would be an albatross. The albatross is a masterful flyer—a great artist.

You said you identified with the penguins, but albatrosses were great too.

His whole life is a long journey, I said. He will circumnavigate the world ten times, riding the trade winds, soaring over the open ocean.

You said that sounded lonely.

I agreed it would be pretty lonely. But if I flew for a living, I would be an albatross.

You said you would be a penguin. Penguins mate for life.

That night I dreamt about mating with you for the rest of my life on a shitty little island. Next morning, I called home and covered my mouth as I whispered into the receiver that I was never coming back.

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