Lee Gone WILD!
The story I am about to tell you is true. It’s been weighing on me for a long time; and I feel like it’s time to get it out in the open to let the healing process begin. I HATE the outdoors. I hate nature and camping and hikes and granola bars and Nalgene bottles. I feel like I am supposed to like nature, to prefer sunshine and fresh air and feel energized after a brisk hike. FALSE. Nature is dirty and gross and tiring. Do not let this photo fool you. Social media can fool anyone. It can show the happiest of couples basking in each others farts and the next week BAM! Divorced. It can show the most angelic pictures of children and in a few years WHAMMO! Prison. Or in my case, it can show a smiling person hiking looking like she’s having the best damn day of her life when in reality… she’d rather be curled up in a ball on the couch eating Cheetos and yelling at the tv.
It all began when I was trying to impress my then boyfriend (now husband). He is extremely outdoorsy. He has hiked many of Colorado’s 14ers, and has completed the entire Colorado Trail. His idea of a good time is camping in 4 degree weather, while his precious snowflake of a wife guzzles boxed wine that has been nailed to a nearby tree. One day he and his friend decided they wanted to hike Pike’s Peak. And in my eagerness and impulsiveness, I thought it would be an excellent idea if I joined them. How hard could it be? I mean, it’s just walking uphill. (I LITERALLY SAID THIS). Lemme tell you something, climbing a 14,115 foot mountain is #$@%^&! hard. You have to start at 4:00 in the morning and I was already winded when we had to climb a hill, in the PARKING LOT, at the foot of the mountain. When we were walking up Pikes Peak, my slowness (and whining) was really slowing the guys down. So they hatched a plan to sandwich me between them, so that they could set the pace and I would be forced to follow it. Anybody who knows me well, knows that forcing me to do something results in me melting down and falling over akin to Shelby in Steel Magnolias. “Let’s go make some spaghettiiii AHHHH!” I basically fall over dead. Leave me there. Sprinkle my ashes over the tv and go on with your lives. They kept saying things like, “We have to speed up to avoid the flash floods and lightning that comes in the late afternoon” (not a joke) or “We need to hurry to avoid mountain lions” (Are you for real? Why does anybody think this is fun?). At one point a tiny wiener dog came click-clacking up the mountain with its long toenails, and that dog passed me like I was standing still. I almost gave up then because I’ll be damned if a tiny dachshund makes me look bad. A greyhound, sure, but a WIENER DOG?! My confidence was shattered. We kept climbing up, higher…higher… I wondered aloud if I should be climbing with oxygen. They laughed. I wasn’t joking. We made it halfway up the mountain. That was it for me. Halfway is good enough. I bid my boyfriend and his friend adieu (It may have been more of a “#$%^ you, I’m out!” But who can judge me when I’ve been climbing up a rock for 6 hours, with nothing in my system but stale water, a luna bar, and some roasted dead wiener dog.) I started my trek down the mountain where I met some blind women hikers who had a much better attitude than me. Although the bar was low for that. I didn’t realize they were blind for the first minute of our conversation. ME: I’d turn back if I were you. THEM: We try this every month and go a little further each time. ME: Well that’s crazy. Why would you want to do that? THEM: To challenge ourselves. We’re just sad we can’t see the top. ME: Yeah, I can’t see it either. It’s too far. THEM: You know we’re blind, right? …. Thank God they couldn’t see my face because it turned an even brighter color red than it was from being almost hypoxic. Godspeed to those blind hikers and that wiener dog. I salute you. From my couch. I wish I liked the outdoors. I really do. But if you ever ask me to go on a hike with you, or do something outdoorsy, the answer is a resounding NO. Be grateful that I respect you enough to say “no” and not to ruin your day. Your day of fun, frolicking in the dirt and nettles, eating twigs or whatever it is you crazy hippies do. I tried.