For the next book in my challenge, unlucky 13, it is only fitting that I choose a book on an unlucky topic. I recently signed up for RIP IV, a Halloween-themed reading challenge, so I have several books on suitably creepy subjects in my To Be Read pile. But number 13 calls for a subject that is more terrifying even than a combination of zombies, vampires, Frankenstein, ghosts, Edgar Allan Poe, Rocky Horror, and the Phantom of the Opera, even if you mixed them all together and had Vincent Price narrate the whole thing.
I am speaking, of course, of the great outdoors.
Not long ago, my husband Dave announced he was planning a three-day backpacking trip with an old college friend. He knew better than to suggest I come along and it is to his credit that he didn't invite me, even to entertain himself watching the fearful shudders and the look of mortal terror that would have accompanied my polite decline.
I was informed they planned to hike near Mount Baker, "In fact, we'll be hiking up the bunny slopes."
This strikes me as vaguely silly. After all, if he would just wait a couple months, the ski lift will be running and he could can simply take a ride to the top, ski down, and have a nice hot chocolate at the bottom.
He insists I don't understand the outdoors, because I've never really been camping. This is completely untrue. I went camping once, with a group of friends in Connecticut. We camped on the infield of a race track, on the weekend of antique car races. We had a great deal of fun until we attempted to actually sleep - the tent, which had started sagging due to the rain, collapsed, leaving us to attempt to reassemble it in the dark, to the melodious and may I add loud strains of Pink Floyd coming from a nearby Winnebago. The other campers didn't help, nor did they offer to share their beer. We couldn't really figure the tent out in the dark, so we settled for a partially slumped tent and enjoyed a few restful moments of sleep before the sun rose and the antique engines resumed their laps around the track.
My husband informs me that this is not really camping, and I wasn't really outdoors. Well, I was wet, cold, dirty, and ruined my manicure, how much worse does it need to get before the fun begins?
A group of our friends here in Washington State went camping a few years ago in Leavenworth. My husband opted to stay in a tent; I opted to rent a cabin shared with our friends Neil and Teresa. In the morning, while Teresa and I did civilized things, like bathe, Neil drove into town and returned with a tray full of Starbucks lattes, hot and yummy.
Dave said, "Wow, you guys are really roughing it."
Neil replied, "You have no idea. The Starbucks in town doesn't even take debit cards."
Then there was a collective eyeroll.
I could go on with these camping tales of woe, but I think you have the general idea. So, he is backpacking and camping this weekend, and presumably deriving some perverse enjoyment from the experience. Mwanwhile, I am sitting on the sofa, under our well-maintained roof, and reading book number 13 in his honor: Help! A Bear Is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen.