Sunday, June 20, 2004
      ( 7:06 PM ) Rebecca  
Yours Truly Cannot Read A Map

Ok, here's an idea for a new reality show. It's called "Lost! In the Wild!" and the premise is they send navigationally-challenged cuties alone into the wilderness and see if they make it back alive.

Let's just say the first victim - er- star - is moi, Breakup Babe, who, you might recall, while also being a glamorpuss about town, is also a stud mountaineer. But, alas, she has always been helped along in her studliness by various men, who drive her to the trailhead, make sure she doesn't take wrong turns into a crevasse, and encourage her when she cries at the hard parts.

On this particular day, BB sets out jauntily from Seattle to lead a hike. This is funny for a number of reasons, not least that BB cannot for the life of her, read a map. You'd think that the venerable Mountaineers, for whom she is guiding this trip might have done a background check, but nooo.

So BB is toodling along in her little green Subaru, NO GUY IN SIGHT, to lead this group of waiting hikers up to some Godforsaken peak near Mt. Rainier (she only hopes that one of THEM is male and read a map.) She leaves town a little late, of course, but makes good time, and then -- the camera does a close up here -- she realizes she has missed the turnoff to Highway 169 or whatever stupid highway she was supposed to take. Damn it! She pulls off at the next exit, gets directions from a friendly convenience store clerk, who tells her no, no go to Highway 167 instead - it's right there, past the WalMart, the RV Park, and the gun shop.

A little tense now, BB finds Highway 167 near the gunshop, as instructed, but then is faced with a turnoff she didn't expect. Highway 410? That's the one to Mt. Rainier, right? Never mind that BB has been to Mt. Rainier gazillions of times. She has climbed
it - lest you forget. But there has always been some GUY driving.

She gets on Highway 410, but then quickly gets off, thinking she has gone the wrong way - never mind that Rainier is looming brilliantly on the horizon - and thus begins a 45-minute, increasingly desperate tour through the streets of Puyallup. It involves getting directions at least twice more (once from a woman with a barely understandable Chinese accent); ending up at back on Highway 5 going the wrong direction; until finally, she gets back on Highway 410, where she was supposed to be all along.

By now she running late. Very late. Mountaineer leaders are never late. They are fifteen minutes early. ALWAYS. And she has no one's phone numbers because her list never reached her because her e-mail hasn't been working (M*crosoft - what is UP with that?) - and so by the time she reaches the trailhead, she is an HOUR LATE and none of her little lemmings are there, of course.

She has let them down!

-50 points!

Once at the trailhead, she debates trying to catch up with her charges and redeeming herself.She quickly gets ready but then reads the trail description (she might have done this MONTHS before, when she signed up to lead this trip, but never mind that). It says something about "confusing trails criss-crossing eachother."

She decides, that under the circumstances, even as the stalwart Trip Leader, she is not up to navigating this 11-mile trail by herself. Who knows if they're up there anyway? Of course, she has enough clothes in her backpack to see her through a three-day snowstorm, even though it is 90-degrees out, but BB accepts her limitations.

+10 points!

She searches out an easier trail, determined that, though she is a failure as a trip leader, the day shall not be a waste!

+5 points!

She of course hikes a half-mile in wrong direction on a deserted forest service road, where Deliverance-type hillbillies no doubt hide in the bushes, to find this other hike before realizing she has gone the wrong way.

-5 points!

When she realizes her mistake, BB runs half-mile back to car so as not to be accosted by hiding hillbillies. She makes it safely.

+5 points!

Determined, now, to find this trail at all costs, she gets into her car, drives a few hundred yards, and turns where she thinks the trail should be. The road dead-ends, naturally, into a deserted horse camp where bullet-ridden beer cans lay strewn about the ground. Deliverance theme plays in background.

-5 points!

BB and the Subaru hightail it out of there, and then, more determined then ever, make the next turn - though it's unmarked. They head down a rough road, and the Subaru gets to strut it's stuff for 200 yards - 4- wheelin' whoo-hoo! - which makes the Subaru happy because it usually just gets to commute on Highway 520, and then the two of them pull into a parking area - and --

It's completely deserted.

But there is a trail, and it's as described, and though BB hesitates to hike alone on a clearly deserted trail, at least she has supplies to see her through an entire winter, and of course an entire camera crew following along, so she sets forth.

And what do you know, but BB makes it to the destination - a fabulous viewpoint of her favorite mountain, Mt. Rainier (+10 points!) - where she soaks up the sun, enjoys the solitude and wonders why she doesn't hike alone more often.

Because she can't read a map, that's why.

But the trail has no tricky turns, and she makes it back down alive, and she and the Subaru 4-wheel it back to Seattle without making a single wrong turn.

+10 points!

But BB still has negative 20 points, so she's booted off the show in favor of the next navigationally-challenged cutie. So stay tuned for the next episode of "Lost! In the Wild!"

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This blog was the inspiration for my novel. It helped me get through a horrible breakup and kept me entertained for years. But all good things must come to an end. I will recycle oldies but goodies from the archives here, but will blog about about writing here, and about all kinds of other stuff here.

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