Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Travelogue for People with Deep-Seated Issues

I happen to think getting drunk in the woods is a pleasant thing to do.

This counts as "the woods," too, doesn't it?

If you have a cute little backpack so you can carry your car keys, your smartphone, and of course your flask of vodka, you’re ready to clamber the marked and unmarked trails of your local nature preserve. You just need to wear the right shoes – this is one time you must sacrifice your high heels for the sake of utility – and dress comfortably. Jeans are recommended to avoid being scratched by prickly pricklers and thorny thorns. Jeans that are already a bit roughed up from previous alcohol-fueled rambles are preferred.

Assless chaps, for a variety of reasons,
are not recommended.
There is no bad time of day to get drunk in the woods. Trust me on this. But when the sun is getting low in the sky, the woods are very pretty and the little bunnies come out to play. Probably it’s also when a lot of snakes start slithering through the brush and leaves that carpet nature, so it’s best not to think about that too much as you’re walking through them. You may want to look down so you can spot them, or you may want to avoid looking down specifically so you don’t spot them. Most snakes aren’t aggressive unless they catch you staring at them. Just saying.

Dafuq are you lookin' at, Leggy?

So you clamber and you hike and you make your way through the trees until you find a nice, cool, quiet place to drink. And by nice, cool, and quiet, I mean unoccupied. Strictly speaking, some woods, and especially some city-owned nature preserves, don’t allow adult beverages, so there’s no point in upsetting any children or sticklers for the law who may be about.

Honestly, some people are such prudes.
Relax. Listen to the rustling of the leaves, the babbling of the brook, the croaking of the frogs or anything else that may be croaking. And drink, of course. If you’re in the woods with a flask of vodka, there’s no point in staying sober.

Now, in nature you’re never alone. So remember that as long as you can see or hear some kind of living creature, you’re engaging in social drinking. Also, nature is a very safe place. This is a fact. Name one book, movie, or TV show in which someone went out into nature and had something bad happen. Keeping in mind that those Uruguayan rugby players in the Andes were on a plane, which technically isn’t nature. Also, that what happened to James Franco in 127 Hours was almost certainly his fault for not reading the script more carefully.

"Why yes, I am a Method Actor. Why do you ask?"

What I’m saying is that it’s OK to wander into the middle of the woods at dusk by yourself and drink vodka. Why else were cellphones invented but to enable us to engage in risky behavior knowing that 911 is just a phone call away?

There’s no need to invite anyone along. This is your private, peaceful time. Although if you wanted, you could message a good friend to meet you in the woods, or maybe meet you somewhere afterward. You know, for dinner or a movie or just to hang out. Because that would be fun to do after a nice relaxing clamber in the woods.

If you read the dictionary definition of "clamber," it says
"to climb in an awkward, scrambling fashion."
I prefer to illustrate the concept with this adorable photo
of a mouse scurrying over a rock.

Especially if you and that good friend haven’t seen each other in a while because your schedules are so out of sync. And, you know, life gets in the way and things come up and you both have priorities that sometimes preclude spending time with a good friend.

Which is another reason it’s perfectly fine to get drunk in the woods by yourself. Life is too short to let circumstances over which you have no control define your enjoyment. Carpe that diem, lest it be carped away from you.

Give it a moment, it'll come.

Also, even if you and a good friend have made definite plans to get together – plans that you were pretty sure had a good chance of falling through, and you were OK with that except that your friend swore up and down that they wouldn’t and got your hopes up that you’d finally be able to have an evening together because, you know, sometimes the stars do align – you should be prepared for crushing disappointment. Shame on you for your lofty expectations. That’s a sin, I think. Up there with gluttony or sloth.

But not Anderson Cooper holding a sloth,
which I'm posting because I can, and also because
OMG Anderson Cooper holding a sloth.

The good news is, everything is going to be OK. After all, you’re already in the woods, you’re already drinking, and you’re already alone. And those things are pretty enjoyable, as long as you don’t compare them with what you originally hoped to be doing that evening.

There is nothing that can possibly go wrong.

Well, you could start wandering around shitfaced drunk with night falling and get lost.
This picture works on so many levels.
E-mail me if you know what they are.

You probably won’t. I mean, this is a suburban nature preserve, not a national forest. Technically, if you can keep walking in more or less the same direction for 20 minutes or so, it’s almost impossible not to come out on the other side of the woods.

In order for that to happen, you would have to stray from any kind of marked trail. And it would have to be nearly dark. And if you can’t manage to stay oriented in one direction and keep moving that way…what are you, drunk?

Mark Trail. It's...it's a play on words.
How did I just now get that?

Now, the most important thing to remember if you get lost in the woods is to stay focused. Don’t be distracted by briars poking you in the arms. Or strange shuffling noises in the leaves off in the gloom. Most of all, don’t get distracted by thoughts of what an idiot you are for believing any of this was actually a good idea. Or how foolish you’re afraid you seem to your friend for getting upset at being blown off for what really is a perfectly valid reason and ending up in a stupid predicament that is doing nothing to bolster your already flagging self-confidence.

At this point be sure to remember that you haven’t eaten, either.

And beware of the man eating snake.
See what I did there?
The thing is, it’s not as if you’re having a bad time. You’re clambering, one of the most joyful activities known to mankind. You’re drinking in the woods, which is after all what you came here to do. You’re surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. Sure, the sights have become a bit hard to see since the sun went down, and the sounds became a bit more menacing at approximately the same time. But there are no grizzly bears here.

Are you sure about that?
Spiders, snakes, and possibly rabid skunks. But no grizzly bears.


And so, eventually you follow a creek and leave the woods and cross a field and get on a concrete path and discover that somehow you’ve ended up in front of the firehouse that’s a good 200 yards east of the nature preserve. And that’s a good thing, because…firefighters. You know, just in case you need strong, brave men to come to your aid.

I'm not a pyromaniac, but I'm working on it.
 Which you don’t, because you easily traverse the distance from the firehouse to where you left your car. You would feel pretty stupid explaining to the strong, brave, possibly shirtless firefighters how you got there, anyway. And also, something about self-reliance and dignity. And you’re pretty sweaty.


All in all, a nearly perfect evening.
To sum up, I happen to think getting drunk in the woods is a pleasant thing to do.

Do it with someone you love.




1 comment:

You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.