OK, kittens, let’s take a break from the WWE sport that is partisan politics just for today and go for a nice hike. What could go wrong?
Apparently near ‘bout everything if you’ve been following News of the Physically Fit lately.
Seasoned mountain climbers falling ill and perishing on a dangerously overcrowded Mount Everest; the young woman in Hawaii who was exploring a forest preserve when she got lost in the jungle for 17 days; a 74-year-old woman who fell while hiking and became the unwitting star of a viral video after the line broke on her rescue basket and she began to spin out of control…
Yes, it has been a tough two weeks for those of y’all who insist on interacting with nature. Which, as longtime readers know, I consider highly overrated. I mean, have you seen “Dead to Me?” Until I finish that series in the comfort of central air, nature can just eat my fire stick.
I accept that many of my best friends and husbands are seriously into the outdoors. It’s vexing but as I always say: “To each his own.” Kidding. I never say that. Ditto “Live and let live” and “No thanks, I don’t really like things involving pastry.”
Because Duh Hubby is a devoted bicyclist, I happened to find myself in a foreign environment last week. I wanted to get him a little Father’s Day prezzy and this looked like the kind of place he might like.
R.E.I. was cavernous and filled with rather aggressive looking products that promised outdoor “fun.” I had been in the building less than five minutes when I tripped and fell flat in the camping section.
“Can I help you?”
Which answers the question: If a middle aged, mildly overweight fitness phobic woman falls in a sporting goods store, will anyone ever notice?
“Yes, you can move this, this, this…what IS this thing anyway?”
“It’s a tent.”
“Huh. I’ve heard of those. I just need a gift for someone who really loves to ride his bike and he’s not even in fourth grade.”
The clerk scratched his woolly beard and a dusting of Lara Bar crumbs showered the floor.
Beard crumbs aside, he was helpful, walking me over to the bike section and, probably wisely, talking me out of some very nice glittered handlebar streamers. Instead, he suggested a pair of expensive but aerodynamic bicycle shorts which I imagine are favored by castrati everywhere.
Checking out, he gazed hopefully into my dead eyes.
“Would you like to join the R.E.I. Club today?”
“Not unless you get a free mani/pedi with every 10 punches on the card.”
“No,” he said gamely. But we do send you discount coupons.”
“Honestly, it’s OK. I will never pass this way again. This place smells like rubber and kombucha but then I repeat myself.”
He smiled and a small squirrel dropped from his beard and scampered away.
“We’re here if you need us,” he said brightly.
I laughed out loud. “Good one!”
Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.