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Okay, I lied, I’m not outdoorsy.
Nature is a stick in my sneaker. Nature is mosquitoes and allergies. Nature is everything we made ourselves better than, but yeah, sure, I said I was really in touch with it on Tinder.
You had rock climbing pics. Mine were just an embarrassing assortment of happy hours and drunkenly break-dancing at weddings. But, my bio said I love to camp.
I’ve never been camping.
You swiped right, because somehow you found me down to earth. “Hey there, camper,” you said to me. You messaged first. I had to sell it. That planet you’re so gung-ho about? It’s the last thing I’m “down to,” but you suggested grabbing a beer at my favorite dive bar.
It’s a date.
It’s my favorite bar for so many reasons. There’s no patio, no top 40 hits, and especially no outside light. I’d say I’m not tan because I wear SPF 80 when hitting the trails, but the only light I get outside of driving to work is the glow of neon signs in this dump.
This bar centers me the way nature doesn’t.
You walked in fresh off a run. You said beer is a great post-workout. I wholeheartedly agreed.
The last time I worked out was 2 years ago, so I too was ordering a post-workout beer.
I was going to order a Coors Light until you let the name of that local IPA roll off your tongue like smoke off a stick of patchouli incense. Thanks for that.
Blue Moon is crafty, right?
We traded camping stories. Your story about hanging a hammock off the side of a mountain in Alaska sounded like a real rush. I definitely didn’t embellish any of my stories, since they were completely fabricated.
“Coleman” is my middle name. I’m killing this.
You said you had a backpacking trip coming up this weekend with some friends in the “PNW,” but you would love to get together for a camping trip after.
Camping after backpacking? Okay, psycho.
I was “down.” You said you’d bring us back some artisan cheese and local wine from one of your favorite vineyards out in the “PNW.”
I still don’t know what the “PNW” is, but I keep imagining an empty prison where they forgot a guy, and he is completely losing it trying to get out.
“Kind of like this conversation,” I thought aloud.
“Huh?” You said, head cocked to the side in confusion.
“Nothing,” I said, “oh jeez, look at the time, I need to get going.”
Time flies when you’re talking about camping.
As we walked out of the bar, we rounded the block, and you caught the scent of some smoke. You looked over and saw a heavy-set, older man pouring a pitcher of what was almost definitely Miller High Life into a glass. Cig freshly snuffed out, he was already poking around the foil of his pack for a new one.
“Vom,” you said under your breath to me with a wince. “How could anyone drink that trash? Let alone do that to their body with those death sticks?”
Cheap beer and cigarettes are my artisan cheese and local wine. This isn’t going to work.
I met your gaze, and slowly reached toward my right front pocket. My eyes were honed in on yours. As soon as the first glimpse of that tiny white Marlboro box peaked out, I saw that look in your eyes. Pure terror. First at the cigarettes themselves, then at your own realization of what you just said.
You will never recover from this embarrassment.
“So next week?” I said.
And just like that, you were gone forever. Another one lost to the “PNW.” I caught an Uber back to my place; I didn’t feel like making the 10-block hike. After a few ‘sodes of Mad Men, I pulled out my phone, and opened tinder to edit my profile.
to camp dogs.”
Are there dogs you don’t need to walk? .
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