A Supposedly Scary Thing that was, in fact, Scary,

February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

And I will never do it again.

I have been through many scary things; I have been lost on foot in the middle of the night in a remote national park, I have been arrested at gun point, I lost my virginity while watching the movie You’ve Got Mail. But perhaps the scariest thing I have done is drive through North Dakota in the middle of February.

I am an Eagle Scout. I keep a hatchet, three flashlights, a headlamp, a tarp, a hammer, a compass, maps, bungee cords, blankets, a first aid kit, protein bars, a hunting knife, fire starters and at least a gallon of drinking water in my Subaru Outback. Still, nothing could have prepared me for driving West of Bismarck through the snow and the ice. I have never been so glad to be done with a road trip in my life – and I love road trips. Barreling through the Northern prairie on an ice-covered interstate as the wind whips snow all around you in a two-ton death machine is not the ideal way to see the countryside.

That said, there is nothing so great as the occasional brush with death to keep things in perspective. It helps me to love better, to be more patient, to remember kindness always, and reminds me of just how small and insignificant my life is. Nothing in this world is so comforting as the feeling of insignificance. It is the warm blanket during the cold existential distress of life’s night.

When I got to Portland I went out for a Burnside IPA. I shed a tear when I took that first sip, a tear because it wasn’t Miller Lite and a tear because I was alive to taste it.

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