A Serious Talk with the Best and Worst Versions of Myself as We Metaphorically Hike the Appalachian Trail

Seriously, guys, this can’t continue the way it’s been going.

You up there, running nearly a mile ahead of the rest of us, bounding over boulders and snapping branches back in our faces, straight through the night without cease. Well, of course there’s not enough time for sleep – we lose two hours every morning, since you insist on skimming both the Trib and the Times over your breakfast banana and fat-free yogurt, and then you have to do your precious sun salutes and strap on your ankle-weights.  

And you back there – lagging along behind, stopping to loll about every time we pass an accommodating tree stump. And smoking, for God’s sake! And I know that’s not vitamin water in that flask. We couldn’t get you up until one this afternoon – I had to drag you along the trail by your feet, since Ace up there refused to wait. And when was the last time you bathed?

Last night, when we stopped at that trailside tavern – what was that, guys? We haven’t been around other people in weeks; I thought we’d have fun. What happened?

You – how many lemon drops did you have? I lost count after 7, and the next thing I knew, you were standing on the bar doing the Napoleon Dynamite dance with your pants on your head. What kind of impression do you think that made? And you certainly were friendly with the innkeeper. Yes, well, I’m appreciative that he covered our bill, but do you have any recollection of our conversation in the bathroom? You sobbed and carried on for a good hour about how unloved you are, blew your nose on my blouse, and then shoved your tongue down my throat. Honestly.

Oh, you weren’t any better, Ms. Mover and Shaker! You had the whole crowd so spellbound with stories of your stint as volunteer UN peacekeeper, interspersed with inspired impromptu performances on that old piano, that nobody was at all interested in meeting me. We were there for recreation, not to freaking network. And I can’t believe you have business cards and a website for our hike. Must you publicize everything you do?

Also guys, we need to have a talk about our provisions. Fatty, every time we pass a store, you spend twenty bucks on Ben & Jerry’s and frozen pizza and then eat it all by the time the sun sets. Well, too bad! I’m not giving you any of my rations anymore; you’ll just have to wait until we get to the next crossroads. And you – for the thousandth time, we do not have the funds, nor the storage capacity for fresh salmon three times a day; I don’t care what kind of diet you’re on. And here – from now on, you carry your own damn blender. Well, there’d be more room in your knapsack if you’d ditch the laptop, the easel, and the guitar.

Look, sorry, guys. I don’t mean to yell, it’s just that I’m exhausted from running intermediary between the two of you. Between your two extremes, we’re not making any headway on this hike. If you guys would just compromise, what couldn’t we accomplish?! We’d be Thru-Hikers, guys! Guys? Fine! Fine, then – you watch your Entourage marathon, and you listen to your NPR podcasts. The hell with both of you.

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