Here’s a Mountain Metaphor

Six people: the maximum capacity for a bench on the ski lift in the small mountain town my friends and I visited for Octoberfest this past weekend. Our group consisted of two couples and me, and given that the sum of our bodies allowed for a one-person buffer between us and what I imagined would be a macabre, weight-driven tragedy, I had never been more ecstatic to play the role of fifth wheel.

We excitedly jumped on board but soon morphed into jittery hot messes once we reached the specific altitude of the mountain in which shit officially gets real. We got stuck for a moment and dangled and whined and sweated and prayed and got ready, basically, to die.

I tried to take comfort in the family-like closeness of our group—clinging to the dark thought that at least we’d all go down together—and it almost helped, but just for a moment.

“You guys, we’re only freaking out because this is like, the ultimate loss of control,” I heard my friend say from across the bench. “We have to trust that we’re not gonna fall. Why is it so hard to let go and believe that the people who constructed this thing knew what they were doing?”

“My balls are actually in my throat right now, so,” I replied, apropos of nothing and everything, and didn’t finish.

I could continue with a play-by-play of the hyperventilating and melodramatic rambling and meaning-of-life thought spiraling that ensued on my part, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just say that eventually I accepted that whether or not I freaked out, the outcome of this experience wouldn’t change. Like a lot of things, it was entirely out of our hands.

So I exhaled, the lift picked up again, and tragedy didn’t strike. And I realized that (one) friendship is everything, and (two) mountains are beautiful when seen from the safe distance of the bottom, but the views from the top are un-fucking-believable.

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I Had Strep and then Got Touched Inappropriately by a Large Bear, Kind Of

On the Sunday before the Sunday before Christmas (are you with me?), after a long day of football-watching and beer-drinking, I passed out at ten at night. Then I woke up at one in the morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. So naturally I stayed up and watched DVR-ed episodes of Super Soul Sunday all through the night until skipping my way to the gym with an inexplicable amount of energy at about five. Then I went to work, drank a gallon-ish of coffee, crashed sometime shortly after lunch, and proceeded to watch my health violently deteriorate at a staggering pace over the following two days until I was eventually forced to go to the doctor where I tested positive for strep.

The weird thing is that it wasn’t the sore throat that bothered me so much. It was more so the severe headache that lasted for forty-eight hours and was accompanied by this weird hot and cold sensation that I’ve since been told is what normal people refer to as a “fever.” I apparently hadn’t had one in so many years that I didn’t even realize what the oft-overused term actually referenced, and yes, I realize that this makes me sound about as smart as Jessica Simpson circa the “Chicken or Fish?” Incident of 2003. Totally oblivious, I aggressively blamed my office environment – alternating between the phrases, “Why is it always so fucking freezing in here?!” and, “UM, WHICH ONE OF YOU JOKESTERS TURNED THE HEAT UP TO EIGHTY?” – until a doctor told me that my temperature was 102 degrees. Then everything clicked, and I was like, “Oh. So that’s what that is.”

Though I initially wanted to address my illness with some healing affirmations and health-positive mantras, the doctor was super anti-that. So I listened to her, and as it turns out, drugs are the fucking best. I got some prescription pain meds along with a cycle of penicillin, and by Christmas Eve I was healthy and drunk and joking with my soon-to-be-married brother and his fiancée about how my Best Man speech is likely going to be eighty-percent about me and twenty-percent about them. Or maybe ninety-ten if I end up having an extra shot of whiskey beforehand and decide to be a total self-absorbed dick. Or maybe seventy-twenty-ten (the ten being Mariah Carey) if it goes over three minutes.

And so that’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks. Other highlights of my little holiday sabbatical include:

1. Tailgating and watching the last Pats game of the season in the pouring rain, but feeling too happy and tipsy and grateful for life to really give a shit about something as trivial as being soaked and freezing.

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Of course we won.

2. Ringing in the New Year up in the Catskill Mountains with some of my best friends, a pool table, and one quality cigar that may or may not have made me throw up later (as per usual when I smoke cigars atop mountains).

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And 3. Getting molested by a bear. (An actual bear. Or, rather, a bear-replica. But either way, a bear, the animal. Not to be confused with a large hairy gay man who is likely into sexual accessories of the leather variety – which, for those of you not privy to gay-lingo, is actually a thing.)

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Confession: I liked it.

In related news, I’m not making any grandiose resolutions this year, so yay! You’re spared a list. But I will say that the one word I intend to live by in 2014 is this: Simplicity. As in, not making shit unnecessarily complicated for no reason. Can you imagine a whole year of that? I’m pretty excited about it.

So here’s to a healthy, happy, grateful, healing, hilarious, adventurous, just-uncomfortable-enough-for-growth, strep-free, successful, SIMPLE year ahead! I love y’all.

 

I’m Becoming Rational and It Feels Weird (but Good-Weird?)

Last month I met up with my very talented writer buddy Steven to talk about our querying woes. In the middle of the cheesecake portion of our meeting (because with me, there’s always a cheesecake portion, and yes, I’m a Golden Girl), I got a call from a dude I talked to on OkCupid late last year, stopped talking to early this year, and then recently started talking to again in September.

He was calling to plan our much-delayed first date. He suggested hiking, I agreed, and then I hung up and analyzed the fuck out of the situation with Steven, because me.

  • Nic: So. I just agreed to go on a hiking first date. Hiking on a first date – this is a bad idea, huh?
  • Steven: OK, after having read the last few chapters of your manuscript, aren’t all of your dates hiking dates? What’s the problem?
  • Nic: No. There were only two hiking dates in the book, and they were the third and second, respectively. I’ve only ever been on one hiking first date, and that was with Far-Away Guy in August and WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT TUNRED OUT.
  • Steven: Calm down.
  • Nic: I’d rather go to that new beer garden that just opened in my town! Oh my God, this guy’s not the one. The one would have automatically known to suggest the beer garden and not hiking. I should just cancel right now and save us all time.

And that’s when Steven gave me an epic eye roll and was all, “Yeah, Nic. Cancel your date because this man you’ve never met before COULDN’T READ YOUR FUCKING MIND.”

Luckily, I was astute enough to sense Steven’s sarcasm, and so I soon realized that I was being ridiculous.

Also, I remembered that I love hiking. And so I went on the date, and that was four Saturdays ago. And we had a great time, and we’ve since seen each other three more times… and that’s all I’m going to say for now, because I’m starting to think that a four-week layover period between “dating-related thing happening” and “blogging about it” is the perfect recipe for perspective.

I think I just learned how to date (and blog) like a somewhat sane person? It only took me… OK, I just started counting the years, and that shit was depressing. Never mind.

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Taken on the date in question. NOW this is probably all foliage-y… but y’know, four weeks.

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