Thursday, January 29, 2015

Part Thirty-Seven of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Seventeen, Part Three: Cheryl Gets Not Raped

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Seven, Chapter Seventeen, Part Three: Cheryl Gets Not Raped


Cheryl starts hiking the morning after the storm nothing and says she "missed a fork in the trail" and is no longer on the PCT even though that doesn't really make sense.  You can take the wrong path at a fork, but you can't really miss a fork unless you're going out of your way to not pay attention because it's a fork and goddamnit, apparently we can add "forks" to the limitless list of things Cheryl doesn't understand.  I don't know, maybe she missed it while she was busy skipping along and keeping an eye out for Bigfoot and trying to figure out how the sky works.  It's possible.  Who even gives a shit at this point because none of this happened.

She's totally unconcerned with the fact that she's not on the trail anymore because she's an expert hiker and will undoubtedly find her way back to the trail.  She does her stupid hopscotch thing again (which I've been sparing you, but fuck it, deal with this)--

"Hop, skip, jump, done."
 
 
--and just shut the fuck up already.  She claims to encounter "a trio of enormous elks" and I don't believe this for a second because she doesn't scream, "PANDAS!" upon seeing them.
 
She stops to make camp in the evening near a pond and get ready for the big bag of bullshit that takes up the rest of the chapter, and by "get ready," I mean, go pour yourself a Big Gulp of scotch or vodka or whiskey or nail polish remover, down the whole thing like it's water, sit (or fall) down, wait for the impending blackout, and hope like you've never hoped before that you immediately have to be rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning in order to avoid having to read all this.  Are you ready?  Did you do what I suggested?  You didn't, did you.  I was trying to be helpful and you disregarded my good advice.  Well, that's your own fault, so don't blame me.
 
"Only moments" after she stops to make camp, "two bow hunters" appear. They are desperate for water and this doesn't make any sense, but we'll get to that in a minute.
 
"'You got any water?' one of them burst out immediately.
"'We can't drink the pond water, can we?' asked the other, the desperation apparent on his face." 
Is this their first time outside?  Who thinks they can drink pond water?

Cheryl describes the men and Robin Desser forgets how commas work:

"They both looked to be in their mid-thirties.  One man was sandy-haired and wiry, though he had a little belly; the other was a redhead tall and meaty enough to be a linebacker.  They both wore jeans with big buck knives hitched onto their belts and enormous backpacks that had bows and arrows slung across them."
Redhead talls are my favorite kind of men. 
 
 
Cheryl tells them that they can drink the pond water as long as it's run through a filter first and these two men are all what's-that-we-don't-have-one-of-those.  I see a couple holes in this story already and it's only just begun.  She offers to let them use her filter and I also don't believe this, but let's just go with it, right?  It'll make things more interesting.
 
Sandy takes the filter over to the pond and I guess he tries sticking it in his ear or something because he asks, "How do you use this thing?"  Before Cheryl attempts to (poorly) explain how to use it, she tells us that the men are only "up for the day hunting" and that their truck is parked three miles away.  Since Cheryl doesn't understand how miles work, she acts like they're in a dire situation and asks them if they've gone the whole day without drinking.
 
"'We brought Pepsi,' the sandy-haired man answered. 'We each had a six-pack.'"

It takes DAYS before a person will die from dehydration, and these tools apparently drank a six-pack of Pepsi EACH during that day, which means that they are both stupid, but fine.  While I imagine they may possibly have been thirsty, they were not in any sort of life-threatening position, especially given that their truck was three fucking miles away= less than an hour walk.

"'We're headed back down to our truck after this, so we only need enough water to get us another bit, but we're both dying of thirst,' the red-haired man said."
No, you're not.
 
 
Hey, look, Cheryl found another person who measures things in bits.  She gives them what little water she has left in her bottle and complains about having to help people.
 
"I felt sorry for them, but I was sorrier that they were here with me.  I was exhausted.  I ached to take off my boots and change out of my sweaty clothes, pitch my tent, and make my dinner so I could lose myself in The Ten Thousand Things."

Oh, boo-hoo, the world isn't revolving around you for a minute.  Better fix that!

"Plus, I got a funny feeling from these men, with their Pepsi and their bows and their big buck knives and the way they'd stormed right up to me."

Yeah, these stupid men with their Pepsi.  They sound super dangerous.  Trustworthy men drink Snapple.

Since Cheryl didn't bother to explain how to use the water filter very well, Sandy apparently just sticks it in some mud, attempts to pump water and breaks the filter.  Cheryl reprimands him for not following the directions she didn't give him and he is not apologetic.  Redhead Tall starts going Full Cheryl because he's "got to get something to drink," and jesus christ, just walk 45 minutes to your truck and drive to a store.  You'll make it, I promise.

Cheryl fills their empty Pepsi cans with pond water, pops in some iodine pills, tells them that the water will be safe to drink in thirty minutes and then hopes that they'll leave, but they don't.  Sandy wants to make conversation and is all heywhatchadoin and stuff, except Cheryl has to make it sound super rapey while also reminding us how beautiful she is, and Robin Desser clearly couldn't stand reading this garbage by chapter 17 and gave up.

"'So, what are you doing out here all by yourself?' asked the sandy-haired man.
"'I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail,' I said, and instantly wished I hadn't.  I didn't like the way he was looking me, openly appraising my body.
"I didn't like the way he was looking me?"  Robin, you're not even trying anymore. 
 
 
Openly appraising her body, huh?  Rawr.  Sandy goes on to say,
 
"'I can't believe a girl like you would be all alone up here.  You're way too pretty to be out here alone, if you ask me.'" 

Of course he says this.  Overcome by Cheryl's exquisite beauty, he can't help but to continue.

"'I don't believe that a young thing like her could be out here by herself, do you?' he said to his red-haired friend, as if I weren't even there."

He can't stop himself; he must say more things.

"'She's got a really nice figure, don't she?' the sandy-haired man said.  'Healthy, with some soft curves.  Just the kind I like.'"
Why is he talking like the mountain men from "Deliverance" all of the sudden?
 
 
What the fuck is this guy talking about.  Let's remember what Cheryl looked like at this point:
 
What curves?  Is he referring to her wrist fat?
 
 
 
Cheryl is super uncomfortable with all this talk about her beauty and lies to Sandy and Redhead Tall, telling them that she's gonna keep hiking and bye now!  She pretends to start packing up, they leave and whew, that was super close, something almost happened except it didn't because nothing ever happens.
 
She starts unpacking, boils some water on her stove and changes clothes, which she describes as such:
 
"I peeled off my sweaty clothes, pulled out my red fleece leggings and long-sleeved shirt, and dressed in them."
 
Thanks.  She starts to put her tent up and--
 
OMG, SANDY.  HE'S BACK.
 
Cheryl is terrified.
 
"It was as if I'd finally come across a mountain lion and I'd remembered, against all instinct, not to run.  Not to incite him with my fast motions or antagonize him with my anger or arouse him with my fear."

And what the fuck is this twat talking about.  Potential (non)rapists are not like mountain lions; they will not be "incited by fast motions."  I'm sort of surprised she doesn't start singing songs to scare him off because that totally works on bears and Bigfoot.

Sandy points out that she had told him that she was going to be moving on and he doesn't like the fact that she lied.

"'You tried to trick us.'"
*Eye roll*

"'You changed your clothes, too,' he said suggestively, and his words expanded in my gut like a spray of gunshot.  My entire body flushed with the knowledge that when I'd taken off my clothes, he'd been nearby, watching me.
"'I like your pants,' he said with a little smirk.  He took off his backpack and set it down.  'Or leggings, if that's what they're called.'" 

What man corrects himself to say leggings.  What man.  Anyway, Cheryl's pretty much shitting her pants leggings at this point and can't form words, so Sandy keeps talking to end the awkward silence.

"'I'm talking about your pants,' the man said with a touch of irritation.  'They look good on you.  They show off your hips and legs.'"

And no man talks like this, but whatever.  Cheryl needs all of her young, naïve readers to understand that Sandy is interested in her pudendum (or "pudenda," since Cheryl has more than one vagina).   Cheryl is in full survival mode now and mentally assesses all of her defense options: the world's loudest whistle, the Swiss army knife she can't get to, the "not-yet-boiling water in the handleless pot" on her stove, and finally decides that her best option is an arrow.

"If he tried to do anything to me, I'd get to one of those arrows and stab him in the throat."

Sandy continues to not rape her or do anything but just talk to her and thank goodness, Redhead Tall shows up to save the day, irritated with Sandy because he had to come back to find him, which makes no sense because they left together and-- I don't even care anymore.  None of this happened.  I'm not going to try to make sense of it.

Sandy and Readhead Tall leave, and Cheryl goes beyond Full Cheryl.  She packs up camp and, you'll never believe this, she "walked and walked."  She walks until she can't walk anymore, and ends the chapter with,

"And then I ran."

Pffffffffffft, well, that was just terrifying.  I'm so glad she's okay.




Monday, January 26, 2015

Part Thirty-Six of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Seventeen, Part Two: Cheryl is Everyone's Hero (excluding the guy at the cafe)

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Six, Chapter Seventeen, Part Two: Cheryl is Everyone's Hero (excluding the guy at the café)


Cheryl hikes into the Three Sisters Wilderness and of course she has to share all sorts of information she copied right out of her guidebook or off of Wikipedia or wherever.  Yet again, I refuse to dignify this nonsense.

Cheryl "I-Have-Six-Dollars-And-Twelve-Cents-To-My-Name" Strayed decides to take an unplanned detour to the Elk Lake Resort, a place mentioned in her guidebook, because her "endless hunger won out" and holy shit, the resort "had a café that served burgers."  Really?  That was in the guidebook?  Did they post the whole menu or something?

She arrives just before eleven in the morning and is the only customer in the place.  She says,

"I scanned the menu, did the math, and ordered a cheeseburger and fries and a small Coke,"

and we already know that Cheryl sucks at math so I wonder how this is going to turn out except oh wait, no, I don't.  She "sat eating them in a rapture" because of course she did.  Uh-oh!  Time to pay the bill!

"My bill was six dollars and ten cents."
Nice math skills, dumbass.  In America, there's this thing called "tipping."
 
 
Cheryl says that for the first time in her life, she couldn't leave a tip.  Given that she has, without exception, immediately blown nearly every fucking cent she's ever received within minutes of laying her grubby little hands on some money, I doubt this claim.  She doesn't feel right about leaving her last two pennies as a tip, so instead of leaving an actual tip, she leaves stamps.  STAMPS.  Postage stamps.  Are you fucking kidding me.  Cheryl, who supposedly used to work as a waitress, leaves STAMPS as a tip.  Bull.  Fucking.  Shit.  As she's leaving, she tells the man who served her that she couldn't give a tip, but says that she left him "something else," and,
 
"The man only shook his head and murmured something I couldn't make out."
I bet the words "fucking" and "asshole" were involved, and I also I don't believe that you "couldn't make that out."
 
 
She leaves in what I imagine was a hurry, heads down to the beach along Elk Lake and contemplates tossing the two pennies she has left into the lake to "make a wish" and I once again want to throttle her.
 
"I decided against it and put them in my shorts pocket, just in case I needed two cents between now and the Olallie Lake ranger station, which was still a sobering hundred miles away."

What the fuck are you going to do with two pennies in the middle of the wilderness.  What would you do with two pennies in civilization, for that matter?  I mean, thanks for not polluting the lake, but still.  Also, throwing money into water does not make wishes come true, you stupid asshole.  What the fuck is wrong with you.  Oh, wait, I forgot that you're an idiot.  My bad.

She then spends an entire paragraph talking about how her parents were poor and tries to compare herself to them and fuck you, Cheryl.  I'm positive that your mom and your step-father (and eventually your step-mother) did their absolute best to use every last penny they had to take care of you and your siblings instead of blowing everything on whatever shiny shit caught their attention like you do.  You're such an asshole.  I don't feel sorry for you.  Knowing that you got a $400,000 advance on the first fifty pages of this book also makes me not feel sorry for you, you fucking awful writer/asshole.  FUCK YOU.

She says that since she was "officially among the Three Sisters," she didn't have the trail to herself anymore and "passed day hikers and short-term backpackers"-- and also, oh, fuck me right in the face-- she encounters "a Boy Scout troop out for an overnight."  She then claims that the Boy Scout troop all apparently gathered 'round to listen to her bullshit because apparently there's a Heroin-Addict-Whore badge I'm unaware of.

"Do you have a gun?  Are you afraid? they asked in an echo of what I'd been hearing all summer."

[Goddamnit, Robin Desser.  That's not how dialogue works.  I'm so tired of this.  Cheryl clearly doesn't understand punctuation and apparently you don't, either.  Cheryl has an excuse because she's an idiot, but you are supposed to be a professional editor, so what the fuck.  Italicizing something does not equal dialogue, nor does it equal a book title, and that's been driving me up a wall for 17 chapters now.  You both suck at everything.  Also, while I'm at it, Cheryl and Robin clearly have differing opinions than I on the ongoing debate about the Oxford comma and, as it's a heated debate, I feel very passionately about the fact that they are wrong.]

So, yeah, Cheryl apparently gives an informative lecture to a whole goddamned Boy Scout troop about hiking in the wilderness and let's hope she told them how many condoms they need to pack and also how honey+sand= super good sex.  Always be prepared, kids!

Just when you think her ego can't get any bigger, BLAM, you're wrong.  She supposedly encounters a pair of men "who'd served in Iraq during Desert Storm and were still in the army," and pardon me all over the place for saying that she should have capitalized "army."  It isn't necessarily mandatory, but show some respect, you stupid asshole.  Try not capitalizing "Marines" and see how many minutes it takes before someone shows up at your house and shoots you in the head (Army people are not quite so crazy, but don't fuck with Marines... you better capitalize that shit).  Anyway, these two Army gentlemen ("both of them captains"), who were "clean-cut, strapping, and handsome," apparently just gush over how amazing she is--

"They insisted on lifting my pack and were stupefied to find that it was heavier than either of theirs."

Goddamnit.  You know what?  First, this is all bullshit that never happened, so I really shouldn't be getting as angry as I'm getting.  Let's pretend, though, just for giggles, that she did actually encounter two Army gentlemen.  Let's also pretend that they "insisted" on lifting her pack, which they didn't.  I'm an Army veteran and if I stumbled upon you in the wilderness, my immediate reaction would not be, "OMG, LEMME SEE HOW MUCH YOUR PACK WEIGHS, CAN I PICK IT UP?"  That's just stupid.  Then again, this is Special Snowflake Cheryl, so of course we're supposed to believe this bullshit because in Cheryl's mind, encountering her in the wilderness is pretty much the same as finding Jesus in your lint filter, or Muhammad in your dishwasher, or Xenu in your glove compartment and you should immediately fall to your knees and start worshiping because of course you fucking should.  Second, since we're pretending that this all happened because hey, why not, everyone else believes this shit and maybe the Kool-Aid is delicious, let's go ahead and suspend reality for a moment to indulge in Cheryl's fantasies except let's not.  The fact that they were "stupefied to find that it was heavier than either of theirs" in reality-speak translates into, "They thought I was a fucking idiot carrying far too much useless crap."  THAT'S WHY THEY WERE STUPEFIED, CHERYL, NOT BECAUSE YOU'RE SO AMAZING.

A friend of mine told me once that she had a secret fantasy about being out in a club or at a wedding or basically just in some public place where music was being played and the fantasy went something like this: she would start dancing and her dance moves would be so incredible that everyone else would stop dancing and form the inevitable Circle of Admirers that you see in the movies, watch in amazement as she danced and then applaud insanely upon the end of her routine.  This friend, while I love her so much, can't really dance and when she attempts to do so, there's a lot of stumbling and running into walls and falling down.  Anyway, it was a secret fantasy that I'm pretty sure she was embarrassed to admit.  With all that said, Cheryl doesn't seem to understand that her secret fantasies should stay secret and that she should be embarrassed about them instead of trying to make them into a reality.  Everyone gathered around her outside the store in Ashland to marvel over her awesomeness.  Some random Swiss lady insisted on massaging her feet.  Everyone is super impressed with her.  The Boy Scout troop apparently sat in a circle to learn from her.  Firefighters couldn't even believe she was doing what she was doing.  Two Army gentlemen were astounded with her... it goes on and on and on and all she's doing is writing out all of her fantasies as if they actually happened AND PEOPLE ARE BELIEVING THIS SHIT.

Oh, anyway.

The two Army gentlemen, who had "hauled" two cans of beer for five whole days to drink in celebration of hiking five whole days, leave a gift for Cheryl.

"'Hey, Cheryl,' one of them turned to holler once he was almost out of sight on the trail. 'We left one of our beers for you in the creek.  We did it this way so you can't say no.  We want you to have it 'cause you're tougher than us.'"

No, wrong.  No soldiers would ever say this unless they either 1) were just trying to encourage a random dumbass or 2) were the make-believe soldiers in Cheryl's fucked up mind.  Unfuckingbelievable.

She goes down to the creek to drink the one beer and I'm sure she gets totally wasted of off it.

She keeps hiking the next day--

"I walked over McKenzie Pass into the Mount Washington Wilderness, and the trail became rockier still as I crossed the basalt flows of Belknap Crater and Little Belknap." 

--and she makes a big deal out of describing the rocks because she wants all of this to sound legitimate.  I could Google the shit out of the PCT and probably come up with more believable lies than Cheryl.

Blah, blah, blah, she hikes some more, describes the weather and I don't care at this point.  She finally finds a place to camp for the night and,

"In the time it took to pitch my tent and filter a bottle of water with my insufferably slow water purifier, the wind started up again in great violent gasps, whipping the branches of the trees overhead."

Oh, for Christ's sake, she says that she's "never been in a mountain storm," reminds herself to not be afraid and I can't even anymore.

Nothing happens because Cheryl has never been in a mountain storm in her fantasy world and therefore doesn't know how to describe one.  Because of this, the storm just disappears.  She hears "coyotes yipping in the distance, as if they were celebrating the fact that the coast was clear," and I didn't realize that you were the Coyote Whisperer, just shut the fuck up.

She goes outside to pee and "two bright pairs of eyes gazed back" at her and whatever, sure, I bet it was Bigfoot.

"I never found out whose they were.  An instant later they were gone."

So am I.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Part Thirty-Five of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Seventeen, Part One: Cheryl Doesn't Fuck Three Guys

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Five, Chapter Seventeen, Part One: Cheryl Doesn't Fuck Three Guys


Chapter seventeen starts out with Cheryl comparing her hike through the Oregon section of the PCT to hopscotch.  Hopscotch.  Cheryl thinks this is profoundly clever and will repeatedly make this comparison even though it's beyond fucking stupid and only a person who doesn't understand hiking would compare hiking the PCT to a children's playground game, but then again, Cheryl is just so amazing that I'm sure... oh, forget it.

Cheryl has 334 miles left to skippity-skip until reaching her final destination and she makes a big deal about how there are gonna be fresh, wild berries to be eaten along the way.  I immediately hope she won't be able to tell the difference between edible and poisonous berries and will die a painful, horrible death, or at least suffer something akin to what I'm going through by writing this fucking review.  Sadly, this doesn't happen.

She dazzles us with her awesome writing skills:

"It was cold.  It was hot."
 
 
She complains about her "tree-bark-plucked-dead-chicken flesh" on her hips again, claiming that it "grew another layer."  Her feet hurt, blah, blah, blah, she starts hiking half-days-- "going only seven or eight miles" and whatever, Cheryl, those sound like full days for you-- and then writes another sentence fragment about her stupid feet because she doesn't understand how sentences work:
 
"Like I'd done something profound and irreversible to them by carrying all this weight over so many miles of punishing terrain."

She ends the paragraph with, "at day's end I was still pretty much shattered," and just shut the fuck up already.  I'm so tired of your bullshit.

She writes more lies about her pretend hike that I can't even deal with anymore and ends it with,

"...when I would collapse, utterly demolished, in my tent."

Just fucking stop.  Profound, shattered, demolished... just stop.  I can't do this anymore.

She reaches Shelter Cove Resort, "bored with the trail," and immediately buys a bottle of Snapple lemonade because of course.  The man behind the counter tells her that she can camp for free and that there are dollar-showers available.

"I only had ten dollars left," and goddamnit, what is wrong with you.

She locates the showers and,

"When I stepped inside, I was pleased to see that it was a one-person affair."

What the fuck did you expect it be, some sort of wilderness shower orgy?  Just-- I don't even.

She takes a look at herself in the mirror before taking a shower to take inventory of her exquisite beauty and I shit you not, she says this big pile of nonsense:

"It wasn't only my feet that had been destroyed by the trail, but it seemed my hair had been too... as if I were slowly but surely turning into a cross between Farrah Fawcett in her glory days and Gunga Din at his worst." 

Goddamnit, Cheryl.  First of all, you and your fat head and your cankles did not, do not and will never look anything like "Farrah Fawcett in her glory days."  Allow this picture to illustrate:

Nice legs, Farrah.
 
 
Second, what's with the Gunga Din reference.  That makes no fucking sense whatsoever.  This is yet another example of Cheryl attempting to seem super smart and well-read and failing miserably.  Go ahead, look up Rudyard Kipling's "Gunga Din."  Tell me if I'm missing something, like how Cheryl is just like an Indian water-boy who sacrifices her own life to save someone who treated her badly, and how this would in any way translate to her appearance.  Go ahead.  Enlighten me.
 
She finishes with her stupid shower, goes back to loiter on the porch of the store and BAM:
 
Here come The Three Young Bucks.
 
 
Three young men appear and once again Cheryl uses her super-human power of deduction to conclude that these men are PCT hikers.  She goes full out in describing them:
 
"One was tall.  One was blond.  One had intense eyes."

The Blond One says that they'd been following her "a long way," and Mr. Intense Eyes claims that they saw her "tracks on the trail," while The Tall One says, "We've been reading your notes in the trail register," AND WHERE ARE THESE FUCKING NOTES.  I WANT TO SEE THE TRAIL REGISTER FROM 1995 AND I CANNOT, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, FIND IT ANYWHERE.

They tell her that they'd been trying to determine her age and,

"'I hope you're not disappointed,' I said, and we laughed and blushed."

Really?  All four of you blushed?  Stupid.

One of them asks if she's been given a trail name yet and Cheryl lies, saying, "Not that I know of," even though I seem to remember 'Hapless Hiker' being her given moniker a few chapters ago.  Of course, Cheryl didn't like that name-- she wanted to be the "hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen"-- so she's going to just ignore that like it never happened.  She goes on to explain that Rick, Josh and Richie were known as The Three Young Bucks and spends a paragraph gushing over them--

"They hadn't even stopped in Ashland.  They hadn't danced to the Dead or eaten chewable opium or had sex with anyone pressed up against a rock on a beach."

--and geez, it's like they don't understand hiking at all. 

Because Cheryl is Cheryl,

"Being in their company felt like a holiday."

Ugh.

They all camp together for the night and pick up their resupply boxes in the morning.  When Cheryl opens her box, she realizes that the $20 she'd been looking forward to was not in the box, and she tries to avoid having what should have been a complete meltdown because omg, there are boys around.

"It was embarrassing to me that I was constantly broke,"

and good, you should be embarrassed, you stupid twat.  She loads her food into her bag, "sick with the knowledge that I'd have to hike 143 miles to my next box with only six dollars and twelve cents" and what the fuck, Cheryl. 

She and the Three Young Bucks all head out and she claims that she was "crisscrossing with them all day," and I can't even begin to understand the logistics of that, but I've given up trying to make any logical sense of her bullshit story.  She talks about how "their ribs showed right through" when they took their shirts off and then tries to pretend that she's not obsessed with her own appearance even though she clearly is because she's bringing it up.  Again.

"I didn't much care anymore whether I was fat or thin."
That's probably for the best, Cankles.
 
 
The Three Young Bucks leave her in the dust because she can't hike with anyone for more than 5 minutes and then, upon stopping for the night, she rips off another toenail, which is the fifth one now and it's also the fifth time I don't believe that she's ripped off one of her toenails.
 
She climbs into her tent and starts reading The Ten Thousand Things until she hears an owl and tries to communicate with it.
 
"'Who-whoo,' I called back to it, and the owl was silent.
"'Who-whoo,' I tried again.
"'Who-whoo,' it replied."

Thank god this day is finally over.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Part Thirty-Four of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Sixteen: Cheryl Eats Her Mom

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Four, Chapter Sixteen: Cheryl Eats Her Mom


Chapter Sixteen starts off with Cheryl copying-and-pasting a bunch of information about Crater Lake and I'm not going to entertain this because-- again-- if you want to know about something, do your own research.  Don't listen to stupid fucking Cheryl Strayed.

She starts hiking away from Ashland and, with Crater Lake in mind, says,

"I knew a little something about lakes, having come from Minnesota,"

and goddamnit, you could be from fucking anywhere and still know a little something about lakes.  She's so special.  She tries to imagine what Crater Lake will be like and fails:

"It would be like Lake Superior, I supposed, the lake near which my mother had died, going off blue forever into the horizon."
Lakes are made of water!
 
 
I know a little something about lakes: the area of Crater Lake is 21 square miles, while the area of Lake Superior is 31,700 square miles.  In Cheryl's stupid brain, this is essentially the same thing because she is an idiot and this is when I want to punch myself in the face until I fall blessedly into a coma.
 
Cheryl had picked up a copy of The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 2: Oregon and Washington back in Ashland and let's see what kind of overwrought bullshit she has to say about it:
 
"I had a new guidebook now.  A new bible."
Oh, hey, look at that.
 

She treats her new bible the way she treated her last one: she "paged through the book before falling asleep, reading bits here and there," because Cheryl doesn't understand how bibles work.  She's pretty much saying that she read just enough of it to come up with some semi-believable lies about how she's going to pretend-hike the Oregon passage of the trail and let's get this bullshit started.

She finally starts hiking again and plagiarizes more of her guidebook in order to pretend as if she's capable of identifying different kinds of trees and is also constantly aware of the elevation of everything.  She mentions how it's getting cooler with every passing day and I wonder if she understands how the seasons work.  She claims to run into some "day hikers and overnight backpackers," but doesn't say anything about them other than that they exist and isn't that convenient.

She spends a cold night in her tent, "chilled to the bone, too cold even to read," and oh my goodness, too cold even to read?  Boo-hoo.  All of her water freezes because no it doesn't and then, oh Christ, it's time to spend seven goddamned pages talking about her dead mom because the In-N-Out Secret Menu name of this book is "Mom: From Mom to Mom on my Mom."

Anyway, it's her mom's stupid birthday and it's the year she would have turned fifty, so of course Cheryl is going to have the meltdown to end all meltdowns and it starts off like this:

"I couldn't believe how furious I was at my mother for not being alive on her fiftieth birthday.  I had the palpable urge to punch her in the mouth."
The fuck?
 
 
Well, that sounds normal.  She then tells us about what she did on every past dead-mom birthday as if this has anything to do with hiking the PCT and I wonder once again why I ever bought this book in the first place.  She stomps through the wilderness while making a mental list of everything her mother ever did wrong.  Yes.  Cheryl is about to hard-core judge her dead mother and it's going to be everything you'd expect from an asshat like Cheryl.  She lists her complaints in numerical order:
 
1.  Her mom smoked pot "on an occasional but regular basis," which doesn't make sense.  She either did it regularly or occasionally.  There's a difference.  She may as well have said her mom "usually always" smoked pot.  Same thing.  Anyway, STFU, Cheryl.  You're supposed to be a big heroin addict.  What did pot ever do to anyone?
2.  Her mom told them (Cheryl, Karen and Leif) that they were old enough to be left at home alone when they were younger because she couldn't afford a babysitter.  What a bitch, clearly.
3.  Her mom threatened to spank them with a spoon and omfg, she actually followed through a few times.  Oh no, discipline!  Asshole!
4.  She told her children it was cool if they wanted to call her by her first name instead of calling her Mom.  THE HORROR.
5.  She could be "cool and distant with her friends," and I don't believe this for a second for two reasons:  first, her mom sounds like a friendly, happy person and second, Cheryl takes a whole goddamned paragraph trying to convince us that her mom was actually a cool, distant person and this is the reason why "no one had swooped in when she died...why her friends had left me in peace in my inevitable exile."  Cheryl can't come to terms with the thought that maybe no one swooped in because she is a self-absorbed, sociopathic asshole and no one wanted anything to do with her.
6.  Further proving my assumption from the reason above, Cheryl's sixth complaint was that her mother was "optimistic to an annoying degree."  OH NO, OPTIMISM, WE CAN'T HAVE THAT! WHAT A STUPID BITCH, HOW DARE SHE BE OPTIMISTIC!
7.  This is my favorite one.  Cheryl's mom never suggested that Cheryl should attend Harvard or Yale.  Even though Cheryl admits that they never would have let her in because she wasn't "up to their standards," she was "smashed" (*eye-roll*) that her mom never suggested that she apply to two Ivy League schools that never would have even considered her in the first place.  WORST.  MOM.  EVER.

She makes a big production about how her mom had "failed her," and then,

"Fuck her, I thought, so mad that I stopped walking." 
TAKE THAT, DEAD PERSON!
 
 
She spends an entire paragraph continuing to bitch about stupid shit until she goes into victim mode like she always does and says things like, "I was motherless," and "I was trapped by her but utterly alone," and blah blah blah.
 
She says "fuck her" again and starts "marching" super fast, her "pace quickened" by her rage, but then she stops and touches a flower and suddenly everything is fine and she loves her mom again because that's how flowers work.
 
We then have to suffer through a flashback of her dying mother and her dying wishes, during which Cheryl acts like an asshole-- "I wanted to throttle her"-- because how dare a dying person have anything to say, until it's finally decided that her mother would like to be cremated.
 
She talks about bringing her mother's ashes home and storing them until what would have been her mother's next birthday, on which day she and her siblings would spread them on a patch of their land.  Since nothing can happen without Cheryl making it about herself, she decides to palm "a few of the largest chunks" of her mother's bones and then, I shit you not,
 
"I put her burnt bones into my mouth and swallowed them whole."
Have fun shitting those out, idiot.
 
 
I can't.  I don't even.  For real, I just... I got nothing.  I'm just sitting here like a person who has been tied down and forced to witness 120,479 non-stop hours of insanity and all I can do is shrug and be like, "Yep, that was probably crazy, but whatevs, everybody.  Whatevs."  I've lost my capacity to be shocked.  I'm pretty sure I'm not even a real person anymore.
 
The stupid flashback is over and we're back on the PCT just in time for Cheryl to camp for the night.  She loves her mom again and I don't even care, and she sits in her tent while reading The Best American Essays 1991 and just shut the fuck up already with the books you're pretending to read.  She ends the whole disaster of a paragraph with a disaster of a non-sentence:
 
"How it was she belonged to me profoundly, and also how she didn't."
Stop saying "profound."
 
 
 
She continues with yet another dead-mom flashback and I don't even care at this point.
 
The flashback ends as clumsily as it began and we're back on the PCT.  Cheryl hears coyotes and says, "it didn't scare me," and pffffffft, this is a woman who was afraid of a fox, so... whatever.  She realizes that her hike will be over in a month and,
 
"Most likely I'd be in Portland, if for no other reason than that I was flat broke.  I still had a small bit of money left over from Ashland, but nothing that wouldn't be gone by the time I reached the Bridge of the Gods."
I'm pretty sure Suze Orman would murder you with her bare hands at this point.
 
 
MONEY DOES NOT COME IN INCREMENTS OF BITS, PLEASE STOP.  Also-- and I hate to skip ahead, but at this point, no, I don't-- four pages from now, she will say that she has only TEN DOLLARS LEFT.  Ten fucking dollars.  Out of the $250 she had.  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU. 
 
Who even cares, and she arrives at Crater Lake.  Get a load of this crap:
 
"'Because the lake is so pure and deep, it absorbs every color of visible light except blue, so it reflects pure blue back to us,' said a stranger who stood beside me, answering the question I'd nearly uttered out loud in my amazement."

And who the fuck is this "stranger."  My guess is that *this stranger* is a passage from her guidebook that she plagiarized because everything she says is a lie.  She then ACTUALLY WRITES THIS: "I took a few photographs of buildings that had been built to accommodate tourists," and please forgive me for my caps-attack-- WHERE THE FUCK ARE THESE PICTURES, AND WHY, OUT OF ALL THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY, DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE PHOTOS OF FUCKING BUILDINGS, AND FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU.

Readers.  I want you to know-- I've been sitting here, rocking back and forth, shaking my head in an insane way and muttering non-words under my breath while trying to grasp the bullshit that's about to happen--

"...if I'd continued with the pregnancy...I'd be giving birth to a baby right about now.  The week of my mother's birthday would've been my due date."

And pardon me all over the place, but this asshole had an abortion and mentioned it offhandedly in the same sentence as making dehydrated tuna flakes-- THE SAME SENTENCE--  so I feel the opposite of pity for her right now, and antonyms of pity do not cut it.  I am disgusted by her mention of this because she brings it up to make us feel sorry for her.  FUCK YOU FOR EVER LIVING, CHERYL.  FUCK YOU.  YOUR LIES WILL BECOME PUBLIC ONE DAY AND I HOPE YOU LOSE EVERYTHING, YOU LYING SOCIOPATH.

Fuck the rest of this chapter.  She goes to a cafeteria at Crater Lake-- oh, look, Cheryl is somewhere easily accessible by car-- and ends the chapter with a bunch of bullshit about herself and isn't that shocking.

THREE CHAPTERS LEFT AND I CAN FINALLY GET BACK TO MY LIFE.
 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Part Thirty-Three of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Fifteen, Part Three: Cheryl's Pudendum Gets Some Action

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Three, Chapter Fifteen, Part Three:  Cheryl's Pudendum Gets Some Action


We left off with Cheryl and Jonathon doing I don't even want to know in his house tent because nobody had a condom, but apparently it was a whole mess of I don't want to know because,

"It was fun.  It was more than fun.  It was like a festival in that tent.  We fell asleep at six and woke up two hours later, exhausted, but awake, our bodies too out of whack to sleep any more."
 
 
 
Jonathon says that it's his day off and suggests they go to the beach.  Stupid fucking idiot Cheryl "consented without knowing where exactly the beach might be," and jesus christ, she apparently doesn't understand what beaches are, but I guess this shouldn't be all that surprising seeing as she also doesn't understand what mountains or deserts are, either, but still, are you fucking kidding me.  They drive to the coastal town of Brookings and Cheryl states,
 
"I half regretted agreeing to come and not only because my interest in Jonathon was waning, but because we'd been driving for three hours.  It seemed odd to be so far from the PCT, as if I were betraying it in some way,"

and shut the fuck up, you've betrayed pretty much everyone in your life, why should this bother you.  They get to the beach and oh, for fuck's sake, isn't this convenient for her dramatic bullshit-- she'd "been at this very beach before, with Paul," and shut your stupid fucking mouth, you liar.  Anyway, sure, she's been at this very beach before with her ex-husband and there isn't a gif in existence to illustrate my exasperation/disgust/fury/murderous impulse so you're just going to have to visualize what my face looks like right now.  It's beautiful, I'm sure.

Cheryl (ROBIN DESSER, DON'T THINK FOR A MINUTE THAT YOU'RE GOING TO COME AWAY FROM THIS UNSCATHED) says this big pile of a sentence fragment:

"Who I'd been when I'd been here with Paul and what I'd thought would happen and what did and who I was now and how everything had changed."

THAT IS NOT A FUCKING SENTENCE.  IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE AT ALL.  I FUCKING HATE YOU SO MUCH.  Go ahead, go back and try reading that "sentence" without your brain exploding in retaliation.  No, really,  Do it.

"Jonathon didn't ask what I was thinking about, though I'd gone quiet,"

and no shit, you stupid asshole, he does not care about you or any of your bullshit thoughts and he's made this perfectly clear.  He just wants to get laid.  So do you.  Shut the fuck up already.

Jonathon suggests a spot on the beach and Cheryl decides to go off walking on her own because... I can't even finish this sort of sentence anymore.  She goes off to collect "pretty rocks" along the beach and what the fuck is it with people collecting rocks on the beach.  Anyway, she keeps walking until she's out of Jonathon's view and takes a moment to write Paul's name in the sand because, forget it, I can't deal with this fuckery.  Let's allow Cheryl to have her stupid epiphany that makes no sense:

"I didn't want to hurt for him anymore, to wonder whether in leaving him I'd made a mistake, to torment myself with all the ways I'd wronged him.  What if I forgave myself? I thought.  What if I forgave myself even though I'd done something I shouldn't have?  What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I'd done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do?  What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn't do anything differently than I had done?  What if I'd actually wanted to fuck every one of those men?  What if heroin had taught me something?  What if yes was the right answer instead of no?  What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn't have done was what also had got me here?  What if I was never redeemed?  What if I already was?"

 
 
 
 
 
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH THAT PARAGRAPH THAT I CAN'T EVEN FUNCTION ANYMORE.
 
Oh my god, I think I'm having a stroke.
 
Forgive me for saying so, but fuck all of you for enjoying this blog so much.  I want to walk away right now because doing this isn't healthy for me anymore.
 
Since you don't care, let's continue.
 
Cheryl makes her way back to Jonathon, asks if he wants her dumb rocks that she'd collected and Jonathon declines, instead opting to spread out a little pre-fuck picnic and oh, jesus, here we go.
 
Jonathon reaches over "with his finger full of honey," smears it all over Cheryl's maw and kisses it off, "biting [her] ever so gently at the end," and goddamnit.  Then this almost-sentence happens:
 
"And so began a seaside honey fantasia."

I hate you so much.

Jonathon whips out a whole damn package of condoms and then the two of them have what I can only imagine is pretty much the worst sex ever because it involves honey and sand and my vagina hurts just from the thought of this.  Cheryl refers to her ass as her "rump," and jesus christ, you'd think a big whore like Cheryl could come up with better terms, but then again, this is Cheryl and we shouldn't be surprised at this point.  They have honey-sand sex right there on the beach and I throw up on my couch.

They drive three hours back to Ashland and neither one of them has anything to say to one another.  They finally arrive at Cheryl's hostel and end their "twenty-two-hour date."  Jonathon pretends to want to keep in touch and Cheryl gives him her friend Lisa's address and thank fucking god this is over.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Part Thirty-Two of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Fifteen, Part Three: Cheryl Makes Really Good Decisions

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Two, Chapter Fifteen, Part Three: Cheryl Makes Really Good Decisions


We left off with Cheryl rubbing her naughty bits and fantasizing about Jonathon, the random guy she met at the club, while simultaneously declaring that "under no circumstances" would she take her pants off on her upcoming date with Jonathon, further proving that everything she says is a lie.

She wakes up and spends the whole fucking day obsessing over the date and "imagining the things we might do," stressing again, "with my pants still on," and who does she think she's kidding.

It's finally almost date time, so she goes to the co-op to abuse their sample section again, puts on some lipstick that sounds just awful-- "Plum Hazel"-- and douses herself in some perfumed oil before heading to the club.

There's a "fairly famous bluegrass band from the Bay Area" playing at the club and Cheryl neglects to mention the name of the band because that's the sort of thing that could easily be looked up and we can't have that.  Cheryl then spends an obscene amount of time acting like a 14-year-old and since I had to read this pap, you're gonna read it, too.

"The music was good, but I couldn't focus on it because I was trying so hard to seem content and perfectly at ease, as if I would be at this very club listening to this very band whether Jonathon had invited me or not, and, most of all, to be neither looking nor not looking at Jonathon, who was looking at me every time I looked at him, which then made me worry that he thought I was always looking at him because what if it was only a coincidence that every time I looked at him he was looking at me and he wasn't actually looking at me always, but only in the moments that I looked at him..."
Oh my fucking god, please shut up. 

She doesn't look at him "for three whole songs" until she "couldn't take it anymore," and holy fuck, Jonathon waves at her.

"I waved back."
Good job.
 
Then this happens:
 
"I turned away and stood extra still and upright, acutely aware of myself as an object of hot and exquisite beauty,"

and are you fucking kidding me.  But wait, Cheryl starts to second-guess her exquisite beauty, calls herself "a hideous beast," points out how she has a fat belly, recognizes that her lipstick color is ridiculous and generally has a complete body-image meltdown and this is probably one of those passages where all of her stupid fans were all, "I totally get how you feel, you're so awesome, omg," while my response to this very same passage was, "Please die."

The band takes a break and Jonathon shows up long enough to suggest that after he gets off work, they should go to his "organic farm about fifteen miles from here," and what woman would agree to be driven fifteen miles into the middle of nowhere at night by a strange man.  Answer: Cheryl Strayed.

Cheryl decides to leave the club until Jonathon's shift is over and thank god for that because I can't take another second of her juvenile bullshit about who's-looking-at-whom.  Unfortunately, things get just as stupid outside.

Cheryl "walked giddily out into the night" because omg, a boy is interested in her and she's such an awesome feminist.  As she's assumedly skipping around in little circles like an asshole, some bearded mountain man approaches her and introduces himself, saying that his name is Clyde, he lives in a tepee in the mountains and he would very much like to have a cup of tea with Cheryl in his "old milk truck" that is also his house.  Once again, no woman would agree to do this, but Cheryl jumps at the opportunity to get into a strange man's milk truck house to drink a beverage he's going to prepare for her because that sounds super safe.

Upon entering his bizarre little mobile home,

"I kicked off my new sandals and lay across the bed,"

and jesus, why not just scrawl "I'm Asking For It" on your forehead and whip your pants off as long as you're making yourself at home.  I can't believe this woman.

They almost have a discussion about reincarnation but Cheryl's too dumb to have anything interesting to say, and that's when Clyde pulls out some "chewable opium" which big heroin addict Cheryl immediately shoves into her maw before having what resembles an intelligent thought:

"It took a moment for me to realize that maybe it would be best to steer entirely clear of opium, or any other root that a strange man gave me, for that matter, regardless of how nice and non-threatening he seemed."
What is wrong with you.  Really.  What.
 
 
Don't worry, everybody.   She leaves unharmed and I throw my copy of the book against the wall four or five times while shouting obscenities until Jonathon gets off work and DATE TIME!
 
Stupid Cheryl gets into Jonathon's car so they can go to his farm and everything about this seems totally safe.
 
"He turned down one road and another until I had absolutely no sense of where I was,"

and am I the only one who's wondering how long it's going to take before it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.  Oh, if only.  Anyway, they finally arrive at Jonathon's "organic farm" and it turns out that Jonathon doesn't actually have a house, but rather "a large boxy tent that was erected on a wooden platform" and whatever, sure.

They start talking about music and that's when Jonathon says that he's seen Michelle Shocked three whole times and Cheryl is super impressed with this.

"'Wow,' I said, realizing there was no way I was going to keep my pants on with a man who'd seen Michelle Shocked three times,"

and shut the fuck up, Cheryl.  He could have said pretty much anything and you would have had the same reaction.

"'Wow,' I said, realizing there was no way I was going to keep my pants on with a man who liked turtles."
 
 
 
They have a super deep conversation:
 
"'Wow, he said back to me, his brown eyes finding mine in the dark.
"'Wow,' I said.
"'Wow,' he repeated."

Jesus Christ, I almost wish they would start banging already just so the dialogue will stop.  They stand outside for god knows how long and he says "rad" and Cheryl says "rad" and then Cheryl demonstrates her awesome writing skills: "we stood there kissing and kissing" until Jonathon finally leads her into his house tent and then ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, NO ONE HAS A CONDOM.  What.  The.  Fuck.  We've been reading about her goddamned condoms for chapters on end now and she didn't bring the fucking condom with her.  Jonathon doesn't have one, either, and this is just so shocking, I can't believe a man who lives in a tent and has also seen Michelle Shocked three times isn't getting tons of ass left and right.  They deal with the situation.

"'It's okay,' he whispered, taking both of my hands into his.  'We can just hang out.  There are a lot of things we can do, actually.'"

Oh, for Christ's sake.

"And so we commenced kissing.  And kissing and kissing and kissing,"

and HOW THE FUCK IS THIS A BEST-SELLING BOOK.  HOW. 

Cheryl takes her shirt off and shows off her new bra and Jonathon pretends to be impressed with the bra even though he's a guy and guys really don't give a shit about bras.  They care about what's in the bra.  He apparently spends goddamned forever running his fingers over her stupid bra and, oh god, please someone kill me.

"By the time he'd finished outlining the whole thing, he'd barely touched me and yet I was so wet I could hardly stand up."

Gross.  They kiss and dry-hump or whatever and then take a break long enough to compare ages because that's totally what everybody does in the middle of making out.  Jonathon is thirty-four and we know Cheryl is twenty-six, and get a load of this nonsense:

"Like in spite of the fact that he'd failed to ask me anything about myself, at least I was in bed with a man who wasn't a boy anymore."

I don't even.  I just can't.

They keep making out, Cheryl finally admits her insecurity about her rough skin patches, Jonathon doesn't give half a shit, they make out some more and do god knows what (we are thankfully spared the details) and despite desperately wanting to be done with this chapter, I can't deal with this anymore today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Part Thirty-One of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Fifteen, Part Two: OMG, Cheryl Has a Date

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-One, Chapter Fifteen, Part Two: OMG, Cheryl Has a Date


We left off with Susanna from Switzerland about to massage Cheryl's feet because that's the sort of thing that happens if you're Cheryl Strayed or a person who can't differentiate between lame fantasies and reality.  I neglected to mention Cheryl's brand new necklace in my last post because my bullshit threshold has its limits and I just couldn't deal with it, but today is a new day.  Supposedly, Cheryl's friend mailed her a homemade necklace that said "STRAYED," but, according to Cheryl, "it looked like it said STARVED because the Y was slightly different from all the other letters," and I have so many problems with this.  If the 'Y' looked like a 'V,' the word would appear as "STRAVED," not "starved," and unless Cheryl and everyone else on the planet is dyslexic... oh, who even cares at this point.

[Blogger's Note: I tried to find a picture of this necklace and could find nothing.  The only photos that came up in my search were too distant/too blurry to make the necklace out, assuming it was even the same necklace.]

Anyway, Susanna had asked, "What does this mean on your necklace-- that you are starved?" and Cheryl decides to run with this theme because she loves writing stupid, overwrought shit.  Just wait.

Crazy Swiss Lady disappears without another word-- we don't get a description of her spiritual foot massage-- and Cheryl sits outside the co-op while trying to make us feel sorry for her again:

"And so it went, for the next couple of hours, as I hung out in front of the co-op.  I was starved.  I didn't feel like myself anymore.  I felt only like a bucket of desire, a hungry, wilted thing."

Since Cheryl is the most amazing person ever to have lived and everyone is in awe of her,

"One person gave me a vegan muffin, another a quinoa salad that had grapes in it.  Several approached to admire my horse tattoo or to inquire about my backpack."

and oh, just shut the fuck up.  First of all, her backpack should be of no interest to anyone, and second, her tattoo isn't anything to get excited about, either:

BFD.
 
 
 
But whatever, in Cheryl World, people just can't help themselves and feel the need to shower her with free everything and marvel at her awesomeness.
 
Stacy shows up and Cheryl is all,
 
 
 
 
 
and even though Stacy offers to loan her some money, Cheryl declines and decides to check the post office one more time.  The I'm-in-no-mood-for-your-bullshit post office lady is still there and retrieves Cheryl's package.  Cheryl tries to be a bitch--
 
"'So it was here all along,' I said, but she didn't care, replying that she simply must not have seen it before."

--but was "too ecstatic to be angry," so she takes her package and happily skips away to the hostel with Stacy.  She checks in, makes a huge production out of taking a shower, and then spends some time checking out how hot she looks in the mirror before putting on her sexy bra and panties and omg, so hot.  She'd neglected to send herself any normal shoes and has to wear her hiking boots with her sexy new outfit, so we can only imagine that she now looks like some sort of lumberjack-hooker-- if that's a thing, and it probably isn't, but I know you're visualizing it right now and you're welcome-- but she's so breathtakingly beautiful that it won't matter.

Cheryl goes to dinner with Stacy and Stacy's friend, Dee, and I don't know where the hell Dee came from and I'm too fucking sick of this book to try to figure it out, but whatever, now there's a person named Dee in the picture and who the fuck cares because Dee goes off to sleep after dinner and we never hear about her again.  Anyway, they go out for dinner.

"At dinner with Stacy and Dee, I ordered everything I desired."  

I wonder how long it's going to take her to blow every last penny of the $250 she sent herself in this package.

After dinner, she goes to a shoe store and buys some "Merrell sports sandals" and then she and Stacy go to a club where she blows more money on wine.  Stacy leaves because she's a real hiker and plans on heading out early the next morning, but Cheryl stays to dance and of course a man immediately comes onto her because she's so breathtaking.  His pick-up line is stupid and Cheryl is having none of it, and just when we think maybe Cheryl is starting her promised transformation-- you know, maybe this is the beginning of the "found" part from the title-- nope, she's still the same Cheryl and here we go.

Some guy who works at the club says, "Hey," and Cheryl says, "Hey," and isn't this a classic romance already.  Club employee guy is wearing a t-shirt that says WILCO on it and holy shit, Cheryl knows that band so obviously this is going to end in sex because of course it is.  Despite the music being super loud, these two assholes try to have a conversation and someone please kill me.  Wilco asks her where she's from and even though Cheryl had been all excited to be around "people who knew nothing of the PCT," she immediately tries to tell him all about the PCT as if he gives even half a shit.  He yells something back and she can't hear him over the music, but don't worry, she's still enjoying herself because of,

"the wonderful way his lips brushed against my hair and his breath tickled my neck so I could feel it all the way down my body."

Ugh.  She asks him to repeat himself so that he'll make her feel all tingly again and it turns out that he's working late but that he'd be off at eleven the following night and guess who won't be doing any hiking the next day because of this information.  She gives him her stupid name so he can put her on the guest list because apparently there are super exclusive clubs right there on the PCT.

She leaves the club and acts like a 14-year-old girl.

"I had a date.  Did I have a date?  I walked the warm streets second-guessing myself.  Maybe my name wouldn't be on the list, after all.  Maybe I'd misheard him.  Maybe it was ridiculous to go on a date with someone I'd barely spoken to and whose main appeal was that he was good-looking and he liked Wilco.  I'd certainly done such things with men based on far less, but this was different.  I was different.  Wasn't I?"
No, you're still a stupid whore.
 
 
She goes back to the hostel, gets in bed and spends an hour fondling herself and using words incorrectly.
 
"I lay awake for an hour, running my hands over my body, imagining what it would feel like to Jonathon if he touched it the next night: the mounds of my breasts and the plain of my abdomen, the muscles of my legs and the coarse hair on my pudenda--"

Oh, for fuck's sake.  First of all, who says pudenda.  Second, it's pudendum, you stupid asshole.  Pudenda is the plural.  [GOOD JOB YET AGAIN, ROBIN DESSER!  YOU'RE AN AMAZING EDITOR.]  She feels the "palm-sized patches" on her hips that "felt like a cross between tree bark and a plucked dead chicken" and decides,

"under no circumstances while on my date tomorrow could I take off my pants."
GUESS AGAIN. 


We'll suffer through her date in the next installment.  I know.  I'm excited, too.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Part Thirty of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Fifteen, Part One: The Quaint Swiss Custom I've Never Heard Of

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty, Chapter Fifteen, Part One: The Quaint Swiss Custom I've Never Heard Of


We're now in Part Five of the book, entitled "Box of Rain," which is a title she stole from a Grateful Dead song.  Chapter Fifteen is also called "Box of Rain" because Cheryl is really good at repeating herself.

We start out with Cheryl just miles away from the Oregon border and as she's hiking, her very special I'll-never-ever-take-this-off POW bracelet gets caught on a branch, goes flying off into the wilderness and I can't believe I forgot to tell you-- she also lost her sacred Bob Marley t-shirt back in Chapter 13 after leaving it on a bush to dry and promptly forgetting about it-- so this is now at least the third instance of Cheryl littering in the wilderness: her boots, her t-shirt and now her bracelet and jesus christ, we should be able to validate her story just by following the trail of Cheryl debris she sprinkled all over the PCT.  Anyway, she loses the bracelet and because nothing can ever just be what it is, Cheryl has to be all Cheryl about it:

"It seemed absurd that I'd lose the bracelet at this very moment, a clear omen of trouble ahead."
Or maybe it means you're a careless shithead who enjoys littering in the wilderness.
 
 
Why does everything have to have some secret, special meaning.  Honestly.  She blames it on the universe because if we've learned anything so far, it's that nothing is ever Cheryl's fault.
 
She finally crosses into Oregon and signs the trail register:  "I made it!"  She passes more cows and does what she always does in such instances.
 
"'Hello, Oregon cows,' I called to them."

She camps for the night and starts reading J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians and where the fuck did that book come from, but she can't concentrate because all she can think about is arriving in Ashland.

"In Ashland there would be food, music, and wine, and people who knew nothing of the PCT."

First, I'm pretty sure people in Ashland are familiar with the PCT since, you know, IT'S ON THE PCT, and second, why should it be so exciting to be around people who supposedly won't know anything about the PCT?  Is it so Cheryl can lie her ass off about her fake hike and no one will be the wiser?

 
 
 
She's super stoked about the package waiting for her in Ashland because this was originally supposed to be her final stop on the trail, so instead of food and supplies, this package contains $250 in traveler's checks, her favorite jeans, a slim-fitting black T-shirt, a brand new black lace bra and matching panties and oh, god, just brace yourselves.  This is going to be a long, traumatizing chapter.
 
Cheryl strolls into Ashland the next day and finds out that Jerry Garcia has died.  Even though Cheryl isn't really a Grateful Dead fan, she makes a big to-do about it because of course she does.  She tries to explain how Kurt Cobain's death was a super big tragedy just so she can make it about herself--
 
"Kurt Cobain's death the year before had felt closer to me-- his sad and violent end a cautionary tale not only of my generation's excesses, but of my own as well."

--and GFY, Cobain's death had nothing to do with you, you stupid whore.  She continues,

"And yet Garcia's death felt bigger, as if it was the end of not just a moment, but an era that had lasted all of my life."

[Now, I hate to skip ahead, but I feel I should point something out.  That last quote can be found on page 240 of her stupid book.  You know what can be found on page 260 of the same stupid book?

"He kissed me hard and I kissed him back harder, like it was the end of an era that had lasted all of my life."

Sound familiar?  Or maybe even identical?  SHE'S SUCH AN AWESOME WRITER.]


Anyway, she gets to the post office and oh my god, her package is not there.  The woman at the post office doesn't care about this at all and has no time to deal with Cheryl's meltdown, so Cheryl "staggers outside, half blind with panic and rage" and tries to call the friend who was supposed to mail the package but the friend doesn't answer.

She decides to waste some time by checking out the co-op and once inside, she goes Full Cheryl in describing the air-conditioning, the pickles, the baguettes, the orange juice, the produce and every other little goddamned thing and why is it Cheryl has no problem describing civilization but can barely describe the trail?  Why do you think that is?  It's a real mystery.  Huh. 

Cheryl, who by her own admission is "dirty and smelly" at this point, decides to help herself to all the samples in the health and beauty section of the co-op, rubbing all kinds of fragranced lotions on herself as if that's going to solve the problem and then tries some lipstick on.  The sales lady comes over and instead of telling Cheryl to stop fouling up all the samples and ejecting her stank ass out of her store, she supposedly says,

"'That shade is nice on you.  It totally brings out the blue of your eyes.'"

and bullshit, that didn't happen, but of course it did because Cheryl is so beautiful.  She finally makes her way over to "the lemonade section" of the store and oh, darn, no Snapple.  She spends the last of her money on a non-Snapple lemonade and goes outside to drink it and pout about all the food she can't afford.  That's when Susanna from Switzerland shows up and I lose my mind.

Cheryl explains that she's hiking the PCT and Susanna takes her hand, saying,

"'We call what you're doing the pilgrim way.  If you'd like, I would rub your feet.'"

and WHAT THE FUCK DID THAT LADY JUST SAY.  Now, knowing what we know about Cheryl's insane way of dealing with dialogue when it comes to people with whom she is unfamiliar, I guess we should be proud of her for not making Susanna talk like,

(I know Sweden and Switzerland are different, but this is Cheryl we're talking about.)
 
 
but still, what the fuck did this lady just say.  She said she wants to rub Cheryl's feet.  Seriously.
 
"'I want to.  It would be my honor.  It is the Swiss way.'"

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, how's that?  I know I have a few readers in Switzerland-- would one of you be so kind as to tell us all if this is something you regularly do in your country?  Do you just rub the feet of random whores?  Is this really "the Swiss way?"  Thank you in advance.

Susanna from Switzerland runs into the co-op, apparently squeezes a gallon of foot lotion out of one of the samples and returns to rub Cheryl's feet and say crazy things.

"'Your feet, they are very strong,' said Susanna.  'Like those of an animal.  I can feel their strength in my palms.  And also how they are battered.  I see you miss the toenails.'"

Oh, god.  As if this isn't bad enough, Susanna continues.

"'The spirits told me to do this... When I saw you, the spirits whispered that I had something to give you...'"

And what the fuck ever.  This never happened, the end.  That's all I can deal with today.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Part Twenty-Nine of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Fourteen, Cheryl is Too Wrecked to Masturbate

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Twenty-nine, Chapter Fourteen: Cheryl is Too Wrecked to Masturbate


Chapter Fourteen is called "Wild" because Cheryl is a terrible writer.  The book is called "Wild;" Part Four is called "Wild;" Chapter Fourteen is called "Wild."  All I can do is sigh heavily and roll my eyes.  For someone who abuses a thesaurus so often, she sure missed an opportunity here.

This chapter starts out with expert-hiker Cheryl once again not understanding how hiking works and-- I know.  Shocking.  She wastes a couple paragraphs going Full Cheryl with her complaining-- "at times I almost wept with the relentlessness of it"-- and tries to explain how going uphill and then going downhill was super frustrating, "as if everything gained was inevitably lost," and no, you're just covering terrain and that's how that works, you stupid asshole.

She brings up Bigfoot again and she will continue to do so throughout the chapter because this fucking idiot sincerely believes in Bigfoot and we'll get back to this.

Okay, brace yourselves, something super OMG happens and you'll never believe what it is--

"Lost in a spiral of bitter thoughts on my second day out of Castle Crags, I nearly stepped on two rattlesnakes that sat coiled up on the trail within a few miles of each other."
 GODDAMNMOTHERFUCKINGSTUPIDWASTEOFAIRIFUCKINGHATEYOUPLEASEDIE.


How many times are we going to be subjected to this lie.  How.  Many.  Times.  YOU SAW A RATTLESNAKE, CHERYL.  YOU DID NOT ALMOST STEP ON ONE, LET ALONE TWO, OR FIVE, OR HOWEVER MANY MILLION YOU'RE UP TO NOW.

Cheryl stops to have lunch and falls asleep "without meaning to" and oh, for fuck's sake. She has some stupid dream about Bigfoot kidnapping her and then claims that she'd had the exact same Bigfoot dream the night before, so obviously this means something and Cheryl starts shitting her pants because,

"now that I'd had the dream twice, it seemed to carry more weight, as if the dream weren't really a dream but a foreboding sign--"

and please just shut the fuck up.

She meets up with Stacy and Rex that evening because of course she does and immediately starts her infantile "look-at-my-boo-boo" shit with her feet because she is constantly in need of attention and pity.  It's at this point when Rex brings up something called The Rainbow Gathering and how it's supposed to be happening just nine miles away and it's exactly the type of thing Cheryl loves.  So much, in fact,

"I clapped my hands in glee."

Stacy has never heard of The Rainbow Gathering and Cheryl has to explain it to her.  It will be quicker if I explain it:  it's a bunch of hippies in the forest, the end.  Cheryl is super excited to go to the gathering and she immediately takes a quick condom inventory-- yep, still there-- and then this happens:

"In the six weeks I'd been on the trail, I hadn't even masturbated, too wrecked by the end of each day to do anything but read and too repulsed by my own sweaty stench for my mind to move in any direction but sleep."
Charming.
The three of them head out in the morning to go to The Rainbow Gathering and when they get to the place where the gathering is supposed to be taking place, there's no gathering.  "Rage and regret" well up in Cheryl.
"My disappointment felt tremendous and infantile, like I might have the sort of tantrum I hadn't had since I was three."
Or since you were at that water tower, or since Leif ruined the special table, or since you lost your boot, or since...
Boo-hoo, Cheryl's swamp-ass isn't gonna get laid, life is so unfair.  Suddenly, they hear a noise and it's not Bigfoot.  It's a truck with seven people in it.  The people were "ragtag and grubby, dressed in high hippy regalia," and looking for the gathering.  I'm not going to bother with the asinine dialogue that happens; just know that the guys all talk like assholes and the girls whine and complain because they're not hikers and non-hiking women are all a bunch of helpless, whiny bitches in Cheryl's mind.
All the non-hikers leave and Cheryl, Stacy and Rex meet up with some other hikers Cheryl barely bothered to mention in the past and they all hang out.  One of the hikers, Sam, comes up with a trail name for Cheryl and Cheryl is having none of it because she doesn't understand how trail names work.  You don't get to pick your own.
"Sam had joked that my trail name should be the Hapless Hiker... but I didn't want to be that hiker.  I wanted to be the hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen."
TOO BAD.
Cheryl gets up super-duper early the next morning, way earlier than everybody else, and says that she had her stupid Bigfoot dream yet again because no she didn't and then leaves before anyone else is awake and pffffffffft, okay.
An hour later, she hears "an enormous crashing in the bushes" and OMG, BIGFOOT, except not.  It was a bear and sure it was, so Cheryl starts singing dumb songs again because apparently bears are afraid of songs.  So is Bigfoot.
"It worked.  I didn't run into the bear again.  Or Bigfoot."

Cheryl has to cross some snow and you can imagine what a big dramatic to-do that was, but she totally survives and she finally stops for lunch.  The other hikers all catch up with her and she lets them hike ahead of her because she never actually hikes with anyone and isn't that convenient.  Later that afternoon, a white llama covered in jingle-bells comes "bounding" out of the wilderness straight for Cheryl and what the fuck.

A woman named Vera and a little kid named Kyle emerge from nowhere to come get Shooting Star (the llama) and blah, blah, blah, they all have a conversation that never happened and then, get a load of this nonsense, Kyle wants to sing Cheryl a song and you have to be fucking kidding me.

"...and without a moment's hesitation he sang every last lyric and verse of 'Red River Valley' in a voice so pure that I felt gutted.  'Thank you,' I said, half-demolished by the time he finished."
If only someone would gut and demolish you.
This bullshit finally ends and Cheryl keeps hiking until she finds a picnic table.  As she's lounging around, a deer approaches and,
"I sat still, watching her, not feeling even a little bit afraid,"

and good for you, Cheryl, way to not be afraid of a fucking deer, you're such a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen.

Cheryl apparently is getting tired of writing about her pretend hike because she sums up who knows how many miles with, "I hiked alone the next few days," as if this is somehow different than what she's been doing, and now we have no idea where exactly she supposedly is on the trail other than she says she'd "passed the midpoint" and what the fuck does that mean.  This lack of detail makes fact-checking very difficult and that's likely the point.  Luckily, we're beyond the need for fact-checking.  She's full of shit and we all know it.

She watches the sunset one night even though she "could've been reading Dubliners" because remember, she's super smart.  As she's watching the sunset, she keeps using the word 'wild' in ways that make no sense while also managing to have a daddy-meltdown:

"Of all the wild things, his failure to love me the way he should have had always been the wildest thing of all."

I don't even.

Cheryl starts crying and because she's an amazing writer, she describes it as such:

"I cried and I cried and I cried."

It's like when she walked and walked and walked.  She's really good at this writing thing.  She really knows how to end a chapter.