Part Twenty-Two: Chapter Eleven, Part One: Cheryl Has a Problem With Hobos
We're now in Part Four of this awful book, and Part Four is called "Wild" because Cheryl apparently ran out of super-smart book titles to steal. Chapter Eleven is Called "The Lou Out of Lou," and we'll get to that nonsense soon enough, but probably not until Part Twenty-Three because all the preceding bullshit is going to take some time.
Let's get started.
Chapter Eleven starts out with,
"I was standing by the side of the highway just outside the town of Chester, trying to hitch a ride..."
because of course it does, seeing as Cheryl is hitchhiking the entire PCT. But hey, "hitchhiking" does have the word "hiking" in it, so I guess this is supposed to count. In the very next sentence, Cheryl says something that we all know is complete bullshit at this point:
"Over the past fifty-some hours, I'd hiked fifty miles with Stacy and Trina and the dog..."
UM, NO YOU DIDN'T.
Once again, the math just doesn't add up. First of all, how many hours exactly is "fifty-some?" Here's Cheryl yet again being very vague about the details because liars are clever like that, so we'll just have to do our best to make some estimates on her behalf. Let's say "fifty-some" is fifty-five, just to take the average and be fair. Fifty-five hours equals two days and seven hours. The longest distance Cheryl claims to have covered in one day at this point was fifteen miles. Let's be generous and give Cheryl three whole days to cover fifty miles. At fifteen miles a day, that's still only 45 miles, not fifty, and let's face it, she was not hiking fifteen miles a day to begin with. She sucks so badly at lying about the details, and I can't even be surprised anymore that so many people just blindly believe all of her bullshit because "omg, she's so brave and such an inspiration and when I have to go all the way across the street to go to the store, I drive there because walking is hard!"
Anyway, sure, whatever, Cheryl just walked fifty miles and no she didn't, but now she's at a place called Stover Camp. Cheryl, Stacy, Trina and the dog, Odin, are all trying to hitch a ride, and when a couple in a Honda Civic finally stop with room for only two passengers, the three of them play the YOU-hang-up-first! game:
"'You go,' we'd each said to the other; 'no, you go'-- until I insisted and Stacy and Trina got in, Odin lumbering behind them to sit wherever he could, while I assured them I'd be fine."
They somehow manage to not have a full blown tickle fight right there on the side of the road and the two ladies and the dog finally leave Cheryl in the dust, which I don't believe because Cheryl is a selfish cunt who is seemingly incapable of doing a single selfless thing, but then again, she always finds a way to not spend much time with actual hikers because these hikers don't exist and she can't have anyone coming forward to expose her lies. So let's just go with this version of the story because things are about to get stupid, and after that, things will get Full-Cheryl-Double-O-Stoopid.
A man in a Chrysler LeBaron stops at the side of the road and I wonder 1) how she remembers the makes and models of these cars and 2) why it should matter, unless she's trying to make up for her almost complete lack of description of the trail and is attempting to make things sound more official, like, hey, she totally knew what kinds of cars she was hitchhiking in. Anyway, Mr. Chrysler LeBaron "looked like a nice enough guy," and he had a bumper sticker on his car that said, 'IMAGINE WHIRLED PEAS," so of course, Cheryl says to herself,
"Has there ever been a serial killer who imagined whirled peas?"
Let's hope this is the one.
She mentions once again her possession of "the world's loudest whistle" and how she was holding onto it, just in case. You know what, you stupid asshole? The world's loudest anything isn't going to stop a man from raping or murdering you when you're out in the middle of nowhere.
A man named Jimmy Carter-- "no relation"-- introduces himself and tells Cheryl that he doesn't have room in his car to give her a ride, but explains that he stopped because he is a reporter from something called "The Hobo Times" and wants to interview her. Before we get to this bullshit, let's stop for some more fact-checking.
The Hobo Times has no record of Cheryl Strayed. I checked. And after having found nothing from The Hobo Times, the only thing I could find when I googled "Cheryl Strayed Hobo Times" was this stinking pile of shit from an online "interview" where Cheryl answered a multitude of questions from her clueless fans (and I'm just quoting here-- don't blame me for the lack of grammatical know-how coming from her fan):
Clueless Fan: "Cheryl: that guy — whose hair whipped to and fro on his face determined that you were a “hobo” to be written on — did he ever publish any of that? Did you search for it after your trek?"
Cheryl Strayed: " I searched for the reporter from the Hobo Times, but didn’t find him. I plan to search again soon. I don’t know if he ever wrote that article about me. Not that I was a hobo."
THAT IS JUST SO SHOCKING THAT THERE IS NO RECORD OF WHAT SHE'S ABOUT TO CLAIM, I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT.
Yeah. Let's get back to her baseless, unprovable story.
Mr. Jimmy Carter assumes that Cheryl is a hobo and unless this is his first time driving along a road near the PCT, he should know better. I don't believe a single word of any of the following, but since it's in the book, I'm going to cover it. Just know ahead of time that this is all absolute crap.
Upon hearing Jimmy's reason for stopping to talk to her, Cheryl says,
"'I'm not a hobo. I'm a long-distance hiker. I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail."
OH, REALLY? THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING HITCHHIKING RIGHT NOW, YOU LYING SACK OF CRAP.
Cheryl, upon the sudden realization that Jimmy isn't going to give her a ride, decides to act like a pissy bitch for the rest of their exchange, and even mentions how Jimmy's presence was preventing her from hitching a ride. Oh, boo-hoo.
Jimmy asks her how long she's been out on the road and Cheryl takes a moment to be a judgmental bitch before answering, saying that Jimmy struck her as,
"someone who had a PhD in something airy and indescribable. The history of consciousness, perhaps, or comparative studies in discourse and society."
WHATEVER, MISS "I-FAILED-COLLEGE-OVER-A-FIVE-PAGE-PAPER."
but she finally answers his question:
"'I told you, I'm not on the road,' I said, and laughed. 'I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail,' I repeated, gesturing by way of elaboration to the woods that edged up near the road, though in fact the PCT was about nine miles west of where we stood."
I-- you-- LEARN HOW TO LIE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT.
Cheryl claims that "he stared at me blankly, uncomprehending," probably because she's clearly not hiking anything at this point right there on the side of the road. Since Jimmy doesn't seem to comprehend the words that are coming out her mouth, she explains further, "It's a National Scenic Trail," but he still doesn't get it and apparently just stands there with his mouth hanging open or something, and it's at this point when Cheryl says this:
"I saw that Jimmy Carter wasn't bad-looking. I wondered if he had any food in his car."
Jimmy decides that Cheryl is a hobo and Cheryl is super pissed about this, but instead of quoting their long, dreadful exchange, allow me to spare you and just paraphrase:
Cheryl: I'M NOT A HOBO.
Cheryl: I AM NOT!
Jimmy: Yeah, okay, but... you are.
Cheryl: Quit calling me a hobo! I'm a super-smart, totally experienced hiker! Quit it!
This type of nonsense goes on for well over a page and while paraphrasing is amusing, let's put an end to my fun so I can go back to quoting the book itself because you're not going to believe what comes out of Cheryl's mouth:
"'I'm not a hiker in the way you might think of a hiker,' I explained. 'I'm more like an expert hiker.'"
YEAH. THAT HAPPENED. NOT MAKING THAT UP.
"I hike fifteen to twenty miles a day, day after day, up and down mountains, far away from roads or people or anything, often going days without seeing another person."
AND OH MY FUCKING GOD, NO YOU FUCKING DON'T. EVERYTHING YOU JUST SAID IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT AND I WANT TO THROTTLE YOU.
Jimmy doesn't seem to be paying attention to all of Cheryl's lies because he scribbles in his notebook and,
"'I hardly ever meet hobo women,' he half whispered, as if confiding a secret, 'so this is fucking cool.'"
Cheryl flips her shit.
"'I'm not a hobo!' I insisted more vehemently this time."
Jimmy says that "hobo women are hard to find," and Cheryl enlightens him:
"I told him that this was because women were too oppressed to be hobos. That most likely all the women who wanted to be hobos were holed up in some house with a gaggle of children to raise. Children who'd been fathered by hobo men who'd hit the road."
What the fuck was all that. I don't even.
And then this doesn't happen, except Cheryl says it does:
"'Oh, I see,' he said. 'You're a feminist, then.'
"'Yes,' I said. It felt good to agree on something."
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDI----
YOU ARE NOT A FEMINSIT.
ERRRRRRRMAHGERRRRRRRD, IT'S TIMES LIKE THIS WHEN I WANT TO JUST STOP. I JUST WANT TO THROW THIS BOOK INTO MY FIREPLACE, TAKE A HAMMER TO MY OWN SKULL AND FORGET THAT I EVER STARTED THIS. SOMEONE KILL ME RIGHT NOW.
Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Jimmy wants to get a picture of Cheryl, compliments her spirit-walking Bob Marley t-shirt and also her POW bracelet, and points out that a lot of hobos are "Nam vets," and I'm seriously surprised that Cheryl didn't suddenly claim to have been in Nam because she clearly has a very slippery grasp on the truth.
Jimmy then mentions that articles from The Hobo Times have been excerpted in Harper's and Cheryl just about shits herself. I can't even go on with this stupid conversation anymore, but know that Cheryl acts like a total bitch, which should not be surprising at this point.
Before leaving, Jimmy gives her a "standard-issue hobo care package," which Cheryl immediately takes even though she's spent the last fifteen minutes rudely telling this man that she is not a hobo. He wishes her well, tells her to stay safe, and says that he hopes she has a gun on her because she's soon going to be "entering Bigfoot country," and oh my god, I can't do this anymore. I feel like calling 911 right now and when the operator says, "What is your emergency?' I will scream, "I'VE BEEN WRITING A REVIEW OF CHERYL STRAYED'S AWFUL BOOK FOR A FULL MONTH NOW AND I STILL HAVE EIGHT CHAPTERS TO GO, PLEASE SEND SOMEONE TO KILL ME."
"'Good luck on your hike,' [Jimmy] said, getting back into his car."
"'Good luck... finding hobos,' I said, and waved as he drove away."
I will try not to kill myself tonight so that we can continue with the rest of Chapter Eleven tomorrow.