Part Thirty-Nine, Chapter Nineteen: The Last Stupid Chapter
Chapter Nineteen starts with Cheryl sitting alone at a picnic table and packing Monster, the TYB having "left at dawn" because once again, Cheryl can't hike with real people for more than five minutes.
Drooling Ranger Guy shows up and gives Cheryl a package that just arrived for her from a friend she hasn't mentioned before and it's crazy amazing timing that she happened to be right there when the package arrived, kind of like how Lisa showed up out of the fucking blue because she just had a feeling that Cheryl would be right there, right then. This is all so stupid.
Cheryl thanks Guy for the package and "for the drinks the other night and the hospitality" while managing to not laugh or make fun of him because she's totes found, everybody. She's Cheryl 2.0 now, totally different from before in
"I ate some chocolate immediately while pondering the wine. Much as I wanted to open it that night on the trail, I wasn't willing to lug the empty bottle all the way to Timberline Lodge,"
and goddamnit, what the fuck is she talking about. First of all, Cheryl loves to carry useless shit. A bunch of books? Absolutely! Thousand-dollar camera she apparently only used like four times? Heck, yeah! Also, she's had no qualms about littering repeatedly on the trail so far; why not just chuck the bottle into some bushes, Cheryl? Since when do you give a shit?
Anycrap, Cheryl gets up to leave and Doug of Doug-and-Tom appears and no he doesn't. Guess how they say hello.
"'Doug, Doug, Doug,' I kept saying.
"'Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl!' he said to me."
They eye-fuck one another for a minute and then Cheryl asks where Tom is.
"'He's a few miles back. He'll catch up later.'"
Except he won't, and we'll get to this. Their joyful reunion continues and because Cheryl is the most amazing person ever to have lived, of course Doug says this:
"'We read your notes in the register all summer long. They motivated us to crank. We wanted to catch up with you.'"
Jennifer Lawrence totally believes you.
Doug invites her to hike with him and she accepts "without hesitation" because Doug isn't a real person, but she goes on to explain,
"'I've got to hike those last days before I get into Cascade Locks alone-- you know, just to finish like I started--"
And WHY, Cheryl. Why. [Blogger's note: Please watch the excellent movie "Mile, Mile and a Half." Tell me that you would want to celebrate alone. Please, watch it. It's an incredible documentary.]
I guess they hike or something because it's suddenly nighttime and they're building a fire. For reasons I still can't logically comprehend, Tom never catches up with the two of them even though he was only "a few miles back" and I don't even care anymore. All of this is complete bullshit. They take turns drinking the wine "straight from the bottle" because that's super hard-core and then have a conversation I can't even deal with because it's too stupid and you're welcome.
After they finish the wine, Cheryl asks Doug if he wants something to read and then whips her goddamned bookmobile out of Monster. Doug declines and then Cheryl spends half of a page reminding us how super-smart she is, using the title/phrase "the ten thousand things" three times in one paragraph. She once again forgets how words work:
"Each of Dermoût's sentences came at me like a soft knowing dagger,"
and if I ever get stabbed, I hope it's with a "soft knowing dagger" because that sounds pleasantly comfy and HEY, ROBIN DESSER, REMEMBER COMMAS? ARE YOU AWAKE? *pokes the lifeless body of Robin Desser* HEY. YOU. HEY... hey...?
Doug decides to turn in for the night and says that Tom will "probably catch up" with them the next day and how the fuck did Tom not already catch up with th-- oh, who cares.
Cheryl starts talking about her stepfather and how he taught her all kinds of outdoorsy things and how she never would have been out on the PCT if it hadn't been for him, yet still manages to take a giant dump on him at the end of the paragraph because she's a giant asshole.
She then goes Full Cheryl once again in describing one of the books she's been carrying this whole time and I can't even bother. NO ONE CARES, CHERYL.
Flash, bam, it's suddenly two days later and she's at Timberline Lodge. I guess Tom finally caught up because he's there, too, as well as what appears to be a lesbian ex-couple and sure, whatever. She claims that the five of them all hiked together and,
"On our long breaks we played hacky sack and skinny-dipped in an icy-cold lake, incited the wrath of hornets and then ran from them while we laughed and screamed."
I'm sure all of this is totally legitimate because there's nothing lesbians love more than getting naked in the company of men and oh, wait, the opposite of that. She claims that they were "like a tribe, bonded in that way I imagined kids felt when they spent a week together at summer camp," and I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for Cheryl because she's implying that she never went to summer camp or some shit. Again, NO ONE CARES, CHERYL.
They all finally arrive at Timberline Lodge and Cheryl says a bunch of shit I don't care about. You're welcome, again. She does her stupid hopscotch thing yet again-- "hop, skip, spin, done"-- and I don't remember spinning being a part of hopscotch, but I'm over it at this point. She has fifty miles to go before she reaches the Bridge of the Gods.
She says goodbye to everyone and starts hiking alone again because or course she does, starts rambling on about how awesome it is to be alone again, lets us know how amazing she is and then has another Mom-attack because there are only five pages left in the book and she had to squeeze that in there one last time.
She walks a vague number of days alone and peels off another toenail, the sixth one, and pfffffft, bullshit.
She reaches the Columbia River and actually says,
"It seemed like a miracle that I finally had the river in my sights, as if a newborn baby had just slipped into my palms after a long labor."
Whatever, Tuna Flakes. Go fuck yourself.
She keeps hiking and what the fuck is this all about:
"I walked through spiderwebs, feeling them like magic on my face,"
and pardon me all over the place, but when real people walk through spiderwebs, it isn't a magical experience. It's more like,
Anyway, it's Friday morning and Cheryl says that she "could feel the Friday morningness emanating from the houses" she passed and I think I can smell Robin Desser's rotting corpse.
She reaches the Bridge of the Gods and manages to avoid paying the toll to get to it by telling the woman in the tollbooth that she only wanted to touch it and I roll my eyes. She copies and pastes more information abou-- you know what, fuck this. We all know what she did.
She high-fives herself--
"I had arrived. I'd done it."
And in large, angry letters, I had scrawled, "DONE WHAT," next to those sentences. She claims that she had saved "a couple of dollars" to buy ice-cream cones and I throw the book across the room while looking for something to punch. She gets a "chocolate-vanilla twist cone," and says that she now only has twenty goddamned cents to her name. Then she,
"ate every bit of my cone and..."
BITS. BITS BITS BITS BITS BITS. THE WORLD DOES NOT COME IN INCREMENTS OF BITS, YOU STUPID TWIT.
Whatever, she sits outside the ice-cream shop and a "young man in a business suit" drives up in a BMW.
"'Hi,' he said to me as he passed. He was about my age, his hair gelled back, his shoes impeccable. Once he had his cone, he returned to stand near me."
What the fuck is Gordon Gekko doing at an ice-cream stand in the middle of the PCT, but whatever, yes, this is happening. He's super observant:
"'Looks like you've been backpacking.'"
Cheryl can't even contain herself. She lies and tells him that she just hiked "over eleven hundred miles" and he worships her because of course he does. He tells her that he's an attorney, gives her his business card and fuck everything.
"'Give me a call once you settle in. I'd love to take you out to lunch and hear more about your trip."
Cheryl finishes up this make-believe conversation with Mr. BMW saying,
"'It was an honor to meet you at this momentous juncture,"
and this is when I pour gasoline all over myself and light a firecracker.
She concludes the book with a bunch of stupid garbage about how she would finally meet her husband, have two kids and eventually come back to this very ice-cream stand so they could all remember her fake hike together as a family.
She says how Doug very conveniently died and therefore would be unable to validate her lies.
She actually writes this sentence fragment:
"That it was enough to trust that what I'd done was true."
You know what? I'm going to walk the entire length of the ADT next year and if/when I write about it, I certainly won't feel the need to end my book with, "That it was enough to trust that what I'd done was true," because I'm gonna have documentation coming out of my fucking ears by the time I finish. Cheryl needs to write this because she made this whole fucking book up.
And that's it, everybody. That was Wild. If I had a mic right now, I'd drop it, set it on fire and leave the stage while giving double middle-fingers to everyone.