Important deciphering key: Odd=Lydia Even=Joshilyn
- Go to the mountains.
- I am very tempted to say here, “Have a retreat,” and leave it that because I am drunk on carbs. Had a huge roll with olive tapenade for lunch. Like the roll mother-ship. Super roll. (Rule one of this retreat was, by the way, no carbs.)
- Before you go to the mountains, completely disregard your true friend’s clearly articulated concerns about the historic winter storm that is at that moment charging down the Rockies and across the plains, toward your mountain retreat spot. Make dismissive noises. Pooh-pooh.
- Important deciphering key: True friend = Lydia. Pooh-poohing dumbass = Joshilyn.
- On the first day of your retreat: write, eat sensibly, drink wine. Celebrate good times. Do yoga tape. Sing the praises of the mountains. Try to take pictures of them with your cell phone, even though the pictures you take of mountains with your cell phone NEVER LOOK LIKE MOUNTAINS.
- On the second day of your retreat, learn that a big blizzard is coming that will snow you in and likely kill you. Panic. Get told, “I SAID ON THE PHONE BEFORE I EVEN FLEW DOWN HERE A HUGE STORM WAS COMING AND WE WOULD DIE IN THE SNOW UP THERE.” Say, “At the time, that information was not relevant to my interests.” Pray, and simultaneously realize you have brought up NOTHING but meat and fresh vegetables and liquor, and the liquor is running low.
- (And the meat is inexplicably rotting.) Important fact about North Carolina: THERE ARE NO POLAR BEARS IN NORTH CAROLINA. Even if you see one, while driving through a blizzard for liquor, do not say to your friend, “IS THAT A POLAR BEAR? YES IT IS A POLAR BEAR!” This will not help her drive.
- (It was a malamute.) Once down the mountain, notice enormous sheafs of snow just POURING out of the sky and dangerously coating the near vertical roads you will have to traverse to return to the cabin. Make it halfway to town before giving up, blinded, and pulling into the G’s gas and grill where you inexplicably FILL UP THE CAR (so that it will have more combustible liquid in it when it plummets down the mountains????) and buy a crapton of whatever horrifying food items are available. This should include, but not be limited to: Chick-O-Sticks, cream-of-soups with fine dust patinas on the lids, and off brand cheesy popcorn.
- NORTH CAROLINA FACT: If you’re going to say “Don’t worry about the snow sticking on the grass. The snow still won’t stick on the roads because the roads are warmer than the grass!” make sure you don’t immediately drive past a herd of boiling hot cows who are covered in a thick layer of snow. It will weaken your great point you were trying to make.
TRUE FACT: When packing for your winter retreat in the mountains with a thunderstorm approaching, pack shoes that are not clogs and Massai Barefoot Technology sandals. Things that provide instability on purpose, and things that do not have a heel part of the shoe to cover the heel part of your foot are not welcome on this trip. They will lead to you falling down a hill or wading around in “wintry mix” in what amounts to no shoes at all.
- After your trunk is full of aged chocolate and your tank is full of explosives, turn around and get your ass back to the mountain. Wave to the sleepy gate guard, who told you not to go out, and now thinks you are very very stupid. Feel superior, right up until the point where you SLAVISHLY OBEY ONSTAR, which orders you to plummet your car directly over a precipice and into a snowhole.
- Churn around and teeter back and forth and dig your tires willfully into the fifty feet of winter-slush-mud trying to get out of the snowhole. Abandon the car and trudge the rest of the way back to the cabin, where you proceed to drink every bit of liquor you have left with righteousness and vigor.
When a strange man arrives at the door, claiming to be your “neighbor,” who wants to “help you with the car,” immediately give him every key you have, including the one to the cabin. Now watch four episodes of Dexter in a row on DVD. NOW TRY TO SLEEP. Spend two days in the cabin, with no phone, no keys, no cable, and no internet, but lots and lots of Dexter. Freak the hell out.
- While freaking the hell out, do nothing to improve your situation except write boatloads of novel. Be astonished by the sight of the neighbor who has gotten your car out of the hole and returns your keys on the morning of the very day ALL THE CHOCOLATE AND ALCOHOL ARE GONE. Feel confirmed in your long term belief in the existence of God and kindness. Celebrate by going to Walmart, which at home is considered a punishment, but today feels like Paris.
True: Joshilyn worked out every day.
False: Lydia worked out.
True: You can go away on a writing retreat in the mountains and finish thousands of words of novel and be snowed in and terrified and fall in a hole and freak out, ALL WHILE MAINTAINING YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE REGIME!
Also true: But we can’t.