This is a little story I wrote some time back - I figured that some of you might be able to relate and enjoy.
*Parental Advisory: bad language and drug references
Back in the days when I was still young and immortal (or pre-mortal, PM for short) I was really into hardcore mountain biking. As any serious MTBer can tell you, the penultimate riding experience is a steep, curvy singletrack (skinny trail) with lots of drop offs and roots and stuff. In the Bay Area, all of the good singletrack is illegal to ride on and there are plenty of trail nazis to bust you and you get insanely expensive tickets that actually go on your driving record (!). The only way to poach the good stuff was to do it at night - wearing all black, using high powered, spendy lighting systems and always 420 (mandatory for courage and increased reaction times). Now I could divert into all manner of crazy dude-like anecdotes on the wild events that were commonplace during these excursions, and there are quite a few, but I'll spare you the macho (and not so macho) posturing because I actually have a relevant point here - bear with me.
Out of these crazy nights was born another of my "religions" that has diverse application to the rest of one's life as well. Invariably when riding deep in the woods well after midnight on these treacherous and twisty trails, my buddy and I would find ourselves lost (AKA Hanzel and Gretel sans breadcrumbs). Out would come the map and mini mag lights. The problem is that it can be nearly impossible sometimes to tell where the hell you are after making many an adrenaline fueled decision at intersections in the dark of night. If you make some wrong turns in the wrong place, you can end up going for miles into nowhere - far from the car and deep into unkempt trails covered in thistles and poison oak - there was a lot at stake. So we would get into these arguments about our relative position on the map that would go on for some time and could get very heated. "OK - FINE - We'll go that way - but if you are wrong, I get to keep the map and make all the decisions from now on," blaa blaa. Naturally, we'd both end up wrong and then the argument cycle would start over again. arrrggg. Well, one night, deep in the woods and deeper into map conflict, something came over me: "Craig.....Craig.....Craig....." [stated with zenlike calmness while he argued with me] "WHAT?!" [Craig yells] "Dude......f u c k..the..map" [again - smooth as Buddha] and I put it away and just looked at him until he got it. "yeah - f u c k the map"
Thus was born the movement of FtM (TM). Now, the point of FtM is not "never use a map." I am a big fan of maps and knowing where I am and where I am going. It is just that sometimes there is simply no way to logically figure out the right way to go. And it's not that by throwing away the map and just going will you always miraculously and unconsciously follow the right path, but you will be right at least some of the time. The thing is, those nights that we ended up 20 miles from the car, or lost in thistles that were higher than our bikes or a myriad of other "bad" experiences form some of my favorite memories from that PM time of my life. At the end of my days, when I am old and feeble, these memories of outrageous fortune and inglorious suffering will warm me like a sip of brandy on a chilly night...
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