Head for the Hills!
Okay, so the market's going to hell, the ECONOMY is going to hell and our futures are, at best, uncertain. What's a girl to do? If you're my friend, Lisa, there clearly is only one answer - Mt. Kilimanjaro. Why? Because if Martha Stewart can climb it - that bitch! - so can we.
First, let me explain. I've been friends with Lisa since I was four. She was the maid of honor at my wedding and I have dedicated at least two, maybe more, books to her with great success. She's funny and pretty and the kind of person everyone loves. Also, she's a go along, get along kind of gal. Wanna see Journey in concert? Wanna go to Vegas? To Amsterdam? Hike Kilimanjaro? Lisa is your gal.
Yesterday she stopped by for a visit after attending a wedding in Cape Cod. Again, as she has for more than a year, she mentioned this Mt. Kilimanjaro thing. "It's a walk!" she exclaims. "No rock face." We should definitely do it.
Sure. A "walk" up 18,000 feet. And since when did Lisa get so gung ho on camping (which she hasn't done since a college geology class)? I can't answer this except to say both of us will turn 46 this winter and desperate times call for desperate measures. Granted, in the past this has meant a road trip to Chippendale's or, perhaps, a swing by the Stone Pony. (Lisa's a Jersey girl to the bone.) But now that we've quit smoking and rock concerts hurt our ears, maybe we need a challenge that only nauseating altitude sickness can offer.
"Six shots!" she says, counting off her fingers hepatitis B, some odd parasite thingy, perhaps a tetanus or two. Then, of course, there the anti-malaria pills one must take and the caution against ring worm.
Other than, no preparation. (Aside from finding 14,000-mile-high mountains to climb for practice.) AND you can even hire a sherpa-like person to carry a "toilet" for you - a line that immediately conjures Tenzing Norgay with a Kohler. The slower we take this, the easier and more expensive it will be, Lisa assures me. Kind of like the British in the Sahara with their afternoon teas. Only, without the silver.
Part of me is beginning to come around to her way of thinking. I like the idea that, because Kilimanjaro's on the equator, one climbs through every type of climate - desert, rain forest, snow-capped mountain. I like that it's technically easy and if that one takes it slow enough, it's possible to adapt to the altitude and not get sick. (Though headaches, edema and, gulp, death, are not unheard of.)
I like - glamping. Glamorous camping where people (slaves?) trek in cots and tents and portable showers sounds divine. Do you suppose they throw in pedicures?
Then there's the theme of two friends, buddies for forty two years, taking on a challenge that's beyond them. Think Romy and Michelle hike Africa. When Lisa and I are together, we never shut up. We can talk about books/movies/mutual friends forever. Or we can discuss her life-changing experience of having to euthanize a ground hog she accidentally wounded with her car by pulling a U turn and, in a moment of great humanity, stepping on the gas and running over him again. (To put him out of his misery, natch.)
Just think how merciful she'd be with me on the trail.
So, should I do it? It'll require a year of busting a hump to get in the best physical shape of my life. And then there are all the scary stories of people giving up half way, lots of talk about "punishing" trails.
But it's a once in a lifetime chance - in a lifetime that's rapidly getting shorter - to do something phenomenal with my lifetime friend.
Or should I just stay home and watch the Dow plummet.?