“Because I don’t know what the woods are for,” said Kirby Lanbirch, who was more of a city person and whose girlfriend, Thora Krenswallow, was trying to get him to come on a camping vacation in the woods.
“They’re not ‘for’ anything. They’re just there,” said Thora, who was preparing for this trip already by not shaving her legs and by gently weaning herself off of makeup. The only thing she had been wearing on her face for the past four days was a little bit of mascara and some blush. That’s it. No foundation, no concealer, no nothing. She was totally ready for the woods.
“So we’re just going to sit there and look at trees? And then get cold and have to crouch under a pile of blankets and try to get warm?”
“It’s a spiritual cleanse,” said Thora, whose last spiritual cleanse involved a yellow box of herbal pills that gave her diarrhea for 14 days, although she still enjoyed the experience because she lost a little bit of weight. A pair of jeans she was about to get rid of, now she didn’t have to.
And so Thora and Kirby went out into the woods with their lime green tent, which they didn’t know at the time was the color that is irresistible to bears. So when Kirby woke up in the middle of the night worried about whether or not he had left his car on the correct alternate-side-of-the-street pattern, brooding about whether he was amassing a big fine on Crumbar Street, he noticed with annoyance the fly buzzing around his head before he heard a lot of heavy breathing that wasn’t coming from Thora and he unzipped the tent and found that they were completely hemmed in by bears. About 14 of them, some of them stacked up in a pile, all the way around the tent, all of them attracted by the bright green tent, even though bears’ eyesight was not so good as their noses. Luckily Thora and Kirby had their only food–twelve organic carrots–sealed up in 9 ziplock baggies so this was not about food, and there certainly did not seem to be any urgency to this visitation.
Thora woke up. “Oh, are the bears here?” she asked. “They do that sometimes.”
“Great, what are we supposed to do?” asked Kirby. He had to go to the bathroom. And he wasn’t hot on the idea of tip-toeing through a pile of black bears and unzipping his fly in close range to them.
“They’re fine,” said Thora.
“Sure THEY’RE fine,” said Kirby. “What about me?”
“Just pretend you’re one of them and they’ll accept you,” said Thora.
“I don’t want them to accept me, I want them to not wake up,” said Kirby.
“You see?” said Thora. “This is what the woods are for. We would never have this kind of experience back in Brooklyn.”
“I know,” said Kirby, crossing his legs, and wondering why urinary urgency always seemed so much stronger when you were sleeping outside. Because it did. Maybe also because there were bears.
“Either that or you can go in your water bottle and rinse it out la—”
“I’m going,” said Kirby. He unzipped the tent and tip-toed through the pile of bears. As he was peeing in the trees a short distance away, he looked back. All the bears were awake, and they were looking right at him.