Monday, April 7, 2008

Dan, Mt. Rainier & an F-ing Pedometer

My friend Dan works for a huge company that rhymes with Moogle. He sends me e-mails like "Hey! I'm in Amsterdam for work, and I'm sitting at this cafe I know you'd love." E-mails like that make me want to reconsider our friendship. I get to go downstairs to Starbucks or venture a few blocks to Stumptown if I'm feeling crazy. My job does not involve flights, let alone INTERNATIONAL flights. Jerk.

So I was thinking of Dan today when I began the massive undertaking of increasing my step count by 275 steps a week until I go to France ... okay, I'm hating Dan a little bit less.

Last summer Dan called me on a Friday at about 5:00 p.m. "Hey! I'm downtown with Wes, Michelle and Dana. Come meet us for dinner!" Did I mention that Dan lives in California and Dana lives in Colorado and yet they were somehow in downtown Portland? The same downtown Portland that I had just spent an hour leaving? I spend 6 months planning a trip, he sends me his itinerary the day before he's scheduled to arrive ... or if he forgets that part, just calls me to let me know he's here.

Dan and I met in college. Within 20 minutes of us meeting he invited me to go to Tahoe with a group of his friends over winter break. He's the most nonchalant, chill, openhearted guy on the planet. I love Dan for all of these reasons.

So it turns out the reason everyone was in town was because Dan, Dana and Wes were taking a guy's trip to "hike" to the top of Mt. Rainier.

"Um, have you guys been training for this?" I asked them, amazed that anyone would endure such an undertaking willingly. I was sure they had spent months preparing.
"Nah," they responded.
"No?!" I asked starting to panic. I loved these guys, I didn't want them to die!
"Nah, we'll be fine."
"No, endurance training, no hypothermia practice, no survival classes?"
"Isn't it more like climbing, than hiking?" I kept pushing, having images of them wielding pick axes to chop through ice and having to sever a limb when one of them got stuck (I had just finished reading Aron Ralston's book).
"Yeah!" they all responded excitedly.
"Um, are you sure you're going to make it?"
They all laughed.

Of course they made it and were completely fine. Why did I say these guys were my friends again?

So if they could scale a mountain, I could certainly walk a mere 4,865 steps this week. I clipped on the pedometer, full of promise, and went to town. I even laughed in the pedometer's face by RUNNING to catch the MAX, seeking out stairs and telling myself I was climbing up the Metro's steps in Paris as a form of encouragement. I got home anxiously checking my pedometer. SURELY I surpassed my goal of 4,865 steps. I was SURE I was THIS close to 10,000. And amazingly I DID pass 4,865 steps! By 5.

I got to 4,870 steps. Mother Fu ...

Which got me to thinking ... if Dan, Wes and Dana didn't train to climb Mt. Rainier and Dan lived to not only tell about it, but to sit in an Amsterdam cafe to gloat about it, surely if I bypass the Mt. Rainier business, I can go straight to wandering the streets of Paris and be just fine.

Now I remember why we're friends. And side note to Moogle: I'm sure Dan e-mailed me during the 30 seconds he WASN'T working in Amsterdam.