The Slowest Camper

Four days into April and snow was falling. After one of the driest winters on record. I had the heat turned low. I shoved my green fleece Adopt-a-Platoon blanket beneath my comforter and wrapped my feet in it.

Not moving. Fuck no. Oh fuck no . . . 

I’d quit before I’d even lifted my head off the mountain of pillows I toss and turn on all night. A few fruitless minutes with my eyes closed and I reached for my phone to check the hour-by-hour play report of the rest of the day.

The outlook was grim.

Forecast: 100% chance of inert white stupidity.

Also, 100% chance of snow all day.

It was a trend I’d never noticed until I’d been stationed in the Pacific Northwest. People driving 5 to 10 miles-per-hour under an already artificially low speed limit. Everyone driving like they were stoned – a high probability. Doing 54 in a 60 in the outside lane.

Now that I’d returned to the People’s Facist Republic of Andrew Cuomo I’d found that I couldn’t even traffic to the local liquor store without being stuck behind some daffy half-wit clogging up a two-lane no passing zone.

You don’t have to outrun the bear. You only have to outrun the slowest camper.

Unfortunately, you can’t outrun the slowest camper when you are perpetually stuck behind the invisible wall of uselessness they tow with them through their unseeing, unthinking wake.

Every time I went out in public during daylight hours I could feel my impatience tickling the bottom of some kind of melt-down. Every trip to any place where people went in groups or crowds.

Everywhere I went I was surrounded by the slowest camper.

People with shopping carts towing three screaming kids. People who stand in the end of an aisle or a doorway having extended conversations. The five people that rush to the door you held open for an elderly couple.

. . . Three of them on their cell phones, all walking without looking up.

Fuckity fuck, motherfucker! Look up long enough you don’t get run over by a fucking car! Useless, stupid motherfucker . . . Out of the fucking way!

A car. Or an angry, bullish man flat out of patience.

Most Americans move through the world as if under the assumption that nothing bad happens, except on television. They consume the pornography of violence and division and outrage. They masturbate to the dull approval of a few “likes”.

They act as though no one will slap them across the face or accidentally run them over because “you’re not allowed to do that!”

An entire macro-culture based on electronic solipsism.

I decided to retreat to the kitchen for a pot of coffee. Perhaps, once the benzo fog had waned, I would be able to forgive the string of minor offenses I knew I were coming the instant I walked out the door.

But probably not.