As I drive down this winding, picturesque highway, I look around at the pristine forest surrounding me and think, “Oh fuck, where am I now?”
All I have with me are two kayaks, enough camping gear for twelve people, and a golden retriever. The thing is: I don’t know how to kayak, I’ve never been camping before in my life, and I have no idea how this dog got into my back seat.
So far, I’ve seen a wolf and seven extremely photogenic moose, but not a single road sign telling me what state I’m in. The last thing I remember is a deep voice saying, “Go where the adventure takes you.” Then suddenly, there were trees everywhere, and I was alone. Deeply alone. Except for this dog, who is my only companion. He nips at me constantly.
I have no road map and no answers; only random facts shouted out from the sky as I off-road through a grim desert landscape. I know this car “features a 2.4-liter Subaru Boxer Engine with 213 horsepower,” but I would trade that esoteric knowledge for any piece of information that could actually help me, or even a granola bar. I’m very, very hungry.
I could’ve sworn I passed that waterfall before. But a few seconds ago, I was whipping around a snow-covered mountain, and just before that, everything was rocks. My shirt is soaked with sweat from stress and terror, and I just want to get home to see my family. I never even got to say good-bye.
I keep praying that I’ll see another car, or a gas station, or any sign of life at all. But it’s always just me on this mountain highway, curving around an unforgiving precipice with no guard rails and hearing the voice talking about the “instant flow of power and torque.”
“What is torque!?” I scream as I hold on for dear life.
“Maximum torque hits all the sweet spots,” is the answer I get in return as I sob into my power steering wheel.
Every day I drive and drive in endless loops, and at night I sleep in a small yellow tent at the edge of a dark blue, lifeless lake. I wake up to find myself not in my tent but on a beach throwing a frisbee for this menacing dog, just grateful to have a minute’s respite from his sharp teeth digging into my forearm as I try to navigate this compact SUV through mud puddles, sand, and dust.
Today, while we were parked at the edge of a deep ravine, the voice returned. “Go further,” it said.
“If I go any further, I’ll fall off this cliff!” I yelled back. Silence. The dog nipped me again. I heard nothing except the echoes of my screams reverberating against the cliff face. The dog bit me once more; a small trickle of blood oozed from my arm.
I couldn’t take it anymore. The babbling brooks, the dirt roads, the rickety little bridges that look like they should be condemned. It was all leading nowhere, and I couldn’t spend the rest of my life eating crisp fall leaves for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Then something miraculous happened: I was suddenly hang-gliding. My heart soared with hope as I flew through the air.
That’s when I heard it.
“The all-new Subaru Forester.”
And just like that, I was back on the road with two bicycles strapped to the roof of my car, a surfboard in the back, and an angry yellow labrador. Goddammit.