I've never been to Chris' Michigan home. I'm scared to.
I rely upon stories and pictures to imagine what Chris' life is like in Northern Michigan. My imagination fills the gaps when needed. This is where it gets dangerous.
I don't know for certain, but I believe Chris lives in a forest. I assume blood-thirsty bears attack his door on Halloween instead of trick-or-treaters. I wouldn't be surprised if his neighbor looks like Ted Kaczynski. I imagine Chris wakes every morning, goes outside nude, shovels up a pan of snow and boils it for his shower.
None of this is probably true, but it'd be hard to convince me otherwise.
Unlike Chris, I'm terrified of nature. I feel queasy if the air I breath lacks diesel fumes. My feet throb if I spend more than 10 minutes walking on anything other than pavement. I begin to predict doomsday when I see too many stars in the night sky. And I'm such a Midwesterner, I suffer high altitude cerebral edema when I drive over a hill taller than 100 feet. And Canadians simply scare the shit out of me.
I could never survive Chris' frontier life in Northern Michigan.
What perplexes me is we grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, four blocks from one another and lived pretty similar childhoods. How can he rough-it while I get upset if my hotel lacks organic conditioner?
Elmhurst is just outside Chicago. We both spent countless days and nights cruising suburban mini-malls and Chicago neighborhoods. That's our native environment - urban, suburban wilderness - Outback Steakhouse and Gander Mountain, oh my.
But somewhere along the way we split. Chris is at home in the remote wilderness. He enjoys the sound of crickets and wolves howling. He's not paralyzed with fear that the Michigan militia will take him away in the middle of the night.
Chris has traveled extensively. But I have too. But when I was drinking hurricanes on Bourbon Street, Chris was building homes in the Third World. While I reserved rooms at bed-and-breakfasts throughout England, Chris toured North America and slept in motel parking lots.
Does this mean that despite our similar upbringing and travels, Chris is just more worldly than me? Or am I just a pussy?