• Jessica Taylor Yates

Climb Every Mountain

Exercising. Send help.

Image: GIPHY


Republished with permission from Japes' Place, Los Angeles, 2011


Ola everyone! How's your rainy summer? My sunny winter is great, thanks for asking, just got back from a nap on the beach. Right now I’m in Starbucks on my laptop. I know. I'm one of THEM. So, being back in LA is WEIRD. The day I returned from my summer in Thailand was SCARY AS. At the airport, I was actually pulled into Customs and Border Security for an HOUR AND A HALF while they interrogated me about my whereabouts, why I was coming back, where my money was, where my return ticket was (uh...in my Hotmail? Smile. Blank stare. Wave. More blank stares and being ushered into a private room. Heart attack. Water. Continue).


It really freaked me out, I honestly thought they were going to send me BACK on a plane to Australia. HATE. PLANES. Anyway, obviously they couldn't resist me and I am BACK. I'm hiring a car here and therefore killing a few thousand people out there on the roads, making America's Most Wanted, that sort of thing. We'll see. Beforehand, in transit at the South Korean airport, , I went to buy Xanax at their pharmacy to shloof on the plane. Love their over the counter vibe.


'Hello, uh, Annyonghaseyo! Can I have some Xanax to sleep, please?' 'No miss nee' prescription, take this: '[hardcore medication]' is same!' (It isn't). 'Uh...look whatever, hate planes. Okay.’ 'Miss also, you nee' this one' (pulls out a huge cigar-like box). 'No thanks, I don't smoke.' 'No miss for skin, look! (Opens it up, filled with enough prescription pills to make a Colombian Drug Lord keel over). 'You miss, NEE' skin treatment! Look, your skin (makes a face to show his disgust and waves his hand at me) ugly, so awful, like TEENAGE BOY! You WOMAN, but loo' (points to my face) pimple, red, rash, bag under the eye, so ugly! Boy! Take pill everyday, no you TWO TIMES day, finally miss, I promise, you maybe can be beautiful.' And here I was thinking the only complex I needed to worry about was my mature-age neck.


*


So I am now officially living out of home in LA...(still ugly, couldn't understand South Korean conversion rates but I'm fairly certain he wanted me to spent a small home loan on this much-needed skin care) being a grown-up is SO. UNFUN. Shopping for groceries, bills, laundry, heating, heh? I'm really happy I'm not on the lease. Means theoretically I can bail. I share a room with my friend Ash, who is Phoebe in the free spirit way, but Monica in the cleaning way, so she is basically amazing.

I also made everyone (reluctantly) enter a Golden Globes Golden Sweepstake last night. We (I) drew up categories, sub-categories, rules, regulations...(‘Rules CONTROL the fun!’) and it was obviously fun because I. WON. $6 is MINE!

However, all this hanging around together invariably means one may get trapped into an activity not of their choosing. And this is how it came that I, Jessica 'No middle name' Meisels, went rock climbing up a MOUNTAIN. Look, I don't know. One minute we were talking and laughing about going to the 'Joshua Tree,' which, as any sane person would conclude, means visiting a tree named Joshua, maybe have a lie down and a picnic in the park while I read, children playing, that sort of thing. No. What was sold to me as a 'casual two-hour drive to a park' was a five-hour TREK to some desert mountains with the ugliest 'Joshua trees' I've ever seen, with no power lines, toilet or food/drink within a 5km radius (Jews can sense these things.) Oh, and one other thing: It was fucking FREEZING. It was honestly the only time I wished my arch-nemesis was there, cos she would have complained so much that I would've looked like a hero. Instead, all the people I had been hanging with suddenly morphed into these pro-climbers with all that weird shiny metal equipment and shoes and rods and things they had been hiding all semester (who ARE these people?!) and somehow roped me into sliding awkwardly over boulders, slipping down cold rocks, stumbling as I nervously (or TOTALLY FREAKED OUT, more appropriately) attempted (and failed) to jump from one rock to the next, and BURNT my hands on the gravel. As my crew skipped, hopped and jumped gleefully up the mountain, I grumbled and cursed that they were all seeing my weak, JAP-ish (and therefore accurate) side.


Allow me to demonstrate.

"Hey JP! (yeah, the nickname works here. So good). Just a bit more to go!" "I hate you. Where's Starbucks?" "Haha, oh JP, you'll be fine, haha!" "I'm...going to kill you. And then your whole family. I hate you. I curse the day you were born." "Ha...wait...you didn't laugh...Why do your eyes look crazy? What are you doing with those scissors?!" Etc.

I somehow found myself at the top of a mountain, looking down at the ugliest desert, attached by little more than a rope and a whole lotta faith.


"Don't worry Jess, we've got you!" "YOU'VE GOT ME?! You IDIOT, who ARE you, a rock-climbing teacher?! I DON'T THINK SO! GET ME DOWN THIS INSTANT I am a whole metre above ground!”

I could go on and on here, as I did tell Mum in a detailed 30-minute conversation, approximately 27 minutes of which was waiting for Mum to stop laughing at me and tell me, quote "Thanks for making me feel good about myself," unquote. After embarrassingly being let down:

"OMG. OMG. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I HATE YOU. I'M GOING TO JOIN THE NRA JUST SO I CAN KILL YOU FOR NOT LETTING ME DOWN. LET ME DOWN. LET ME DOWN NOW-" "Jess, PLEASE, you could jump you're pretty much touching the ground-" "STOP TRYING TO KILL ME YOU WILL NEVER HAVE MY SHOE COLLECTION!"


...and walking off in a huff...


"Jess! We still have three more climbs!"


HUH? We CLIMBED it already! Why would we climb AGAIN, genuinely confused? I decided to redeem myself:


“Hey, so, fun as this whole, you know, Everest thing is, over this whole tampering-with-death thing, I'm gonna lie in the car. Want me to take anything?” MISTAKE. And so this is how I ended up climbing DOWN a mountain, with inappropriate footwear, no phone reception, a back-pack, an esky, and a motherfucking DECK CHAIR. Took them 10-12 minutes, took me an hour. Omg. I am a Jewish GIRL. OBVIOUSLY when I offer to carry anything, what I MEANT was, "So, who's calling the helicopter to get me AWAY from all of you, then?"

F.M.L. Never again.

Everything you need for the conversations you have at brunch.

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