I stood up shakily. Held my arms out by my side for balance. Which helped me from teetering over and plummeting back into the dirt. I could vaguely see my cats off in the distance. Little blurry blobs of fur in the darkness. So I followed them up the trail as they led me to my campsite. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like heroic Lassie the dog leading me to safety. The cats were leading me up to the catfood dish. But, fortunately, that’s also where I camp. So it was a win-win situation for both of us.
I grabbed my blankets from the bushes where I keep them stashed and then took out a can of catfood to reward my cats for saving me from peril. But wouldn’t you know it? If things weren’t sketchy enough at this point there was a goddam raccoon sitting there two feet away from me also waiting to be fed. So I’m sitting there at the catfood dish with my two feral cats on one side, and the raccoon on the other side. And they’re both growling at eachother. And I’m like the referee in the middle that has to navigate the situation. But I was proud of my cats for holding their ground and not running away like they usually do when a raccoon shows up. Course it was sort of like when the neighborhood bully shows up but your big brother (me) is there to protect you. So that made my cats feel especially tough in the situation. I’m too drunk to find a stick to spoon the catfood out of the can like I usually do. So I have to scoop it out with my hands. Which I hate doing. The cats might really like that canned cat food. But I personally find it yucky and don’t like to get it on my hands. But I manage to dump one pile of it on one dish for the raccoon and another pile on the other dish for the cats. So we all lived happily ever after.
Then it was like I blinked my eyes and I’m lying there with the sun shining in my face and its daylight. One of the few beneficial side effects of alcoholism is you don’t have to worry about insomnia. You usually sleep pretty well. In any circumstances. And I had gotten a good 8 hours of sleep and felt vaguely refreshed. My campsite was a complete mess, my blankets strewn haphazardly around me. And I didn’t have my cardboard matting, which I usually sleep on, so I had slept right on the dirt. I couldn’t find where my glasses were. My first thought was that I had lost them when I had toppled over. Or maybe I rolled over in my sleep and crushed them, (which I’ve done at least 5 times before, mangling them all out of shape). But. fortunately, they were laying there safely in the dirt by my blanket. Feral Tom, one of the more cautious of my feral cats, was peering at me from behind a tree. So I got up and fed him some cat food. I realized I was wearing gloves, which was odd. Apparently some time during the night I thought: “Gee, its a bit nippy, I better put some gloves on for warmth.” In fact when you sleep out in the cold you lose most of your body heat from your hands and your head. So that shows I was semi-sensical last night. Of course I had lost my hat somewhere amidst my confusion. So I’d have to track that down. Which is what its like in the dreaded Next Morning. You’re like a detective at the scene of the crime trying to piece together what had happened last night. I noticed there was a 6 pack of Racer 5 (my favorite) in my backpack, minus two bottles. It was probably the extra weight in my pack (about 10 pounds, those bottles are heavy) that had caused me to lose my balance, lose my equilibrium and topple over. Usually the laws of physics explain everything in the end.
I staggered down the trail and found my piece of cardboard and my hat at the spot where I had evidently plummeted to the earth. I would find my piss jar — filled to the brim — further on down the road where I had apparently placed it for some mysterious reason.
As I staggered down the road I noticed there was a huge mob of people up ahead of me. Including a bunch of cops and security guards. Its bad enough when you wake up hungover and disheveled. Not only that, you’re still drunk from the night before. And then on top of that,you also have to deal with reality (so-called). I quickly realized the people were all gathering there for the Cal football game which would be played in the stadium later in the afternoon. Cal was playing those UCLA Bruins from southern California. One of our natural rivals. Hopefully the Bruins will be defeated. Go Bears! As I passed the security guards who were manning one of the barricades I overheard one of them say: “How the hell did that guy get in here?” Because they had the entire area fenced off on account of the upcoming game. I briefly considered stopping and explaining to them my situation. But then I thought better of it and just kept walking. . .