In the interest of not becoming unthinking, unfeeling, and inescapably conventional. thirty-four-year-old Nate Black of Nashville, Tennessee, opted to take a more scenic, out-of-the-way route to his workplace, thinking that the less-traveled road might prove a positive experience and really open him up as a person.
Unfortunately, instead, he wound up lost, late, and re-convinced that the conventional path is the path for him.
“I’m not a total hick,” said Nate. “I’ve read Thoreau. He makes it seem all cool and fun to swim upstream.” He rolled his eyes. “Well, FYI, the alternative path isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
Shortly into the journey, not only did Nate find himself on a remote back road without a cell phone signal and unable to navigate via GPS, but he was also brought face to face with his utter lack of survival skills and of even the most basic knowledge of nature.
“I was sort of trying to navigate by the sun,” he explained, “but it was cloudy day, and not only that, I wasn’t really sure if I was trying to head south or west. So overall, not great.”
The nadir came when he rounded a sharp bend only to see a fat possum leisurely crossing the road. He swerved to avoid the animal, nearly running off the road in the process. Fortunately, he didn’t do any damage to the vehicle, but that close call again reminded of him his complete lack of basic skills.
“I don’t know what I’d have done if I got a flat tire,” he said. “I know there are ways of dealing with that, but like I said, my phone wasn’t working. How was I even supposed to call Triple-A?”
Nate did eventually make it to the container store where he works, albeit nearly an hour late. Immensely relieved to be safely back in the land of strip malls, credit checks, hand-to-mouth working for a living, and lots of television, he vowed to stick to what works for him.
“That road-less-traveled stuff might have worked for Thoreau, but I’m good with the extremely well-traveled highways," he said. "I realized there’s no point being different for the sake of being different. Why not do the same things that the other ten billion or however many Americans are doing? After all, can ten billion people really be wrong?"