Navigating The Mid-South Corn Maze is an annual tradition for Partner and me. For $7 a head, you can lose yourself in a maze of corn stalks for about an hour or so. For only $3 more, you can go after sunset to navigate the “haunted” corn maze; however, having an air horn blare up my ass equates “annoying” not “haunted,” so Partner and I attend when the sun is out.
The design of the maze is different every year. This year’s design:
Some of you may think this looks easy, but from inside the maze, all you see is:
To aid the lost, ten or 11 signs were placed throughout the maze to provide guidance:
But these signs are for pussies so Partner and I were navigated by the male species’ divine, inherent ability to never ask for directions, not even from inanimate objects (yes, this even applies to gay men).
After only 20 minutes, we found ourselves standing at the halfway-point exit of the maze. We beat our chests in celebration of our masculine success (who needs signs!?) and began our trek through the second half, expecting to be through the entire maze in record time.
Twenty minutes after our first chance to exit the maze, frustration began to settle in. Every intersection began to look the same. It got to the point where I would desperately ask Partner which direction he thought we should go, but he responded each time with a defeated sigh and shrug.
Fifty minutes after we entered the maze, I suggested we leave articles of clothing at intersections we encounter. We would start by tying our shoes and socks to corn stalks and then work our way up. This may have made us look desperate, but wandering buck naked through a corn maze seemed a fair price to pay to find our way out again. Partner was against this plan, though. He’s such a prude.
Sixty minutes into the maze, I spotted a woman with two children in a state of desperation similar to mine. Instead of stripping her kids, though, she marked each intersection with a puddle by pouring a little of the contents of her water bottle. I found this to be a good idea. This also made me question why her survival instincts were better than my own. Not only did she utilize her available tools to make intelligent navigational choices, she also brought two children to eat if the situation became dire. If not for this wise woman, the corn maze staff probably wouldn’t have found Partner and my mummified bodies until next year’s Spring thaw. Since I didn’t have water of my own, I marked each intersection by making a scuff mark in the dirt with my shoe.
Seventy minutes into the maze, delirium set in. I began harassing other mazers by despondently asking if they had yet found question 10. I needed question 10 to tell me which direction to go. But nobody else had found question 10. Nearing exhaustion, feeling dejected, and fighting irritation, I staggered among the corn like a zombie. I had since given up asking Partner for his suggestions. At this point, my plan was to just keep walking. I was bound to find the exit if I walked enough, right?
Eighty minutes into the maze, I had come to accept the corn maze as my new home. Even though there was plenty of corn to eat, Partner began to look like a delicious, walking hot dog with mustard and relish.
After eighty-five minutes in the corn maze, I had just mustered the courage to trap this walking hot dog with mustard and relish when I suddenly found myself at the corn maze exit. I struggled not to fall to my knees and kiss the ground for I didn’t want to give the impression that the maze was hard, though I will say [spoiler alert] that I finally know what Sandra Bullock’s character in Gravity felt like after she made it back to Earth. I was so relieved that if I had lost my wallet (or Partner) inside the maze, I would have preferred to cut my losses than go back for it.
Even as I type this, I am grateful to be alive. It was quite an experience. I was even happy to see the heathens when we got home. When I explained to Mr. Tiddles how I was very close to never seeing him again, he seemed indifferent to my tale of dread and asked, “So what’s for dinner?” Heartless bastard.
by Cary Vaughn (2014)