Saturday was the first day of December. December. A definitive winter month. Instead of bundling up in a scarf and sucking down hot chocolate, I went kayaking in shorts and tank top. It was 80 degrees and the air was so thick with humidity that it was chewable. Things are thick and warm down here. I’m so pleased.
Anyway, back to kayaking. A couple of my friends just returned from a six month research stint in Thailand. Fully grant-funded. At a resort. Six months in Thailand at a resort. Did I mention they got paid for it? BASTARDS. Anyway, since the weather was so warm, they asked me if I wanted to go kayaking. When they said “hey we need to hang out” I was thinking more along the lines of hang out with alcohol, not exercise. But because I missed them, I agreed. They had an extra kayak (Because the one I had was so cruelly stolen. More bastards) and we took off for the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail.
I haven’t been kayaking in this area in about five years. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures because I couldn’t risk taking my camera. I have a bad history with that area. In fact, it is the location of the most traumatic experience of my life. Wanna hear? Good, because you have no choice. Well you could just close your browser, but if you keep reading, then you have no choice.
Once upon a time, I was dating a guy who was super outdoorsy and we spent all of our free time fishing and kayaking in that area. It was really fun (and I’m not even lying about that). One Sunday the area we normally launched from was closed.The closest area we could find to legally park and get in the water was much further away. We had been kayaking a lot, so the distance wasn’t really an issue, it just involved crossing a shipping channel. The areas we normally paddled about in were only a couple of feet deep (ideal for Redfish) and had slow moving water. The shipping channels are much deeper (obviously) and have a relatively swift current.
I was pretty nervous because, as you might imagine, I am quite unsteady and mostly off-balance. He assured me that I would survive and gave me some form of “grow a pair” pep talk. So, I plowed forward.
And it was fine. Everything was just fine. We made it across and had a nice day fishing. Eventually, it started to get dark and we headed back. The water was a lot choppier this time and halfway across the channel I lost my balance and fell out.
Normally, one would just crawl back in the kayak and go about their business. But, since we bought our kayaks at a scratch and dent sale, they were missing parts. Those parts were plugs and the cover to the storage area. Those parts were also backordered. For six weeks. Thanks Academy. So I could not climb back in because there was so much water in the body of the kayak that it was partially underwater. Like the Titanic.
I spent about a minute freaking out about the sinking situation before he yelled at me that I would just have to swim it back. Fine, whatever. I was wearing a life jacket and it was only about one hundred yards to the shallow part, I wasn’t going to die. Unfortunately, just as the warm feelings of likely survival began to wash up over me, I realized it was dark. It was dark and I was in the water. Salt water specifically. Thrashing like a cat in a bathtub. So, the possibility of life was quickly overclouded by my imminent and certain death via this guy:
Being the calm and collected person that I am, I started hysterically screaming and crying because, like men, sharks are afraid of tears. I tried to swim towards my boyfriend, but he threatened to jab me with his paddle. RUDE. Apparently he didn’t want to be tipped over too. After much hysteria, he eventually agreed to pull my kayak back for me while I held on and cried.
I lost my fishing pool, my sandwich, my paddle, and my water bottle. The sound of his laughter kept me company for the entire journey. He could corroborate this story, but as soon as I got on dry land I killed him and buried the body. I know it was ridiculous, but water is scary at night, even without sharks. And that’s the story of why I didn’t take my camera. The end.
Thankfully, my kayak on Saturday had all of its parts and I survived without trauma or tipping over. My upper body is still in excruciating pain, but I’ll take this as a sign that I should use it more. I soothed my PTKM (Post-Traumatic Kayak Memory) with this fantastic beer.
It tastes like peaches and pecans. Incredible.
I also finally went to see Lincoln! I LOVED it so much. It was so so so good. I want to go back because there was just so much to absorb.
When we were leaving the theater I heard a GROWN MAN tell his date/girlfriend/wife that he wished that there had been more war stuff “like Lincoln fighting and stuff.” Oh goodness. Goodness goodness.
Please feel free to share your stupidly traumatic stories so I can feel better about myself.