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I decided a while ago that I would like to describe myself as an enthusiast of some kind. I like the sound of “I’m a _________ enthusiast,” even though that phrase kind of reminds me of this very tense woman I used to work with at corporate bookstore who described herself as a “birder”, and assured all of us that she could take any customer looking for the best bird guide for their specific needs. I ignored this offer for help, and sent those customers straight to the shelf with the advice “Sibley’s is the best.”
I’m enthusiastic about many things, to be sure, but it seems like to label yourself as an enthusiast of something, that something must be somewhat unique, perhaps unexpected–you can’t just match it up with every hobby or it loses its zing.
I’ve now found the thing that I am an enthusiast of. It is rather unique, totally unexpected by me, and I think has a nice ring to it–kayaking. I am a kayaking enthusiast. The fact that kayak is a palindrome is just a delightful bonus.
This past weekend, Joe Roch hosted a lovely shindig at the lake where we drank entirely too much, played parlor games, made s’mores, grilled, drank, swam, and I unearthed my affinity for water sports. What a time of discovery.
I’ve always been somewhat intimidated/put off by water sports, for a number of reasons:
- My family has never had a lake cabin, or been particularly close with anyone who does (except my Aunt and Uncle in Wisconsin, but we only saw them once a year at best). Therefore, there was no opportunity to practice anything I might be good at.
- Since we never had our own lake domicile, we also didn’t have any kind of watersports equipment. Again, we were at the mercy of my Aunt and Uncle who had a torpedo, speed boat, and water skis–no kayak.
- When I was at summer camp, a few of us took out a canoe for part of the afternoon. I had ridden in a canoe before, never paddled, but since I had technically BEEN IN A CANOE, I was considered an expert by my bossy friend. I had to be the steerer, which only works if the other paddler is competent as well. The other paddler (bossy friend) assumed that I was solely in charge of where the canoe went, didn’t really think about how she should be paddling and working with me, and kept yelling at me for misrepresenting my skills (which I had not done), as we gracefully and majestically went plowing through the roped-off swimming area sending dozens of campers diving for cover.
- The above experience was not fun, and not something I want to repeat, so for years I insisted that long narrow boats are simply not for me.
I have overcome that trauma, and had several pleasant canoe excursions since that time, but never have a felt so enthusiastic canoeing as I did in that lovely kayak.
Long before I got into the “no-buy month” thing, I started carrying a bottle of water with me everywhere I went. This is part of the reason I carry such a gigantic purse. The reasons are threefold: I like to stay hydrated and enjoy drinking water, I hate paying for bottled water when if I have a container designed to let me travel with water, and because I grew up in the Midwest where the “winter survival kit” is a must and parents and older people get very, very angry with you if you don’t have one. I’m not saying I carry a winter survival kit with me at all times, or even have one in my car, but I always feel like inevitably I’m going to be stranded somewhere where I’ll be cold, possibly hungry, certainly thirsty. This is why I almost always have a jacket or sweater and carry oatmeal in one of my purse’s side pockets.
The only problems up to now, are the fact that I’ve been drinking exclusively out of a Nalgene bottle for about four years now, and if what they say about the plastic leaking chemicals into your drinking water is true, then any potential babies I may have will most likely have flippers. Also sometimes I forget it places, and once it rolled under my couch without my knowledge which prompted me to re-visit every place I had been that week and ask people if they had seen my water bottle. Then this week the stupid thing opened up in my purse and dumped 1/2 quart of liquid all over my possessions and my library book.
The book doesn’t look terrible, it’s a bit puffy. Certainly it’s not as bad as that copy of We were the Mulvaney’s some lady returned to the library after dropping it in the lake– but clearly something needed to be done. When he saw the state of the book, and me unsuccessfully trying to squeeze water out of it, Gentleman Caller got very excited.
“We need rice! Do you have any rice?”
I said yes, and the book has been sitting in a rice bath for a few days now. The fact that it’s Minute Rice may affect the process somewhat, but since I’ve never done this before, I really have no idea. Gentleman Caller has never done this either, but said he’s always been curious. He’s a scientist, so I trust him– also, I know rice can act as a desiccant cause, well, I know things. It does seem like it’s taking quite a while, but I have one more renewal, so I’ve got plenty of time.
In other news, I haven’t seen my boss in nearly two weeks. I got one email from him saying he’d be out of the office last Wednesday, but he wasn’t there on Thursday either, nor was he there today. I make a point of adjusting his chair so he knows I’ve been there, but then I just go home. I wonder if he’ll be in tomorrow… My job kind of rules.