Nothing gives me flashbacks to summer camp quite like a kayak (or bunk beds or the Goosebumps books). When my attempt to rent a scull at Thompson’s Boat Center was thwarted, I made do with a kayak. Why thwarted, you ask? I’ll tell you. I learned that asking by phone whether I can be certified for sculling on a certain day is not sufficient and that I should instead be omniscient enough to know that Saturdays are sometimes right out. “Can’t you see there’s a regatta today?” “Why yes, sir, I can see that as I stand here. I’d like to have known it an hour ago—the hour that it took me to drive here…. This is where the website could be a more useful communication tool. You have no online calendar of events. Would you like to tell me again how there’s a regatta today and ask why oh why am I trying to get a scull certification?” I have no shiny sculling certificate to show you, but I did at least get a cheesy kayak adventure. This kayak adventure wasn’t like the one at St. Mary’s where I swam and kayaked an afternoon of frivolity away only to read a few days later that bull sharks were spotted in the river, pushed in by hurricane currents. That was a piss-my-pants moment.
Ah… graffiti-covered bridges, birds eating hot dogs, and water so thick with muck it has its own signature smell. Yes, I do believe I’m on the Potomac: where the trash floating on the water isn’t half so foul as the redneck who discarded it. I passed some regatta training and meekly waved, laughing internally at their struggle. I know the self-loathing when one hears a coxswain yelling to keep rowing when one’s body wants to give out. “Why am I here? Why did I just bus 5 hours to this regatta just to be yelled at, lose the race, feel inferior to fitter teammates?” I suppose I shouldn’t project onto them like that. Those high school boys might be far more confident than I was in sports. I laughed anyway. My mirth was quickly quelled by the stench of the half hidden drain passage as my kayak wobbled by.
On a positive note, although I didn’t take out the boat I wanted, I still found the water-based cardio exercise I went looking for. I think perhaps next I might try cardio boxing…. Will my wrists endure such a trial? We’ll see.