11 July 2012


It is finally warm enough to be called summer here in Universe City (and everyone who is now complaining about 80+ degrees F can SHUT UP. You get your nine months of rain. Let us have a few weeks of sunshine. We have to stock up on Vitamin D sometime).

Anyway, it is finally (almost) warm enough to satisfy me, so obviously I jumped at the chance to float the river on Sunday. 

One of my major complaints about State of Happiness (and the Pacific Northwest in general) is that the water is so cold. The water in the ocean is cold. The water in the rivers are cold (snowmelt). The water in the lakes is cold (snowmelt, springs). This is not okay, people. You cannot swim in water that causes hypothermia in mere minutes, even in the middle of the summer. Particularly not summers here, where everyone whines when it hits 90 degrees F.

Somehow, though, on a 91 degree F day, the water in the river had warmed enough to be tolerable all these miles from the snowmelt, as long as only one's butt and feet were in the water.

Problems abounded. Probably because I was involved. K. had an extra tube for me, but he blew it up. As in, over-blew it, so that it popped. SHO's raft had been chewed by a varmint. So SHO and I went to the most Africa-looking store I have ever encountered in the US (few aisles, lot of bright plastic crap made in China) and bought tubes for $11.99. The good kind, from the sporting good section. Okay, as good as a store that sells tubes for $11.99 offers.

We arrived riverside with our tubes, and all piled into one car to shuttle up the river. K. and SHO held a tire tube onto the top of the car with ropes through the window. Periodically it would blow back over the back windscreen and sort of flutter there, begging to be let loose.

Then that tire exploded, just about as soon as K. set it down on the ground to tie some rope around it.

We all got back in the car and went to the Africa-looking store on that side of town.

The floating, though, was lovely. It was peaceful and comfortable and sometimes a little bit exciting.

There were, of course, a few minor glitches. 

At the risk of talking about work, floating the river does come up sometimes at work, in a context that is less than flattering about the standards of some of the people who float the river. And sure enough, there were the teenagers lying to the cops about having life jackets. ("We lost them back there on that curve.") There were the teenagers who were hiding beer cans. There were the teenagers who somehow managed to keep cigarettes and lighter dry in order to contaminate the air of all concerned when we got stuck floating next to them.

You know you are old and boring when you wear a life jacket the whole time you are floating the river, and you are tempted to scold the smokers. And when you thoroughly sunscreen yourself well in advance, just so that sunburn is not much of a worry. Because otherwise I would, in fact, worry.

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