My favorite part about living somewhere new is the opportunity to interact with the “natives” in their natural habitat. Living in Connecticut has exposed me to many new things and I try to seize opportunities to get out there and really get a feel for the Northeast. This summer’s theme is outdoor recreation.
What better way to find an exciting outdoorsy man than to be a woman in the exciting outdoors? This past week, I found out just how spot-on my theory really is–with the exception of a few unforeseen speed bumps, of course.
After work on Wednesday, the Boss Lady and I made plans to go kayaking.
Kayaking wasn’t big where I grew up. Still, it seemed like something I could pick up easily. So, I went to Dick's Sporting Goods during their big sale and perused kayaks with some equally novice friends. Since the store was full of flocks of customers who were drawn in by the sale, my friends and I were left to our own devices when it came to picking out kayaks.
The only thing I knew about kayaks was that they flip over–and the thought of flipping over terrified me. That was not the way I wanted to die. So, my friends and I all picked bright orange and yellow “sit-on” kayaks, designed so that you really can't get stuck under them.
It wasn’t long before I realized that my sit-on kayak was very different from the ocean kayaks people were taking out on the Sound. Still, it seemed like a sea-worthy craft for exploring the Farm River.
On Wednesday, after begging the Boss Lady to meet up with me so I wouldn’t have to go it alone, I zipped up my life jacket and zipped up my dog and away we went... right in front of the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club. Perfect right? Hullo college boys!
The Boss Lady was skeptical about whether or not I’d be able to kayak with a beagle who hates the water. But, aside from being 28 pounds of dead weight, he quietly sat on the back of the kayak and didn’t move a muscle (I think he was paralyzed by fear). We were both well on our way to adventure, but there was no Boss Lady in sight. I decided I would continue further out into the increasing swell and chop that is the Sound. I was feeling invincible.
That’s when I met Lou–or Stew? Or Drew? I can’t say for sure, but we’ll go with my gut instinct: Lou. He was in a green kayak heading towards Kelsey. Lou and I chatted for a few minutes and I found out that he lives about a block down from me. He probably thought I was crazy for being out in my tippy little pool toy, but I assured him that I was meeting a friend and going up the river. I pretended like it was something I do every day. I wanted to impress him with my confidence. Right as Lou began paddling away, I thought about calling out to him and giving him my number. Unfortunately, I didn’t have pen and paper on me.
I don’t know exactly what Lou looked like since I wasn't wearing my glasses, but I just have this feeling that he is good looking and funny and smart and the exact kind of guy who should take me to dinner at our neighborhood restaurant. (Lou, if you are reading this and you are single and interested–want to do Pasta Night at Augie’s next Wednesday?)
Not five minutes after Lou was out of sight, I got waked by a nice little family in a nice little motor boat. Huck and I instantly flipped over. If you are familiar with the term "yard sale," that sums up what happened. He went one way and I another, but luckily, I tightly held his leash and was able to save his grateful little beagle hide. My paddle floated away but I still had my sunglasses, so I offered them up to Poseidon for my life and the life of my dog and threw them over my shoulder.
I pushed my shaking, crying dog towards the ever far reaching shore when the Boss Lady showed up gliding like a kayak angel—maybe even glowing. She appeared to be at a loss for words (or maybe she was laughing and trying to keep it on the inside) either way, she did not seem all that surprised. She got my paddle and my sunglasses, waved off the boat that decided to come back AFTER making me flip, and encouraged my insanity (aka doing the same thing several times over expecting a different result) as I tried to get back on the kayak. The swells and my decreasing strength worked against me and after nine times, I decided laying flat on my belly was good enough. The Boss Lady just sat there with my dog and said, “Ah, try again.”
After realizing that no eligible male lifeguard was coming to get me (and by proxy another lifeguard for the Boss Lady), we decided to rig Huck’s leash and commence the tow back to shore. If only Lou could see me now...Good thing he saw me when I was lounging nonchalantly—Queen of my world, and not this half-drowned, surfboard-paddling girl I became. On the way back, I kept praying, "Good Lord, please no one call the Coast Guard!"
I feebly paddled on, focusing all my energy on staying on the kayak and moving forward and laughing. We were quite a sight. At least, I was laughing until we started past the Yale boys, who coincidentally stopped what they were doing and stared as we went by.
Could I muster a, "Hi, how are you?" or "What good weather we are having?" No! I was painfully aware of how uncool I looked. No wonder Lou didn’t ask for my number—he must have seen it before it even happened!
Rather than giving up my hopes of meeting people by expanding my adventurous horizons, I decided that I need to look into classes hosted by the Coast Guard Auxilary in Milford and maybe take some real lessons.
The important thing for everyone is that the great outdoors can be dangerous. You cannot play cool if you don’t know what you are doing and damsels in distress, no matter how much I want to be one, went out with the 1500s. If I want to charm those "yakers" out there, I’m going to need more than my cute pink life jacket and smile.