Thursday, July 28, 2005

Be Jealous, Alright?

Yesterday, the family decided to take a trip down to Virginia to spend a day on the lake, zipping about in our flashy yellow boat. When I say "family decided," I of course mean my parents cooked up this scheme and then informed my brother and I of our plans for Wednesday. That is how things work, you know, but I submitted to these plans readily, 'cause what kind of fool doesn't want to spend all day out in the sun, wind whipping back a long, blonde ponytail, warm lake water spray in the face, the thrill of jumping so, so high on any number of water toys stirring up massive amounts of adrenaline? I mean, really: Who? And do you know how big of a fool you are?

So I was roused at the ungodly hour of 5:37 a.m. (I know this because I thought I had dreamed someone standing in my room, looked at my clock, noted the time, and went back to sleep, only realizing later that I hadn't dreamt it at all.) and stumbled into my familiar uniform of bathing suit with the racing back that prevents falling offness when crashing into the water at high speeds, blue shorts, and black tank top, all designed to dry quickly. I think I was supposed to help load the car, but by the time I'd grabbed my purse and cell phone there wasn't anything for me to carry. John's friend had spent the night and came with us yesterday, so maybe the extra person made a difference or something; I don't know. I'm not purposely lazy, though.

We finally got to the lake and launched the boat and cruised around, looking at all the $7.5 million houses with the perfectly-manicured lawns and the huge boats and big vats of flowers and snapping American flags surveying over the property, all in an attempt to make things look cozy, I imagine. It's not cozy, all that finery, it's rubbish, and it's fake, and it's terribly uninviting. Those aren't the kind of houses that have secret passages or do anything worthwhile with the millions of dollars thrown at them, and who wants a big house without a secret passage?

Anyway, Dad kicked off the day by kneeboarding for a bit, then Mom tried it and managed to get up and ride about for a while (go Mom!), and we all had a go, and oh my goodness, it is sooo much fun. Except when you accidentally flip upside down and you nearly drown because, hey, you're strapped into the thing and now it's on top of you and you're under the water, but look at that, you hadn't managed to tighten the strap all the way because it'd gotten caught, and you're far, FAR more interested in jumping over wakes and doing tricks than in worrying over a silly little strap, so you can manage to slide your knees out and swim away before anything really BAD happens. But even so, doesn't it sound exciting? Okay, awesome, you're all invited to come along next time.

After that, we got out the tube, and I suggested that the three, well, non-parents all take a go at once, even though it's really only for two people, because I didn't want to wait, and it really is a lot of fun when you're whipped off the tube, I promise. Luckily, the parents let us, so we all boarded it and shoved off, and Dad went about the lake looking for a good place to take us, so we had a long time in which we weren't really going very fast, and all sorts of antics went on. Mom started taking pictures, so I suggested we all pose, and Matt wanted to switch with me so his weight would be on one side and when we all leaned maybe something would happen like on the Tilt-a-Whirl, and there was just general mayhem and amusement. And then the tube ominously slowed, and John and I knew what was coming: S-curves. The boat is fast and whips around quite nicely, and when it goes in an S-curve, the tube will catch the wake on its path and jump into the air, bouncing around, and on down the other side. Well, and we had THREE passengers now, and so more weight, and so more air. Eventually, Matt was ripped off, and I lost my grip as well when I turned to see where he was. We all swam for the tube and got on again, and then Matt fell off again, and we decided to have lunch.

John and I slipped off the tube and headed for the dock and burned our feet and he had to help me up. And then. Then, I heard a honking. And I heard it again. And I told John there were geese somewhere. Except when I looked, it was a couple of mottled, strange looking ducks. Wild ducks mixed with something else and they were honking just like geese. Gucks! I cried. Look at the gucks! Oh how I love waterfowl. Especially waterfowl that warrants a name such as "guck."

After lunch we cast anchor and I jumped off into the perfect water. It was warm and inviting and green and adventurous, and I was hoping to find a tombstone from when they had dammed the river and flooded the town that now lay below us. The tube was still attached to the boat, so I suggested a game of King of the Hill. It's a lot harder in life jackets. Eventually I fell off and grabbed the snorkel gear Dad had bought due to an unfortunate accident that occured last Saturday, the details of which I shall NOT disclose, but they might have involved, um, me running over the rope and Dad being forced to cut it off the propellor. Maybe. Or perhaps I was a valiant hero and saved the family from an attack of snakeheads. YOU'LL NEVER KNOW. So, I snagged the snorkel stuff and fitted it over my head and then put my face in the water and -- well. Snorkeling is basically the best thing ever. I mean, there's usually more stuff to see when you're snorkeling about in the Caribbean along a reef with rays and foreign fish and whatnot, but that's not the thrilling part for me. No, for me, what I like is that slight edge of panic when you first put your face in, wondering if the suction will hold, getting used to breathing for a tube, and forcing yourself to just relax... and then floating about, gazing at things, hearing your breath echoing. That is something I could do all day every day and never tire of it. Of course, all I saw was green murkiness and my own hands in front of my face, the silver of my ring catching the sunlight. I was looking for a tombstone, you'll remember, but only caught sight of Mom's legs or the stripes on Dad's bathing suit or the yellow of the underbelly of the boat. And of course, things kept striking me as terribly funny, so I'd sart laughing, which would break the seal, and I'd have to come up, my mask all flooded; the family would be laughing at me, because of course they could hear me laughing through the breathing tube. My favorite moment was when I was swimming up to my mother, planning on humming the Jaws theme as I came up to her, but collapsed into a fit of unquenchable laughter instead.

We all wanted to tube some more, so the boys got back on, and Matt went flying again, tired out and unable to hold on as the tube flew through the air in a sharp curve. I got on this time, and after a while, there was a big pull and the tube started flying through the air on its side, and John was ripped from the tube, and I barely managed to hang on, and I felt something bumping underneath my legs, and a sickening thought crossed my mind that I was kicking him in the head and he'd drown. The tube righted itself and my mom shouted something about how in the world I'd managed to hold on (but we already covered that, I'm just good, remember?), and I turned to make sure John was above water, that he was breathing, and that I hadn't given him a concussion. Although he kinda deserved one for dropping the bimini poles right on my head that morning, but in the anxiety of the moment, I'd forgotten that. The child survived, but he was exhausted and didn't want to tube any more, so we pulled the tube in and I held it steady for Mom to climb on. Tubing with her is a lot different, it's a lot less extreme, and there's a lot less flying through the air. It's still fun though, so I get a kick out of it.

The rest of the day went pretty much the same, except the boys were rather limp and fatigued because they're wimps. A huge thunderstorm came up as we were packing everything up, but we went into the restaurant to eat, so I couldn't stay out and watch the lightning. Someday, though, I'll chase tornadoes for real, and no restaurants will interfere with my enjoyment of the storm.

The best part of it all is, I remembered to put sunscreen on my face. First time all summer! Go me.


Anonymous leonardo deVinci said...


9:05 AM  
Blogger JENNIFER said...

Thunderstorms are awesome.

When I was home, I was at the dentist and while I was busy getting numb and waiting for Dr. Jacobsen (who, ironically was my baby-sitter growing up) I picked up a National Geographic that had a cover story about tornadoes and storm chasers. While I was reading it, I really wanted to change my major to meteorology or something. I soon thought through it and realized that course of study would be miserable for me.

So, I concocted a plan---you be the metrology genius and I'll be the driver...and I could also be the photographer. Or we could both take pictures. I would make myself useful. So, when you go storm chasing, I'll be available if you need me.

And, I remembered to wear sunblock too, but it wasn't sunny.

1:46 PM  

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