Friday, April 26, 2013

Are you ready?

When I was in high school, working construction part-time (among many other things) we were coming home from a job along the shore. The posted speed limit was low, the truck was seriously overloaded, and we were towing equipment so we were really towing the line, trying to fly under radar. It was one of the reasons we were hugging the coast instead of taking main thoroughfares if you get what I mean.

Seeing how the truck was about fifteen years old and the only form of air conditioning involved rolling down the window - all were down and we were hanging out hoping nature would pity us and send a breeze our way. The job we were headed home from had been in a more "southern" clime and it was warmer than we were accustomed to on top of us being beat-tired and sweated through from work.

That was when we spotted the family off an old rickety boat dock. They had this shiny, pomaded up fiberglass boat sitting deep in the water, clearing her throat with guttural bursts. That's what caught our attention. That and the steady lurch of the truck as we had to almost stop to go over the dratted speed bumps and inevitable koi pond sized potholes that accompanied the same. While the driver cursed we watched and listened as the family readied a wanna-be-water-skier on the dock. A part of me had my jaw hanging thinking, "Oh man, that is so wrong, you got to start in the water..." Another part, most likely the demonic imp that dances on my shoulders just said, "Get ready to watch tis babe!"

The guy on the boat hollered back, "Are you ready Water King?" to which his brightly hued, life-vested, straw hat-wearing, ski-laden, adrenaline junkie - clueless in the art of waterskiing replied, "I am READY!!!"

And the boat took off. Full throttle for all she was worth, all 90-horses screaming, twisting water, sending the boating on a pell-mell course that ran not quite straight but jack rabbited a tad before the pilot got it under control and he spun it out into the open channel. The skier? Um, yeah. He was in the middle of the dock when the growl of the motor signaled all systems go and the fool bent his knees. From there he duck-stepped once, twice, then lost a ski in between the boards of the grey-hued weathered dock planking. Never letting go of the pull rope, he was jerked off his remaining foot, went sky-born for a brief moment, then skipped like a stone across the water as the boat did that odd jig-jag I that point the boat slalomed him across a sandbar where he lost the second ski - it popped into the air like a toothpick. As the boat caught it's pace - so did the skier - as a kite tail behind the bright skimming silverfish. The Water King never once thought to let go of the pull rope.

I don't know what was worse, the fact that no one on the boat ever looked back to see how he was doing, or that all of his friends on the shore were laughing as hard as us in the truck (who, incidentally almost wrecked said vehicle watching the spectacle). Yes, it eventually all sorted out, but the guy looked like he went five rounds with Ali.

Over the years I wondered, 'why didn't anyone tell him what he was doing wrong?' Was it because of the nickname? There are plenty of people who think they know everything, to the point where the only way to let them learn the opposite is to have them make their own mistakes. Was that it? But...why didn't he just let go? There was even a night where I had a dream where I was in the same position, every time the motor turned on - I dropped the line. On a lark I sat and meditated, put myself in that position... My first roadblock was trust. I don't have a wealth of it. Not for anyone. Certainly not in that type of situation. Given my dislike of water, it took a long time to get to the stage where I could re-enact the scene.

Anticipation, wanting something so much then having it within your grasp then - BAM! - shock as everything goes from standing still to instantly moving faster than perception can adjust, faster than the body can move. Breath burns, shoulders tear, body attempts to keep up - failure! Pain as one ski is ripped off. Then hit the water. Not a soft hit but like razors, the surface hitting the body with wet slaps and smacks a moment before rolling you across a dirt and sand riddled bar then tearing forward again, this time pulling off sections of skin from arms and legs and the head. All the while looking at the back of the boat, the instrument pulling you - something that was intended to be fun but what is now torturous - and wondering at all the averted faces...why haven't they looked back once? Has it been that fast? Or has it just seemed that long to me?

Now, are you ready for your decisions in life? Sure not everything needs thought out like the Water Kind should have done, but you'd be astounded how often small things should be given that kind of attention. You know, 'the butterfly effect'. Only I like to think of it as, 'are you ready Water King?' Well? Are you ready? Things are getting pretty real out there to make bad decisions let alone to hold on way too long.

Just something to think about while I work on type-type-typing.

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