Yesterday, I went on a boating excursion with my boyfriend, Brian, a few of his Navy friends and their significant others (I would say partners, but that gives it a “don’t ask, don’t tell” vibe that is, unfortunately, inaccurate). I should preface this by saying I am not into water sports. Actually, I am not into any sports that don’t involve a) tackling, b) heckling and/or c) beer. But anyway, I didn’t grow up water skiing around Lake Tahoe like some of the rich bastards I went to high school with, so this was a new thing for me.
We got to the lake, which is actually a reservoir, which is actually really gross because I know damn well people pee and puke in it, around nine. Josh and Terri were already there, doing whatever it is you do to get ready to go boating. Josh is a big guy who looks like he played college football; he doesn’t say much, but he’s low-key and personable. His wife, Terri, on the other hand, says a lot. She says a lot, and she says it loud. Brian had warned me about this, but as we were their guests, I wanted to give her a chance. They had gone to the Navy officers’ ball the night before, and Terri was trying to brush out the tangles from her hairsprayed mane. OK, I went to prom; I understand it can be frustrating and painful to undo the damage of an overzealous hairstylist. But is it really necessary to let everyone know, repeatedly, just how excruciating your suffering is?
T: OH MY GOD, baaaabe! My hair is such a mess! Come look at this! Baaabe! Did you see all the tangles in my hair?
J: (mumbles something indecipherable while busying himself under the boat)
At this point, I started getting a little apprehensive about the rest of the day. I mean, I’m a pretty strong swimmer, but would I be able to survive if I jumped overboard and tried to swim to shore from the middle of the lake? I remembered the numerous life jackets at the back of the boat and filed that piece of information away, just in case.
Steve and Sheridan were running a little late to meet up with us, so Brian called Steve’s cell.
B: Hey man, where y’at (note that this is a commonly-used New Orleans phrase and not simply poor grammar)?
T: Never end a sentence with a preposition!
Now I have a fondness for the English language. I could write (and probably will) volumes on how “mischievous” is not pronounced “mis-chee-vee-us,” nor does “sherbet” grow an extra “r” to become “sherbert.” Shit like that annoys me, but I try to let it go. I certainly don’t correct relative strangers on misusing prepositions. I wonder how often she says, “From where do you come?” instead of “Where are you from?”
The rest of the day was mostly very enjoyable. We drank beer, ate sandwiches and took turns being pulled by the boat on various apparatus at 25 miles an hour. I really could have done without the last thing, but I didn’t want to be the only wuss on the boat, so I opted for the only choice that didn’t involve standing up: tubing. My only experience with tubing was at a place called Wayne’s World somewhere in bumblefuck Louisiana, where a large group of us floated down the river, drinking a cooler of High Life and humming the “Deliverance” theme. This was different.
I shimmied on my stomach onto a small, triangular tube that was attached to the back of the boat with a long rope. Then I clung for dear life to the tube’s handles as the boat sped across the lake, leaving me to bounce in its wake like a bikini-clad Raggedy Ann doll with Tourette’s, until I was tossed, ungracefully yet gratefully, into the water. Well, that sure was fun. No, I had a fantastic time, but I think I’m just going to hang out here with my beer and give the rest of y’all a turn at the fun.
After my brief water adventure, all I had to do was sun myself at the front of the boat and occasionally wave an orange flag when one of our party fell into the water. This would have been a perfect, relaxing way to spend an afternoon had it not been for Terri’s frequent, crescendoing outbursts. A few highlights:
1. (Josh has just stood up on a wakeboard for the first time) T: OH MY GOD, baaaaabe! Woooooooooooo! Baaaaabe! Wooooooooo! I love you! Wooooooooo!
B: (who is, mind you, the youngest of five and often accused of not using his “indoor voice”) Holy crap. I think I just heard that echo. No, seriously. Did you hear that?
2. (We are floating slowly toward the large rocks on the lake shore, but they are still a good 100 yards away. Josh is in the water getting ready to wakeboard.) T: These FUCKING ROCKS are waaaayyyyy too close! Baaabe! Do you see how fucking close these rocks are? I can’t handle this! We’re gonna hit the rocks! Baaabe! These FUCKING ROCKS!
3. (Brian has shown an irritating aptitude for yet another sport and has just fallen off after a long run on the wakeboard) B: Wow, it’s really hard to turn and switch feet when you’re up. I did it that first time, but I totally wiped out this time.
T: (cackles loudly) You see! You thought you were such a rock star that first time you did it, but it’s really hard, isn’t it? Isn’t it? I can hardly do it, and I’ve been doing it longer than you have! Now you see how hard it is! See?
Me (under my breath): Sweet Jesus, where are those life jackets?
So seven hours, several sunburns and countless ear-shattering screeches later, we made it back to shore. I’m not sure if I’ll go on the next lake outing, but I do appreciate this one for making me look, by comparison, like the most sane, loving, patient woman in the world.