“Ya know, Cat” Chris starts in. “After that display, you might want to consider taking up flying.”
I have nothing of substance so I just go low.
“Oh yeah? ” I am staring at his stupid sunglasses. “Well, FYI, only Tom Cruise in 1983 can pull off Wafarers…and there is nothing risky about your business.”
We are driving home on a glorious afternoon after what, by some accounts, was an idyllic afternoon at “The Lake.” Those accounts would be dead wrong.
I pulled into our driveway this morning after a long run with friends. I was literally giddy from the endorphins and still laughing at our antics on the trail.
My happy is instantly doused as I pull my car next to Chris. He is half in half out strapping the canoe on the roof with fluorescent orange straps. Yes, we own a canoe.
He smiles at me and announces that Sammy would like to go fishing.
I am all about the family today when I blurt out:”Let’s all go!” Chris stares. “You heard me right? I said : FISHING on the CANOE at the LAKE.”
“Oh sure!” I am bouncing at my newly found enjoyment of family time. We really should do things like this more often.
I don’t even stop to change or drink. We hop into the car and are off.
Remember, I had just completed a 7.5 mile run and it was a sticky hot day. We arrive at Marsh Creek and Chris unhooks the straps on the roof with great ceremony.
He is testing my figurative water. “Wanna help me put in?” I snort from laughing so hard. Ok ok….I help him carry the canoe to the lake side. It is really heavy. I am already sweating.
In order to fully fit in with all of the other day-cationers at the lake, we have brought our stripy cheapy beach chairs. We, however, DID NOT bring a cooler of beverages. I am not wearing waterproof pants OR Keens. We are clearly poser lake people.
Chris and the big kids paddle off waving happily. Hadley plops next to me and proceeds to “read” me her yearbook.
Life is good.
But, I am hot. And sweating. A lot. Hours (it seems) pass. They are still gone. A. Long. Long time. Finally, I drag Hadley to the public restroom.
Digression: Guess what I hate MORE than National Parks with their wholesome un-luxurious rusticness?BATHROOMS in National Parks. They come complete with fogged up mirrors, non-flushing toilets and countless creepy crawlies.
Anyway, right next to this parks “facility” is a porcelain water fountain. I eye it with disdain. There is so much crap in it that I assume no water has run to it’s drain since the Carter years. No. Way. I. Am. Drinking. From. That.
I make a plan to head back to our spot and wait for Chris. He will hang with Haddie while I go for water.
Finally our very own red canoe (affectionately known as Bessie) pulls up to shore. The three of them are laughing and splashing each other happily. I am spittingly angry except without spit because I am so dehydrated.
I am on the warpath the minute he “takes out.” After explaining my need for IMMEDIATE potable water, I grab the keys. Chris tells me he will show me the best way around and out of the park to the nearest place for water.
That is, when he is finished.
He is now talking with another man with TWO canoes and TWO kids. This gentleman is clearly in a bind. He is having a hard time hoisting the canoes onto his roof alone. Don’t ask me how he got them here in the first place.
I have known my husband for many years. I see him scratch his beard and point to the other man’s rooftop. There is some sort of unspoken dad-canoeness bond that is forming. He has NO intention of guiding me to water. I am now so thirsty my brain is turning to dust. I stomp to the car and pull out a little too loudly. He does not turn around.
Just keep the lake to your left. I repeat that over and over. Confident that in a short while a convenience store laden with Deer Park will appear.
Lake. Left. Check.
Lake. Left. Check.
Lake. Left. Check.
Lake…uh oh. It is gone. The lake has disappeared. That was not in my plan. I consider continuing on. But, in my hasty exit, I left my cell phone at “base camp.” If I get lost, I won’t be found for weeks. Since I am already half way to death from dehydration, I decide to turn around and go back. I pass a huge horse farm. Dotting the fence are buckets. I imagine them overflowing with water for the thirsty animals. I try to cry but nothing comes.
The Lake appears once again…on my right. Whew. As I approach our former parking spot, I see the bathroom and its sorry little water fountain. I stop in the middle of the road and jump out. I have no idea if anyone is behind me. I race toward the thing with such ardor that bystanders step back to let me through. I turn the knob and thankfully an arch of clear water erupts. I lower my lips and slurp greedily. As I gulp down the warm, metallic non-Deer Park water, I have a realization.
Closing one’s eyes at a water fountain is a self preserving instinct. I would rather die of thirst than ever come eye to eye with that fountain’s resident gigantic, hairy Daddy Long Legs again.
And, as if there was any doubt, there is only one person to blame for that fiasco…and he really needs new sunglasses.