Monday, May 25, 2009

Canoe Trippin'

Recently I rode a horse for the first time in AGES. I can't really remember when the last time was and maybe it'll come to me later but I can't imagine what would have made me not ride for this long.

Being out there on "Toby" riding in an absoloutely breathtaking open field of bright yellow buttercups, completely encased by the lush Blue Ridge Mountains....well... I could'a died in that moment and that would've been just fine.

The weather was immaculate. Sunny, breezy, low seventies. We plodded along after our guide and within 15 minutes I was totally connected with this horse. All of our movements coincided and I began to feel intensely powerful but at the same time it was tempered with an egg wash of vulnerability.

There's just the steady knowledge that you have control over this animal but that you also have NO control. Kind of a rush. Especially when we rode them into the river. I felt like such a badass. Well at least like an extra in "Tombstone".

Afterwards I started thinking about other stuff I haven't done in years that I used to enjoy. The first thing that popped into my mind was canoeing.

Back in my early twenties when I lived in Michigan, a group of us would take a six hour canoe trip every summer. No rapids or anything. Just a peaceful river that you could get completely wasted on as you glided through the murky blue witnessing water.

For 3 years it was the same crew and always perfect. Big bag of dope, cooler of booze and laughs ensued. Well that is until the last hour and a half when you're totally trashed and trying to paddle a canoe as fast as you can because you've been in a canoe for 4 1/2 hours and your fucking over it but you never seem to remember that part.

However the 4th and final year that I went, my extremely fat and obnoxious roommate Sharon invited herself along. She was just like that. Clueless and careless about other's feelings and so certain that everyone wanted her around. I could hardly stand her but she charged me super cheap rent and I really liked her kid.

My canoe crew were in no way excited and subsequently spent alot more time farther down the river from me than ever before. Usually we coasted side by side passing a giant pair of stolen hemostats with a lit doob hangin' from them.

Right from the get go she had trouble getting into the canoe because she was a mastodon and so the decision was made for her to sit FACING me in the bow.

Meaning- Her fat ass wouldn't be paddling.

Twenty minutes into it I just kept praying some giant magic snake would drop down from a tree limb and bite her potato-like face off.

Of course that didn't happen but because my "buddies" had paddled so far ahead and I couldn't hear their warning and because "two-tons" was facing me instead of looking at the water, I didn't know there was a giant rock sticking up in the middle of the river just ahead.

"Duuuuuude!!!" she screamed as her body lurched forward violently as we crashed into our very own iceberg. And going by how dramatic she was acting, we might as well have been on the fucking Titanic.

She had her fat toes wrapped under the middle seat when we hit and I guess they all got kinda jammed up. Not broken, just stubbed. It probably did hurt but fuck her. She was a lazy bitch who should've been paddling.

And it probably didn't help that the other ships in our convoy were watching as they kinda figured what was to be and were all laughing with raw abandon.

"Fuck you guys!!!" Sharon screamed in theatrical agony.

"Hey man, look, here....just have a beer." I snaked my hand into the cooler as fast as I could and handed her a long neck of "shut the hell up".

"What the hell is wrong with you dude? Were you not paying attention? Jesus, I never would've came had I known you were going cripple me."

Ohhhhh... urge to kill. Urge to kill.

"Take a big hit from Karina in the next canoe and just let IT sink to the bottom of this river before you smash her skull in with your paddle."

I repeated that three times in my head before I actually could complete the action.

My friends feeling sorry for me now hung closer and toked down as I started to deplete our cooler resources in rapid succession.

"Slow down dude" I heard her say a couple of times but I was too far gone at that point.

Sharon had brought the the thunder and now I was gettin' "Willy Nelson" drunk in order to try and enjoy the trip that I looked forward to every year and that SHE was now completely shitting on.

I remember I had to pee like bad and all of a sudden and since I was almost blithering at this point I hollered that fact out to my mates.

"Ahoy! I have to piss!"

There wasn't really a good sand bar that was close to pull the boats up on so it was decided that we would pull up to a chunky bank line and the front person would get out and drag the canoe up the bank so the person in the rear could get out.

Now even though I had just watched my friends do this, for some reason in my drunken highness, I didn't think this applied to me. I just assumed that I could get out of this canoe sitting in 4 feet of water and I stated that fact.

I'm told I said something to the effect of "Well, I'm not waiting on all this. I'm getting out now" like I was Frank Sinatra in a cab stuck in traffic.

Sounds right.

"No! NO!"
They all pleaded with me to amend my decision and made what sounded like odd statements at the time such as "It's not possible" and "you can't do that".

Of course I could. Those bitches were crazy.

I still remember every hard line in Sharon's face as she snatched up two wine coolers and glared at me with this "Your gonna do this aren't ya?" look that still makes me laugh everytime I think about it.
And so with the determination of a fired bullett, over went my left leg (no stopping now) and at a snail's pace.... so did everything else.

The canoe tipped in slow motion as Sharon made no attempt to even swim out. She just clutched those bottles closely to her chest and stared bloody daggers at me as she was put upon her side by my created inertia and quite gracefully (for a sasquatch) floated out into the river. It was almost historical looking.

I was drunk but looking back I think the reason that I got SO drunk was so that I'd do something just that stupid. That way my old roomie would be put off in such a way that she would definitely never ask to join my "real" friends and I on any other adventure EVER.

It totally worked.


  1. There's no way your old roommate wasn't amazing. She was from Michigan! Everyone from Michigan is awesome. Except Kid Rock. We just blame him on Ohio.

  2. Your favorable comments about Michigan make it quite clear that you don't live anywhere near Detroit.

    I assure you that the classy Southwest Michiganders you're used to are very much the minority in the "D". It's Michigan's dirty jock strap really.

    And I ALWAYS say Kid Rock is a "Suckeye".

  3. My best buddy goes to Wayne State’s medical school and lives in the heart of downtown Detroit, so I’ve had a slight taste of Detroit and it’s rough. I don’t know how he lives down there. There are parts that look identical to how I’d imagine a third world country.

    Kalamazoo is a nice city but has a serious drug problem. Hell, the reason we’re on the map is because we’re halfway between Chicago and Detroit, and drug cartels doing business between the two cities seem to think Kalamazoo is a lucrative meeting point. I grew up in a nice suburban neighborhood that eventually went down the tubes when a Detroit drug cartel moved in, some of them right next door. Nine of them raped a girl my family knew – she was white and they were black. A media powder keg ensued.

    My dad was old high school buddies with a higher up in Kalamazoo’s police department and told us the girl was pistol whipped and couldn’t identify all her attackers with 100% certainty but she was nearly 100% sure our next door neighbors were the lookouts. The cops knew they did it but needed more proof and asked us to collect evidence for them. We agreed and the drug cartel found out about it. By the age of fourteen I had undercover police following my sister and me everywhere we went. They threatened to kill us. I’ve had a gun pulled on me and I’ve had a machete pulled on me. I received great grades in high school but teachers complained I fell asleep in class. My dad worked the night shift and would leave at 1 in the morning – I stayed up every night with bat in hand out of fear they would hurt or kill him as he left for work. All of our neighbors, long time friends, turned on us out of fear they would be the next targets. Despite this my family never stopped fighting back, perhaps to the point of stupidity (we’re Irish, we’re Catholic, and thus we’re extremely stubborn. I blame the constant drinking). They called us racists. They forced us to flee my childhood home because the police told us they’d kill us if they weren’t under such a tight watch.

    I may appear lilly white – and I am – but I’ve stared down humanity at its worst. I have no doubt my several years in hell more than likely pales in comparison to what many in Detroit have to live with on a daily basis, but not everyone in the Southwest side of the state is soft. I’d kill a snitch (no I wouldn’t…but don’t tell).

    Were you born and raised in Detroit or did your family just move there? And I agree with you completely – screw Kid Rock and screw Ohio.

  4. Wow dude, that's messed up. Sounds like it would make for an excellent screenplay though.

    I was actually born in Garden City, MI but spent alot of my youth shuffling back and forth between the downriver area and a small town in West Virginia.

    And to be quite honest, until I moved to Georgia with my husband 9 years ago, I had a very positive outlook towards the old "mitten". I think just being down here for so long and then going back the couple of times that I have....I've just noticed such a stark contrast.

    The people here are by and large far more courteous but way less politically correct.

    The grass is green year round and flowers are still everywhere in January.

    There are your typical southern stereo-types but it's not nearly as irritating as what lurks in the bowels of the Metropolitan Detroit area.

    Incidentally two of the Doc's I work for graduated from Wayne State Med and they speak highly of it.

    And- Alot of my bad experiences in the hood were self induced. I think you've inspired me to blog about my 6 months as a gangster bitch next.

  5. But seriously, I see your story as a movie. Shia Lebouf would be a bit too old now to play you but there's gotta be some other tenacious teen actor out there that could pull it off.

  6. I'm really glad you found a place that you love to live. I can't really speak for the east part of Michigan because I haven't experienced it too much, but I love living in western Michigan. You're dead on about the weather though. As much as I love it here, it's wearing on me. This January we had two straight weeks of temperatures that were around 12 to 15 below zero when I got up in the morning, the worst I've ever seen. When I graduate I'll take a look at jobs here (jobs in Michigan!? I'll believe it when I see it) but if a good one comes along elsewhere it'll be time for me to say good-bye.

    A movie, eh? Maybe one of the Jonas brothers could play me! Ha, it'd be funny to see parts of my life on the big screen. I can look back at those years now calmly and even miss my old neighborhood, but back then every day was frightening.

    I'd love to hear your stories about whatever self-induced gang activity you mentioned.

  7. Yeah they'd call it "Don't Terrorize My Family Bay-Bay". hehehe.

    My mom works at the Detroit airport and when she told me this last winter that it was so cold that she got headaches walking from the house to the that.