Resolving a Contradiction
Many of the problems I have faced in life are attributable to some contradiction. Resolving the problem involves
a) recognizing the contradiction;
b) applying one’s mind to determine the contradiction’s elements;
c) determining a solution that removes some elements and leaves others which
d) results in a diminution of perceived internal tension or stress, said diminution being an approximation of peace.
A few weeks ago, I found myself looking at my Pionier 450 S in the driveway. A couple of months previously, I’d put it there, taking it out of the garage, in order to repair some hull abrasions and get out on the water again. Instead, I continued to neglect the kayak in the driveway as I had while it was in the garage. Looking at the hull abrasions and recalling that new abrasions appeared each time I’d strapped the kayak to my car’s racks, I knew that the only real solution was a new hullskin.
There’s a German guy who makes unreal good hullskins for out-of-production folding kayaks. There’s a Polish company that also manufactures skins for folding kayaks, as well as manufacturing a few models that appear to be Klepper knock-offs. For what I’d wind up paying the German guy, I could probably buy a new Folbot or get close to the purchase price of a new Seavivor (which is what I’d really like to have). Although fabulously wealthy in ways most people cannot imagine or begin to measure, I and my wife take pleasure in spending less money than we make. I feel the need to justify every expense.
In the matter of a new hullskin for the 450 S, I simply could not justify the expense. The reality is that I have not gone paddling since June 2012. That is in part due to the fact that I haven’t wanted to completely wreck the Pionier’s skin. But that is also due in part to other circumstances, among them that I am less willing to spend an entire weekend day away from my wife and son, that for a number of weeks during the spring and early summer my son played T-Ball games on the weekends, that I’ve been learning a new job and have been doing some weekend work, etc.
For what it’s worth, and remember, you’re paying nothing for it so make your own assessment, I tend to approach or experience life, happenstance, providence, circumstance as manifestations of a created order that, although vast, is personal even though that personal element – the Creator’s mind and intent – while aware of and interested in me, does not necessarily always reckon my preferences, comfort, and convenience as that upon which the universe pivots. Still, when I wanted to find a name for Pouch E-68 I bought from Ralph Hoehn, I asked the Almighty for a vision, and while paddling on Woods Reservoir, near the causeway that crosses the lake by the VFW, I saw some campsis radicans, commonly known as trumpet creeper, in bloom and of a color that matched exactly my stout kayak’s faded deck. Pretty clear, if you’re me.
Close to the last week in July of this year, 2013, I found that I earnestly wished I knew of someone who wanted to buy the Pionier. Whether I approached the Almighty with this request or not, I cannot recall. What I do know is that within a week my blog received a comment from Brian Rider of North Carolina to a blog post wherein I presented a few photographs of the Pionier’s frame.
In the event that you would ever be willing to let your Pionier go I would like to introduce myself. My name is Brian and I own a c. 1960′s Pionier 520-Z that I have paddled since about 1985 after it was given to my family by a good friend. The reliable old boat finally fell victim to many years of use and I had to put it up permanently around 1999. I really never thought that I would get the boat back on the water. But recently I sourced a new skin and spray deck (I never had an original spray deck) from Wayland, replaced and restored various frame members that had failed and my work is nearly complete. The boat is currently back on the water for gentle use as I have some details to complete. I am on foldingkayak.org and have read your story about how you came to own the 450-S. What a find! The condition of your boat is amazing in my opinion as I personally know what a similar boat can look like after forty years of use in South Carolina. Let my boat be stand as an example to how well built the Pionier kayaks are, you have a fine boat. Anyway, as a result of the research that I have done trying to find information about old folders I have gotten the bug to collect and I’m eyeballing your boat. I say that with a smile. Would love to share stories some time.
Pretty clear, if you’re me, that this represented a potentially very good solution to my problem and was likely a providential arrangement made by God. I haven’t been active on FKO since becoming a father, to the best of my recollection, so this came out of the blue, as it were.
I think I emailed him that evening after one of my son’s activities, and over a couple of weeks we worked out the details which included a trip to Asheville that involved another exchange involving an old, lugged steel bicycle and a folding kayak. The terms of the exchange didn’t nearly cover the costs of the trip, but since it was a trip I wanted to make, the offset sufficed. The purchase of an old folding kayak, in my admittedly limited experience, seems something more like adoption than pecuniary transaction.
Since I hadn’t seen my friend, Eric, for probably over a year, I checked to see if he was available to visit at Asheville.