My blog posts, in grammar, content, and style, tend to have the character of telephone pad doodles or the things one writes in the margins while taking notes during a meeting, lecture, or while reading a book. Mistaken is the person who expects this or any blog to conform to scholastic ideals of “penmanship” or rigid notions of propriety.
Stodgy Canoe Guy
One of the things I like about paddling is the woodsy ambiance or vibe associated with paddling. It’s especially evident in the preoccupation with things like sandpaper, tung oil, needle-and-thread, preparedness, self-reliance and mutual aid. And the clothes. At least the clothes I wear – floppy hat, old permanent press work shirt, long baggy shorts, etc. For the most part cheap, plain-looking clothes that dry quickly. I’ll leave the bright colors to the guys zipping around on jet-skiis.
Other Drivers on the Road
Something is wrong with the people who drive their cars, outer elbow (because this is probably true in England as well as America) on the window ledge and forearm hanging down against the outside of the car-door, palm backward, resembling to me a large, usually fat, white-bellied dead fish. It’s like the driver lacks the energy or some other quality of life that separates the living from zombie-like necessary to so much as control all of his or her limbs, in addition to operating a motor vehicle. Usually, this type of motorist drives too slowly and seems to take pleasure in aggravating the drivers behind them who, for some reason, cannot yet pass them. Also, and this is similarly galling, this sort of driver seems to be saying, “I AM TOO BIG, THIS CAR CANNOT CONTAIN ME, I AM BURSTING OUT OF THIS CAR!” which is, in itself, pretty offensive.
I think license plates on vehicles should bear some device or color-coded tag that allows other motorists to determine at a glance the vehicle owner’s Performance Intelligence Quotient (or PREFERABLY some entirely new measure of intelligence specific to motor vehicle operation). Maybe something that could be abbreviated DIQ. Drivers are going to let you know all about theirs, anyway, but it would be nice to know at a glance in order to plan lane changes and passing before it becomes necessary to dodge some erratic manifestation of deficiency or impaired ability. Drivers with seriously impaired DIQs could be required to drive vehicles like that Obama soap-bubble, the so-called “Smart Car” – that way when they crash their vehicles into other vehicles or buildings they will do less harm to other people.
The use of cellular telephones by anyone operating a motor vehicle should be prohibited; pull over to talk on the phone.
When I bought that canoe Ohio last week, then took it to the White River and paid the outfitter there a measly $13.00 for shuttle service, I felt rich. A man who has his own canoe is a man of substance, and a man who can use his own strength and sense to propel it on the water’s surface is a man who feels rich, indeed.
I do not know why, having owned five folding kayaks, I never felt that way before about owning and paddling that type of boat. Folding kayaks are uniquely beautiful. They tend to be more expensive to purchase than canoes. I think the difference is a sense of permanence. A folding kayak is designed to be put away or packed for easy transportation to the location of its intended use, whereas an aluminum canoe is designed to retain its shape and withstand the elements through time. True it is that folding kayaks are designed likewise to last through time. The most recent of these that I have purchased was manufactured around 1962 and was watertight when I got it. The Grumman canoe is 36 years old, the Pionier kayak is 47.
I felt a bitter sense of loss when it was time to put the canoe in to the barn loft at the farm last Friday. The feeling is similar to what I experience every time I disassemble one of my kayaks. The feeling roughly translates thus, “Have I used this boat for the last time? Is this the last time I perform this task?” What doesn’t translate neatly in to words is the knowledge that some or other that will be the case. I will use my kayak or canoe for the last time, and I may not know the experience is my last with that boat until time provides a vantage point for perspective, or events translate me in to the past tense and my next phase of existence.
These unpleasant feelings that I wish to repress seem consistent with an unconscious fear of death, although I seem to be in fairly robust good health at present. As a young drunkard 26 or 27 years ago, I sought but did not find death. As a man in middle age I seem to be aware of other feelings pertaining to my mortality. Although they are clearly as long-lasting as any hardshell paddlecraft, the folding kayak has an ephemeral quality – skin stretched over a frame operated by whatever it is that I consist of – that is similar to that of man and animal.