I Get Paddled Several Ways (All Deservingly)
Two hours into our ride to Cape Cod, I realized that I had packed my inflatable stand-up paddle-board, but had forgotten the paddle -- and this made me very angry, as I knew I would pay an arm and a leg on the Cape if I had to buy one (I even contemplated using Amazon overnight shipping) but luckily there was a kayak and paddle-board rental place down the street from my cousin's house in Chatham, at the town landing on the Oyster River . . . my Uncle Mike explained how to get there and then warned me about John, the long-winded local who ran the place, and his warning was accurate: not only did I have to pay fifty dollars to rent a paddle for the week, but I also had to listen to an hour of anecdotes while standing in the fog at the dock before I could take the paddle; I heard about his first wife, his divorce, the tax rate, the worth of his two story underground house, his family history, his life on the water, his retirement at forty-four from the "water taxi" business, the chipped windshield on his new pick-up, the dent on the side of his new pick-up, and a particularly long story about how he threw a beer can at Harry Connick junior because he was driving by the Oyster River town landing too fast in his fancy speedboat, creating a wake in a "no wake zone," and then how he drove over to Harry Connick's house (which is on the Oyster Pond) and made his way onto the property -- scaring Connick's kids (who had just seen him throw a beer can at their dad) -- and found Connick in the yard, thrust his hand into his gut (at this point, John the rental guy thrust his hand into my gut and I had no idea what was going on) and said to Harry Connick: "Harry, I'm a big enough man to apologize" and was looking for a hand-shake . . . and he said Connick shook his hand but was not a big enough man to apologize for driving his fancy speedboat too fast in the "no wake zone" but he did say that now every time Connick passes John's rental dock at the town landing, he waves at John (probably because he considers him slightly insane and doesn't want him stalking him) and then -- Thank God -- his cell-phone rang, because I had no idea how to end this interaction, but this afforded me time to escape, and I must say, this was a great lesson for me, paying for the paddle with time, money, and awkwardness -- my motto with packing used to be "don't worry, if we forget something, we'll buy it, we're on vacation" but from this day forward, I will pack much more carefully.