The Kayak Trip to Hell and Starbucks

Why do OLD PARENTS think they can do a lot of stuff? 

Meaning me and Henry. Because we decided to take the girls down to Long Beach for a kayak trip in the canals. Fun! For YOUNG PARENTS.

The young ones, just before our trip,  plotting our demise.And we went with my friend Kelly, code name TANGO 5-6. She’s 47. What the hell is wrong with her?

Kelly what the hell is wrong with you with those frickin’ biceps and triceps and abs? Just knock it off. I can’t deal with this crap. For the love of God, woman, eat some Ho Hos!!

Our mission was simple.

To take a casual lap around the canals, then paddle to our ultimate destination; a Starbucks you can tie your kayak to! After braving the fetid, swampy, doorless women’s restroom on the beach and passive-aggressively jockeying to get our kayaks and paddles before a group of nuns (okay, German people) we were off.

The day was fresh and our spirits were high. Ahh, paddling. How the muscles rippled in the backs of my arms and even my stomach muscles were involved making me feel virtuous and holy.

Yes, there was a faint ache in my wrists and thumbs, but this was to be a half-hour jaunt crowned by Starbuck’s Red Whoopie Pie, Double Fudge Mini-Donuts, Blueberry Oat Bars and a Blended Caramel Brulee Frapuccino.

There were a few red flags that things might go awry for me that I chose to ignore.

Red Flag #1:

I chose to kayak with Tango who beats me in everything (except arm wrestling mwhahahah), which was problematic because I’m slightly competitive. In the words of Nacho Libre, “I want to ween. I want to get a taste of the glory. See what eet tastes like!”

Red Flag #2:

I had Bridget on my crew and Bridget’s a 7-year old control freak (where does she get this from?) She likes to rest her paddles.

And she wants you to rest your paddles at the same time as she’s resting hers or else she feels like she can’t keep up with you and you’re just rubbing it in. Which means Henry and Tango and Clare and Tango’s child, Tangette get way, way ahead of you.

Red Flag #3:

I let someone else read the waterways map (Tangette and Henry).

We got lost. I blame Tango and Henry. Henry because he’s my husband. (And this is nothing like when I got us lost in Rome, Henry. Don’t even go there!) And Tango because she’d been to the water Starbucks before, but perhaps a side effect of all those muscles is a siphoning off of protein from the brain? (Food for thought, Kel. And it’s carb free).

Yes, even with the map, and even after watching the little filmstrip you have to watch before they’ll give you the kayaks and paddles and where it specifically states to keep OUT of the SHIPPING LANES we found ourselves right in the middle of the shipping lanes frantically paddling, me with my arthritic little fingers and brittle little wrists, so we wouldn’t be sucked under the bow of a luxury yacht named “Lil Bitch” and made into shark bait by its propellers.

I wrested the map from Henry who’d wrested it from Tangette and quickly discovered we’d made a wrong turn 6,000 leagues ago.

My bitterness knew no bounds.

I masterfully wheeled my kayak about and paddled with a fury equalled only by Harry Potter battling Voldemort, Obi Wan Kenobe fighting Darth Maul, the Velveteen Rabbit trying to become real.

I didn’t look back once, but made the others follow in my outraged wake.Like a guided missile I led us straight to our destination (I may have had to ask a gondolier for a little help).

The others staggered in sheepish and contrite. I fell upon the baked goods at Starbucks shoving them into my slavering mouth with my brutalized thumbs.

(It should be noted here that Tango and her child only ate hardboiled eggs, nuts and some green stuff I didn’t know Starbucks had – a harbinger of what was to come).

After gorging we set off again in our loathed kayaks, Tango and her child in the lead. Myself – this time with Clare as my shipmate – second and Henry and Bridget a distant third.

Tango and Tangette paddled in unison ahead of us. They should’ve been easy to overtake. I dug in. But somehow Tango and her freakishly strong child maintained their lead. This could not stand. And had to be Clare’s fault.

“Let’s go honey,” I said to her, “Left, right, left, right.”

Our paddles cut the water like Gin-Su knives yet still Tango and Tangette were pulling away! (I should have had one of those GD hard-boiled eggs!). And what was this? Henry and Bridget were drafting off our stern.

Now they were pulling abreast of us on the port side.

“Clare, we can’t let these sons-of-bitches beat us!” For some reason Clare found this hilarious and began to refer to them as “little shits.”

I explained to her again that it was disrespectful for children to curse in front of parents. And for parents to curse in front of children – except when kayaking. After which I inexplicably began channeling Nacho Libre bellowing:

“Eskeleto, the eagle eggs ees a lie. They give me no eagle powers. They give me no nutrients!”

Clare fell back cackling, letting her paddle drag in the water, holding us back. I powered on alone. I wasn’t going to be last to shore even if I could never again open a jar with my opposable thumbs.

In an act of desperation I cut across the rope the little filmstrip said you weren’t supposed to cut across because of the swimmers (I think I heard a BUMP as we flew by) and yet…I tasted the agony of defeat.

Clare and I were the last to shore by three boat lengths. It had been a 3 hour tour to hell and back.To add insult to injury Tango approached as I dragged my kayak up the beach with my broken wrists and said, “So. You wanna work out tomorrow?” to which I replied, “I’ll kill you! I’ll kill yoouuuuuuu!”

P.S. Happy Birthday today my sweet Kel. I forgive your perfect abs.

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