a minute of manners and musings
thank goodness for The Book of Situations
I’ll admit it. I’ve been a little on edge lately. Sadly, that is not at all the same as being edgey. I hear that people who are sad to leave their cotton turtlenecks behind when spring rolls around don’t get to use that word.
I’ll also admit that as often as I talk about ‘grace under pressure’ and ‘charm in the line of fire’, I find myself faced with situations listed in The Book of Situations. So while that does excuse any attempt at said grace and charm, I am left exhausted, disheveled and, most of all, offended. Note: The Book of Situations is a list of situations or circumstances in which one is excused from all rules of governance concerning lady-like or rational behavior. It exists only in my head and continues to grow.
I’ll give you an example. This is one of the latest additions…added just yesterday…to The Book of Situations. I actually have a second one from yesterday. It has to do with someone 5’11” soaking in a bathtub built for someone 5’2” in a bathroom the size of a voting booth and joined by one of those tremendous flying beetles. There is no grace and charm in that, I can tell you right now.
Ben and I were in his new kayak enjoying a truly beautiful day at the lake. Emma was lounging on the dock, Darrell was doing something, I don’t know what. The sun was shining, the sky was perfectly blue and there was just the slightest breeze. Caught up in the day and enjoying the one-on-one time with my soon to be 10-year old, we were slowly paddling along the docks. I said, “Hey! This is the dock where we could always see those little turtles last summer, remember?” Digging up memories. Good times. A little giggle. “Yeah. That was fun. We should try to catch one. We could take it home, feed it, let it get bigger and bring it back to the lake and let it go. I wonder if he would eat what I eat.” Another giggle. “I bet his friends wouldn’t recognize him.” Ben talks incessantly when he’s really happy and his talker was in high gear.
But something in the water under the dock caught our eye at the same moment. He stopped talking. He looked. I looked. It was a head. It was a snake! Not more than 10 feet away and he was lookin’ right at me.
You’ve heard that in drastic situations, people exhibit the tendency for either fight or flight, right? Apparently, I opt for the literal flight. My arms went straight out and began to flap. Wildly, to hear Ben tell it. I have a vague recollection of trying to scoot the kayak away using the motion of my torso moving quickly to and fro, but if you don’t mind, I’ll leave that memory in the dark recesses. Very calmly, Ben said,”I think we’ll just take the long way back to our dock.” Huh? That doesn’t even make any sense. Just get me on dry land, was all I could think. As we…ok, so it was only Ben paddling…made our way back to our dock, something inside him broke. Normally, he can parallel park any sort of water vessel with no problem. It’s uncanny, really. But this time, he headed straight for the dock until the point of the kayak touched the wood. The edge of the dock was just out of arm’s reach. Since the dock is about 2 feet above water level and the kayak is pretty well at water level, I was eye to eye with dark, murky water and that is no man’s land. “Ben! I can’t get out like this!” and the flapping started again. Perhaps I could just fly onto the dock?
Now, I need you to know something. I am not proud of what I said next. I just really hate snakes. I got a glimpse of the ever cool and collected Emma walking our way and something inside me broke. “HEEELP MEEEE!” I screamed. I could hear my own voice bounce across the water. And, what about my own son who was in the same boat??
I just hate ‘em. I swear, it seems like every snake I see in that dumb lake wins this battle. Even when he gets his head blown off, he wins. And, now, he’s probably on the bottom of that lake grinning because he’s famous. He’s in The Book of Situations and I couldn’t have acted worse if that kayak had been the Titanic.