Thursday, May 02, 2002

Okay, so here is the long-awaited white-water rafting story. So, Alissa, a.k.a. Nature Girl, often dreams up these plans for hikes, rafting, etc., which are always fun, always challenging, and always a ver fond and funny memory.

When they're over.

The thing is, Nature Girl tends to wait until you're already four hours into a hike up a big mountain to mention that the last bit requires you to scale up a 500 ft ladder in the crevice between two gigundo rocks or already in the boat and 11.75 miles into the rafting trip before she mentions that the last rapids are called Snaggletooth, and that last time she and her fellow rafters were marooned on a scary rock, clinging to a tree trunk for 45 minutes before the Friendly Lehigh River Kayak Guys could rescue them.

Now, Alissa did tell me that she fell out of her raft before, so I was prepared for this possibility. They tell you three things to do in the event that you fall out. 1.) Keep your toes up out of the water. The majority of rafting deaths occur when people’s feet get stuck under rocks or in crevices and then the current pulls their head down even though they have a lifejacket on. This is called “Foot entrapment,” which is as scary as it sounds 2.) Try not to fall out of the front of the boat. (Okay, I was already sitting in the front, so naturally that is where I fell from) and 3.) DO NOT get between the boat and a rock, because it hurts. A lot.

So we come to the first set of rapids, and I guess I didn’t have my feet tucked in properly, and I fall out. This is in the FIRST TWO MINUTES of the trip. Now, I was wearing a (rented, “pre-moistened for my rafting pleasure”- EW) wetsuit, but that river was, pardon my French, f*cking cold. It was 40 degrees. It was a tremendous jolt. As I said, I was sitting up front, so I fell out of the front (See Rule #2), and promptly got wedged between the boat and a rock (See Rule #3). The scariest part was that I was hanging onto the boat, but my feet (which I was trying desperately to get OUT of the water, what with the entrapment fear), but they got sucked UNDER the boat, at which point I starting screaming like a fool. “GET ME OUT! GET ME OUT!” were my exact words, I think, as my spinal chord was being bashed against some big, f*cking rocks and I was getting sucked under the boat, feet just begging for entrapment. I manage to get to the side of the boat and turn around so that Alissa and Darren can yank me back in. At this point, I am screaming “GET ME IN! GET ME IN!”

The best part, other than getting back in and being SO HAPPY about it, was that all of this happened in front of the Friendly Pocono Whitewater Adventures Souvenir Photographer, so all of this is recorded for posterity. I have scanned the images, and as soon as I figure out how to upload them to, they will be available for your viewing and mocking pleasure.  They are pretty funny. In one, I am kind of smiling and hanging onto the side of the boat. In the next one, I am flailing my arms around, underwater camera attached to my wrist, with my head stuck under the boat. Ah…. This one may just finally top the Hairy Arm Story of 1994. Maybe. 

In other news, my chicken patty is done. Be right back. Yummy. Dinner.

Anyway, I taught Spanish today, which was fun. As I was leaving school, I approached a 2-way stop intersection in the 15mph School Zone of the nearby elementary school where I also teach. There is a crossing guard in the intersection waving his arms around. It is 3:15. There are kids, many of whom I have taught, absolutely everywhere. I slow down to 15 mph (being Reformed Speeder Woman that I am) and stop at the intersection. It’s a hot day; my windows are down. The crossing guard glowers and screams, really angrily, “You just drive through here any time you’re ready, for crying out loud!!!” Bewildered, I gesture to the scads of children and say, “But… there was a stop sign…?” And- no joke- he screams, “I’M in charge here, NOT that stop sign!!!” Hahahaha. That kills me. Power trip anyone?

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