Got Attitude?

Posted: July 4, 2011 in funny stories
Tags: , ,

Attitude.

Yeah, it’s all about that, isn’t it?

The way you look at and think about things.

Attitude.  I learned about attitude yesterday when I went river rafting.

Yesterday.

First time ever.

And I lived to tell the tale.

I went up to Vanessa’s house, my niece, to go river rafting with her and her boyfriend Ryan:

(aren’t they cute?)

along with his daughter Daisey ( sorry, don’t have a picture of her, but trust me, she is adorable) and my sister and her boyfriend and their friend Sasha.

I assumed that all I would have to do was get on a raft and someone would guide us down the river and we would all sit back, drink beer and relax.

When we got there, there were tons of people and all of them looked like they knew what they were doing. As for me, all I knew was to lather up the sunscreen, wear tennis shoes and bring a hat. I thought far enough ahead to not bring my purse and cell phone because even I knew that cell phones don’t mix well with water.

Soon we were sitting down and this woman began to give us instructions on how to river raft.

What? I thought. You mean, I’m supposed to do this? All by myself?

Gulp.

I looked around and asked Sasha if she had ever done this.

She looks like I feel and shakes her head “No” and asks me the same question.

I shake my head no and then she gulps.

I look around and we are all looking at each other with the same look and question on our faces.

“Oh God,” I thought “I’m screwed,” and just continued to sit there with a ‘dear in the head light’ look on my face and a knot in my stomach. “I can’t do this. I’ve never paddled down a river and I haven’t been in a raft since I was a kid and that time my Dad was paddling,” I kept thinking.

Then I thought about the rapids. There are these things called ‘rapids’ in this river because that’s the whole point of this; going down a river in a small little rubber raft with a paddle and then hitting the rapids and dying.

I was going to die today.

The lady stopped talking and all I could remember were the parts about what to do if you get thrown from the raft – lay flat and keep your feet up and look at your toes – and the other part about someone shattering their legs and having to be rescued with a helicopter.

I didn’t remember anything else.

I grabbed Sasha and looked at her and we decided we would do this together. We both said we didn’t know what we were doing.

“Yeah, but they know we’ve never done this before, right?” I asked.

She nods her head.

“So, if it wasn’t safe, they wouldn’t let us do it, right? Right?” I asked. I could hear my voice getting an odd strange, high pitch to it.

She nods her head and says “Yes, that’s right. Jeez, I’ve never done this before either,” and we both agree we’ll share a raft and she will sit in the back and be the captain and I’ll be the first mate.

Which means I’ll be in front and see our death coming before she does. Well, she’s much younger than me, so she’ll have a few more seconds of life.

We walk towards the rafts and get one. Then we each get a paddle and put on our life jackets. We march down towards the lake, carrying this raft that is heavy and awkward.

I am watching everyone else get their gear and I try to act like I know what I am doing. I am wondering why we don’t have crash helmets but I don’t want to ask and look stupid.

We finally reach the river and a staff member helps us load the raft into the river. People have already started down and I know there’s no stopping now. I’m going to do this.

They help us into the raft and I sit down on the bottom of it. The staff member nicely shows me where I’m supposed to sit and it’s not on the floor of the raft. I thank him, Sasha climbs in and they shove us off.

Sasha and I had been jabbering about neither one of us knew what we were doing but decided to go ahead and do it anyway. We thought if everyone else was going, we would to and not be a couple of scared little girls even though we were.

So off we went and I kept trying to remember if I put the paddle on the left, it makes us go to the right. Sasha was trying to the same thing and for our first adventure down a river we consistently went the exact opposite direction we wanted to go.

But the river was calm and smooth and we splashed water on the people we knew and we were soon referring to our adventure as bumper rafts because we kept running into other rafts.

But everyone was laughing and there were tons of us out there, so I figured if I fell out and started drowning, someone would pull me out and maybe I wouldn’t die.

I thought that until I could hear the first rapid off in the distance. It was waiting for us and we couldn’t figure out how to stop the raft and turn it around. The river was still and calm and death was waiting for me, just up ahead.

I turned and looked at Sasha and she gave me a weak smile. “Well, here we go,” I said and gave her a weak smile and thumbs up.

I watched as other went through it.  Our raft became a magnet for all the rocks and we kept getting stuck. I would try to push us off and Sasha would paddle and suddenly we were going towards the rapid but facing away from it.

I felt like an idiot and no matter how we paddled, we could not get turned around. At least this way I wouldn’t have to see what lay ahead.

The next thing I know, we are being pulled and shoved through a massive amount of water. There are rocks everywhere but we keep going. Sasha is paddling and smacks me in the back of my head with her paddle. She doesn’t even know she’s done that as panic has set in on us and all we can do is scream. At some point we get turned around and before I know it, we are through it and it’s behind us.

I lie back in the raft and laugh. It was fun even though I screamed. Sasha is laughing too and we are very proud of ourselves.

We feel cocky.

Ryan and Vanessa come by. Ryan knows this river like the back of his hand and is an expert on rafting. We had tried to just follow them, but since we had no idea how to steer the damn raft, we were on our own.  My sister and Mike are somewhere behind us and we watch them go through the rapids easily. They come by and we start splashing each other. It’s very hot and I just want to jump in the river and swim. Our raft is full of water, so Ryan helps us to the bank and we get out and dump out all the water. We had to do this four times during our trip.

Then Ryan mentions two rapids coming up. One is called “The Widow Maker” and the other is called “The Mother.”

My heart stops. My new-found cockiness leaves me. Sasha and I stare at each other with our mouths open.

“The Widow Maker? The Mother?” I ask sheepishly.

Ryan nods and chuckles. “Don’t worry, you’ll both be fine,” and paddles away.

I can hear him chuckling.

We start paddling and Sasha and I keep telling each other we can do it. We are a couple of miles down the river and had already stopped a few times, had a snack, swam in the river and I was feeling confident and fine about my new expert abilities to maneuver a raft.

So off we go. The river is too calm for my taste because I know what’s up ahead.

TheWidow Maker.

The Mother.

We hear it off in the distance. We stop paddling and let the river pull us along. I have visions of helicopters pulling my dead, wet body from the rapids as it’s stuck on a rock and twisted in all directions.

The movie “Deliverance” begins to flash through my mind.

Then I see it ahead of us. I see people have pulled over to the banks.

They are smarter than us.

I turn around and look at Sasha.

We are going to go for it.

So we start paddling as fast as we can and stay behind Ryan. He sees us and smiles and waves. We wave back.

We hit a small rapid, but we hit it wrong. I look over and suddenly Sasha is floating past me, trying to grab the raft. In my hazy thinking, my first thought is “She’s not supposed to be swimming by” and I reach out my hand and grab her. She’s laughing and a bit scared and I can’t quite get my balance.

I can’t hold onto her and lose my grip. She’s right there but being pushed away. I grab my paddle and hold it out to her. She grabs it and I hold on. She finds the bottom of the river and stands up. I am so glad the water isn’t deep and I pull her in. We somehow manage to get her back into the raft. We start laughing and I tell her that’s what she gets for smacking my head so many times with her paddle.

We hit a calm spot. She tells me she’s fine and wasn’t that scared, just surprised because it happened so fast. One moment you’re fine and the next thing you’re thrown into the river.

I finally am grateful for the life jackets and so is she because we know “The Widow Maker” is next. All I can think of is if a smaller rapid knocked her out of the raft, what the hell is this next one going to be like?

I have a new attitude. We are going to do this one and the next one and it will be fun and I will like it. This river has begun to talk to me a little but I’m not sure if it’s taunting me and making fun of me or not.

I decide we are going to go through this and survive.

I paddle faster even though I am exhausted and sunburned and thirsty. We’ve been on the river all day and still have a long trip back.

Suddenly there is it and it’s huge. There are gigantic rocks everywhere, just pulling our raft towards them. There are people standing around, watching and taking pictures. I see my screaming face posted on YouTube and getting a million hits and shared on Facebook.

We are trying to figure out how to approach it, but it’s no use. The river has us and is pushing and pulling us along and we have no control. I hear Sasha say, over and over, “Oh geez, here we go” and she’s paddling and hits me in the head again with her paddle. She apologizes and it doesn’t bother me. Getting hit in the head with a paddle is the last thing I am worried about.

Then we are in it and get pushed everywhere. I get knocked off my ass and end up laying flat on my back, holding onto my paddle. Water is gushing in because we are now lodged between two rocks and can’t move. Sasha gets knocked on her ass too and we just lie there.

We can’t stop laughing. The water feels amazing. Our raft is filling up and we can’t move. Someone is up above on a rock, looking down at us. I cry out “I LOVE THIS!” and he smiles and suddenly we are moving again. We sit up and start cheering. There’s someone on the bank and they are taking pictures and laughing with us. We hold up our paddles and scream “We want to do it again” as we float by.

No one died. We survived and the river is my friend again. We pull over and dump the water out of our raft and laugh as we slip on the rocks and pull each other up.

We are strong women who just kicked the ass of the river with more to come. We know the next one is the hardest one. “The Mother” is waiting for us and we are going to beat it.

We have a few minutes to relax. We drink some water and look for our friends. My sister and Mike couldn’t go on after the first rapid, so I know they are OK. Ryan, Vanessa and Daisy are ahead of us. We get ahead of them and Ryan tells us “Go through the middle of the bridge and then stay left. Just stay left and you’ll be OK.” We act like we know how to do this.

Up ahead, right past the bridge, there is a guy and he’s flagging us. My heart stops. They need a flagman to get us through this? Oh, this is not good, but on we go.

We go through the middle of the bridge and figure out how to stay left. He gives us a high 5 and the next thing we know, we are going all over the place. We are hitting rocks and sailing over them.
We are screaming. We are afraid, alive and happy. We bounce here and there. I get knocked on my ass again at the same time the raft hits a rock and we are sailing through the air again. There is water everywhere and as I push myself up, I slam my hand into the side of the boat to get up and a feel one of my nails get pushed back and tear. It hurts but I don’t pay any attention.

We are then swept away and have no control. This is a huge one and it seems endless. I can’t see the end of it because we are being tossed and pulled and pushed in all directions. Water is slamming our raft, our faces and our bodies. We are drenched again, over and over. I hold on tight to the ropes on the side of the raft. Water gets in my mouth because I am laughing and screaming.

I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this alive. I didn’t care what happened because each and every moment of this was fun and I didn’t want it to stop. I felt every movement of it, every rock, twist and turn. Every time we got slammed and pushed I loved. I was outside my element and it felt great. All that mattered was the next turn, the next gushing wave of water to hit me in the face, the next rock that we were going to sail over.

And all too soon, it was over. We went through it and then it was done. I turned to Sasha and said “I want to do it again,” and she smiled and said she did too. We meant it.

The rest of the trip was relaxed with a few rapids here and there and by that time, Sasha and I felt like pro’s and almost yawned through them. We laid back and looked at the mountains and just let the raft go where it wanted to go. We were burnt, tired and thirsty. I made a mental note to bring more water the next time because I was coming back and I was going to do this over and over again.

At the end of the river, there are people waiting for us. They are smiling at us and helping us. These are wonderful people and I love them. They asked if we had fun and I tell them I want to turn around and do it again. They give us snacks and water and lemonade. My finger hurts and I look down at where my nail broke off at the quick:

This was the only casualty I had. No problem. I’ll shorten the other nails to make sure it all looks right.

My new attitude is that I am going to beat this river and I am going to beat anything in my life that I think is bigger and stronger than me.

Screw that old bad attitude from before,  right?

Attitude, baby. It’s all in the attitude.

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