Splash May 20, 2012Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
`Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING–absolute nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats…
— Rat in The Wind in the Willows
So I’m walking on the downtown footpath between Moss and the Bayou and this guy says, “can you help me launch my boat?” Its one of those cheap, plastic kayaks so I say sure. Its not like I’m going to through my back out. We plop it in the water but I notice it has bow and aft lines and he has grabbed neither. The fore line is tangled. I squat down and grab it. (First mistake. Do not squat where boats are involved unless you have a hand on the rigging. This rule apparently applies to the dry as well. I say take this and hand him the bow line and explain he should hold onto his lines while launching the boat. The stern is drifting off into the bayou but th aft line is floating right there. I squat again (see above).
If I remember nothing else from my childhood judo lessons, it is how to fall well. There is a lot of being tossed to the floor in judo. In the space of less than a second I realize I’m losing my galance, my momentum can’t be stopped and I’m going in. I somehow manage to roll and push myself two feet into the adjacent canoe. Hurrah, except I’ve set the thing rocking violently . Rather than lay in the bottom and let it settle I pop up. Bad move. Damn adrenaline. It’s not like I’m being chased by a sabre-tooth tiger for Chrisssakes. The canoe promptly tips me into the Bayou. OK, the canoe is an inanimate object. My own stupidity tips me into the Bayou.
I swallowed a good mouthful of Bayou water and I’m sure the inside of my stomach would have looked interesting at microscopic scale last night, sort of like the watching the view screen in Ender’s Game during one of the battles, little microorganisms battling over control of the binary star system Clumsia, with its two orbiting suns Vomitus and Diarrheaiad.
If you stop me today and ask me to help you with your boat, I probably will. I’ve owned a boat too long to not help another boater. Its just what done. I will not, however, let you pick up your end without the lines in hand as well. If you drop your line in with the boat you’re on your one.
If I think you’ll need me I’ve sent you my Skype digits. Or you can look me up. If you are at the Boogalo, I’m the old fart in a young man’s hat. And I’m not going to miss Irene Sage’s Tribute to Coco Robicheaux. After that, check the food tents.