Steering The Boat

Bernice,  my wife, is spending the weekend in a boat, a dragon boat to be specific.  she is rowing with the LGBT crew in the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival. For those of you who have no idea what a dragon boat is…I was, until she started rowing with them a few years back…it is sort of like a really long canoe with many rowers…I think about twenty, but don’t quote me.  They all have to row in unison in order to keep the boat moving forward…a great lesson for life ;). I wait on shore cheering them on from my lounge chair…my canoeing days are over. This is the infamous story…well in my family anyway…of why I do not like boats.

Many years back…when I was still in the closet, and married to a man…we went to the mountains on a camping trip. My Ex…lets call him D.A….suggested that we rent a canoe for the day. Already being wise to the fact that he was not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree…I repeatedly asked him if he knew HOW to canoe. Yes he assured me that he had his canoeing badge from boy scouts and that this apparently made him an expert…I was not convinced but I was up for an adventure. We went to the lake rented a canoe and walked to the beach where it was waiting for us.

D.A. told me to get into the front of the canoe, as he was going to steer the boat from the back. I looked down and knew that something was wrong.  I looked at him and said,”there is not enough room for my legs here I think something is wrong.” I should add at this point that there were several other pairs of people on the beach getting ready to go on a canoeing adventure of their own. D.A. stared at me, and under his breath, told me to get into the boat, NOW! I did, but it meant that I was perched ever so delicately at the front of the canoe…if there had been a stiff wind I would have ended up in the drink. My feet were rammed into the very small space in front…there was no way I was getting out without a crowbar.

We set off into the bay which let out into a 20km long lake for a beautiful day of leisurely boating. I noticed as we were TRYING to go forward what we were actually doing is making circles in the bay…at this point I have lost my patience…after all he was supposed to be an expert. D.A. is desperately trying to steer the boat as I scream at him from my perch about how he is obviously no expert, and why can’t he just steer us forward.  It’s worth mentioning at this point that the other couples on the beach are now doubled over in laughter on the beach, pointing and mimicking us. I compose myself, force myself to think…and then the light dawns…we are in the canoe backwards! It takes us approximately an hour to reach the shore by doing circles around the bay.

As funny as the story is now…I vowed that I would do everything in my power to avoid boats from that day forward. It’s much better from the beach.

God Bless, Julia

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