Ahoy there, Mateys.
I’ve been waiting all day for my freshly-washed jeans to loosen up and stretch out a tad. They have not loosened up or stretched out. Not a tad. But I’ve been in the zone for like a week now. In the zone. Someone needs to tell the zone that it’s time for the jeans to respond to the zone. Drop 5 pounds already.
Yesterday, we were blessed with the opportunity to spend half a day on a pontoon boat out on Lake Travis. There were 13 people on board a 15-passenger boat. Seven of those were in the 11-and-under set. I know what you’re thinking: You’re thinking the children caused some variation of a disaster. They wreaked havoc.
The children were fine.
The adults left a little something to be desired in the sea-faring community.
This was serious business from the outset. We stopped at a reputable Kwik Stop for Live Bait. We needed live bait, because we are serious fishermen. Dead bait wouldn’t cut it. We were planning on catching serious fish. We also needed 1-day fishing licenses for all of the many fish we were going to catch.
Seven blow pops, 6 fishing licenses, one bag of chicken blood, 1 box of live worms, and a precariously packed minnow bag of swimming minnows later, we pulled down a steep rocky path to an RV where a dude named Steven set us up for a maritime adventure.
One smart phone user–we’ll call her Telley–had only one concern: “Which way is Sandra Bullock’s house?” she asked.
“That way,” Steven answered. Ah, that way. That narrows it down from 250 houses to just 125. That’ll be easy.
After pointing us toward Sandra Bullock, Steven said, “Just be cautious about your weight distribution.” We stared at him blankly. “You can’t have too many on one side or in one section of the boat.”
Whatever. Whatever. Got it.
The next hour passed pleasantly. We pulled out the cooler and ate a picnic lunch. Chatted. Laughed. Looked up Sandra Bullock’s house on Google images. Began imagining how she would greet us and what she would offer us to drink once she invited us in. Etc.
When we couldn’t find Sandra, we decided to settle for a civilian. Telley’s spouse was off work and waiting for a pick up at the dock we originally departed from. So we swung by to pick him up. This was our first exercise in the science of weight distribution. One member of the party went forward to tie up to the dock and we took on the extra passenger and 30 gallons of lake water. No biggie. We tied up for a moment and then all the potty requests came in. Suffice it to say, the no-formal-restrooms potty break truly deserves its own blog. So much can be said. And yet, there are lines. Even with me, there are lines. I’m just going to leave this one alone. I’m not even really over the trauma yet.
So everyone used nature’s toilet except Telley, who came to regret that decision sorely. And we were off again. In search of large, meaty fish.
About 20 minutes later, once we had located the fish motherload on the fish finder, we decided to tie up loosely at a dock. So here’s how that process went. The fearless captain began to slow down the boat as he steered toward the dock. At that same moment, two members of the 13-member party, neither of which were me, went traipsing forward like they’d been called up on stage to retrieve an award. Traipsing. The rest of us were still sitting right were we had been for the last hour.
What was it that Steven said? We couldn’t remember. Where in the world is Sandra Bullock? Also doesn’t Matthew McConnaughey have a house around here?
As those two traipsed, the bow of the pontoon boat plunged deep into the water. Under the water. I mean it, people. That boat was a’sinking.
It was coming back to us now. That whole weight distribution thing. For a very long moment, as the waves rushed in and the boat plunged deeper toward our watery graves, I really thought we were all going spear fishing. What had started as an innocent day on the lake was going to end with the Coast Guard. And bodies. We were going in. Probably 100 gallons rushed in, wetting every last one of us to the knees.
“Hey!” The fearless captain called from the back of the boat. “What’s the deal? Everyone just starts moving without asking any questions! Back up!” And the two traipsers began to back up, along with the child who had followed them forward.
This was the moment of truth…the moment that would determine whether we lived or died. Whether the boat would resume floating or turn like Titanic toward the lake floor.
And besides the wet, stinky socks of 13 people and the wailing of a very frightened four year old, there were no lasting effects.
Except that the fish heard us coming.
Our live bait died. The chicken blood made us all sick enough to go to the ER. And the day ended without so much as a single bob to any of the eight poles in the water.
Actually, that’s not where the day ended. My day ended in a Korean karaoke establishment in China town at 1 a.m.
But that’s another story altogether.