Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kids These Days

Finally had a nice (weather-wise) weekend. My whole family was here for a few days (hi!). After everyone left, J. and I took the kayaks out for a late afternoon paddle up a bucolic river a few towns north. As we came around a bend I saw a group of teenagers taking turns jumping off an old railroad bridge into the river. There were four or five boys, and a similar number of girls. My first thought was, "That's great. Young people outside in the summer, flirting and jumping into rivers in the sun, just like in Springsteen songs and Stand By Me." My next thought was "I hope they don't think we're terrible old people who are going to spoil their fun by calling the police to say there are some delinquents on the railroad bridge."

As we approached, one of the kids yelled out "Kayakers!" I was impressed that they cared enough to hold up their fun while we passed, and tried to return the respect by pulling over to the side of the river away from their group as we came towards the bridge.

But I had it all wrong. They were waiting not for us to pass, but to arrive. A boy-teen came over to my side of the bridge and waited until I was just at the bridge, then cannonballed himself from the considerable height to land right next to my boat. J. was right behind me, and another youth did the same to her. I was so surprised by the sudden antisocial behavior that I didn't do what I later wished I had-- kayaked back up to the swimmer and beat him senseless my paddle. J. did have the presence of mind to yell "Assholes" at them, but that just brought chuckles.

I wished, in the end, that I had brought my cell phone so that I could've called the police to say there are some delinquents on the railroad bridge.


Blogger Johanna said...

I wish there was a beat them on the head with a paddle equivalent for assholes who shout random things out of SUVs while passing me way way way too close on wide, empty country roads when I'm out riding my bike.

Today, I also unclipped in anticipation of delivering a swift kick to an aggressive dog, but the property must have had that invisible fence thing. Or he was a big chicken.

7/12/09, 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Invisible Dog Fences have evolved over the past 25 years. The expensive and somewhat ugly chain link dog fences have fallen by the wayside in favor of the new electronic dog fences, which use invisible radio waves. Dogs have a habit of jumping over or digging under chain link dog fences or other solid barrier dog fences. An Invisible Fence is a good idea if you want to keep your dog safe.

7/13/09, 11:07 AM  
Blogger pjm said...

I've had a similar experience on a significantly larger boat... if the idiot in question had been about two yards off to the east, he would have pretty much died on the deck next to me. Startled me silly, of course.

7/13/09, 1:08 PM  
Blogger brushfiremedia said...

Johanna: I feel your pain. I especially love it when they yell at you, pass ridiculously close, then immediately slam on their brakes and take a right hand turn in front of you forcing you to slam on your own brakes.

Turbo: I so wish you had beat him silly with your paddle.

7/15/09, 9:49 AM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

In my younger days, when I used to ride my bike around out west loaded down with camping equipment, it was fairly common to have beer bottles and other such projectiles thrown at me from pickup trucks. I pretty much solved the problem by strapping an American flag to the back of my bike, atop the gear pile. Strangely there is a large group of people in this country who won't harm the flag, yet think nothing of harming other humans.

7/15/09, 9:55 AM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

(Note: the above strategy will work only within the U.S.A. Will backfire anywhere else on the planet.)

7/15/09, 9:56 AM  

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