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.