Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Extreme Tubing

This is how most people enjoy watertubing: 

I, however, have a deep fear instilled in me. Since all the tubing I have ever done has been in the ocean, a healthy fear of jellyfish accompanies the act. It doesn't stop me from doing it, but it makes the stakes much, much higher than those happy-go-lucky lake folk. 

Every time I hop on the tube, I look into the murky depths below and imagine thousands of the redish jellyfish just lurking, waiting to strike me down. I've been stung pretty regularly every summer since I started splashing in the river for fun, so whenever I start thinking "eh, the pain can't be that bad," they strike again. Mercilessly.

Therefore, when I get on the intertube, it's like a test of my strength. I. Will. Not. Fail. To fail means to expose my mostly naked body to their evil tentacles of doom. I can't just refuse to go tubing, either. I have to prove myself!

My weak, white, unexposed-to-outdoors-or-strenuous-exercise-limbs cling to the handles of the tube. I suppress my screams (mostly), and try to survive. I wrap my legs around the side of the tube, pull my torso up while my legs drag in water, and do my best to breathe at regular intervals. Determination etches my every feature. Like a drowning rat pulling itself onto a drainpipe-- I endure.

 At one point, as I left the wake zone, my entire body lifted off the tube. Legs arched over body and I grew weightless before crashing down on my hips. The bruises look like I pelvic thrusted a brick wall.

My cousin joined me for some good hearty fun. We both shared the tube's straps, so we were one strap to a person. He had a blast, though we were slamming into one another and screaming and dangerously close to the water at all times. After a series of hard knocks and bumps, my unfortunate kin lost his hold. Our eyes met as he flew into the air, destined to plummet into the water. After the initial shock, I accepted the loss and the extra available strap, leaving him to his fate.

After twenty minutes of my uncle trying to shake me so he could go rescue his nephew, my muscles stopped feeling pain. They trembled, and I realized they were doomed to fail. The next hard turn was my last. My fingers let go of their own accord, though I'd weathered much worse. I slipped into the lake, swallowing enough water to replenish all I'd lost from tubing so hard.

Immediately I did the leg tuck years of tubing in jellyfish infested waters taught me. Hug legs to life preserver and use my palms to paddle me away from suspicious shadows.

But I realized-- I was in fresh water. They weren't coming for me. I tentatively lowered my legs. It was magnificent! I splashed around as much as my deadened muscles would allow.

When they finally got to me they had to lift me into the boat like a dog in a life jacket, since I didn't have the strength to hoist myself up any longer. But I'd come out a champion.