Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the aftermath

Somehow I didn't hear them shout from shore "We'll meet you at the bridge!" while I was negotiating my cold ride on top of the capsized kayak. I was too busy preparing for what would be my impromptu "polar bear plunge" before ever reaching the bridge downstream. Soaked in shock I walked back to the house and past a neighbor. She stood gawking at my state of affairs. "Water's a little cold" I said. "Get those clothes off!" the woman responded. Thanks lady.

The house was empty and the car was gone. In all of my wet wisdom I assumed Matt and Alex had gone to rescue their stupid friend. Both left in such a state they forgot cell phones. So, without changing clothes I jumped in Ruth and began a search and rescue of my search and rescue team.

I found Alex at the bridge. Her upper body hung over the side of the guardrail "searching" the waters below. "Alex!" I shouted walking towards her. We then exchanged a few brief words of relief. "Matt's gone, he took off running after the kayak. I'll go look for him, you get those clothes off." I couldn't help but agree with her.

Back at home I plunged into the hot tub trying to put feeling in my fingers, then a quick change of clothes just before Alex opened the front door. "I can't find him." she said dejected. Without knowing Matt, one can't quite fully appreciate his.... dedication, his persistence, his -how shall i say- incredible stubbornness. "Well, let's go look for him."

I rallied Ruth to life, Alex jumped back in the Jeep. Off we went to find my good friend Matt. The Latah creek runs by my house then meanders its way past a golf course, skirting along the Pullman highway until it dumps into the Spokane River. Alex and I decided to get on the highway and leap frog sections of the creek/river looking for Matt.

I pulled Ruth off to the side of the highway, put the emergency flashers on her and left her running. I left her running because she has developed an odd habit over the last year of not turning off when you turn the key and take it out of the ignition. You can literally be holding the key in your hand having taken it out of the ignition and she will keep on running as if you had never intended to stop her. The only way to shut her off is to pop the hood, and hold down a special red "STOP" button which chokes the engine into submission. Did I have time for all that? No.

Running and shouting "MATT!" I was a few hundred yards from the highway scanning the section of river for my bearded search and rescue team when I felt my phone vibrating. "Alex, did you find him!" "No, but did a cop pull you over?!" "NO. WHY. Is there a cop behind my car?" "Yes." "@!#$%"

Sprinting over a grassy knoll of the golf course I saw an officer, arms folded as if knowing I was going to come from that direction. I got within five feet of him, out of breath. "Do you want your $150 ticket now or later?" "Officer, please, I am looking for my friend who thinks I'm dead. I flipped my kayak a few minutes ago and my friend is looking for me."

Seemingly unfazed his hand reached for the CB radio attached to his shoulder. "Yeah dispatch, if anyone calls in a capsized kayaker on Latah creek, he's been located." Turning his attention back to me, he seemed both amused and bewildered with my story. "I know, its crazy and stupid on my part and I apologize officer." With a half smile he said "Well, let me see some ID." I tapped both pant pockets, nothing. "Officer, I left my house in a big hurry, I dont have any ID." "Your fly is down." He said without hesitating. With a quick zip we moved on- "well, what's stopping someone from stealing your car that you left running." "Officer.  The car doesn't turn off when you take the key out of the ignition, so I left it running."

I remember thinking at this point all of what I am saying is sounding very odd however true it actually is. "...But my friend is still out there looking for me." AKA can we wrap up this investigation of an idiot. "Do you want a ticket?" he said facetiously. "No". With that we exchanged smiles and I got back in Ruth. (side note- this makes the forth time Ruth and I have explained our way out of a ticket.)

Alex called again just as I was looking for another place to pull over further down the highway. "I found Matt, we're at the gas station." I pulled into the parking lot next to the jeep, Matt wet from his personal adventure that ended with him chest deep in the water pulling the kayak out of the river, looking like he should, cold but delighted his dedication paid off.

The three of us stood together half laughing. I have always enjoyed being the third wheel in their relationship, but its moments like these that make me really appreciate how close we have become.


The above fore-mentioned. said...

Way to go Ruth, four times she has avoided a ticket! I've only managed it once! Glad the story ended well and everyone was safe, if not a little bit colder, in the end.

Hope you don't mind me making comments on your blog, it seems like a personal blog, but your stories are very entertaining.

Brad said...

Ruth has a certain magic to her, the way she can escape tickets (that's about the only thing she can escape). But I'm sure you could have guessed I would say something like that. The cop couldn't have been any more understanding my situation.

Very happy you enjoy the blog! Thanks for the comments!

Tenshi Rising said...

oh my goodness...y'all make me so happy.

and I love watching you as the third make a lovely tricycle, you three.

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