The code of the river


I do not have a yacht. Yachts are for rich people. I also don’t own a sailboat, or a motorboat. What I have is a used fishing tube.

Fishing tube

Fishing tube

For those unfamiliar with them, they are used for floating on lakes so that the fishermen can cast in deeper water.

I have never used it for that. I use it to float on a river. Floating the river is a summertime tradition where I live, and by judging from the number of people I saw this weekend, about half the town gets on the water for the three hour trip every weekend.

raft M110822-34ziplockcolor

When you immerse yourself in water that will result in hypothermia in about the same amount of time you expect to be on the river, your raft becomes pretty important. You wouldn’t know that by looking at the watercraft being used by floaters, because you see everything from canoes to inflatable turtles to, well, nothing at all. The latter group is mostly comprised of people whose rafts popped, or people who pre-celebrated the event and decided they didn’t need a raft at all.

raft 10112247lousytimingUSCGcolor

As I floated along, I noticed a few things.

Summertime identifies the people who work out. It also makes it clear who doesn’t.

Athletes look like this:

raft athlete

Those that don’t exercise tend to look like this.

fat gu1y

If they take off their shirts, they look like this:

fat guy no shirt

There should be a code of the river that prevents it.

I also noticed that the current generation has a lot of tattoos.

raft M160118-03tattoocolor

Apparently there is no correlation between those who should not take off their shirts and those who should not have tattoos. But it is obvious who they are.

Water guns are fun for about fifteen minutes, and then they become annoying. Unless you are eight years old. If you are eight, water guns never get old.

People are very gracious if you accidentally bump them with your raft. If you bump them again, they think you are stalking them.

As we neared the end of the float, I began to shiver. One of my friends remarked that the long-sleeved tee-shirt I was wearing might be making me colder and suggested that I take it off.

I evoked the code of the river.


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