Last night I went on the final phase of leaving the novice stage as a kayaker and went into the intermediate stage. I went on the Golden Hour Tour, where we kayaked from Pier 84 to 60th St. (almost a mile up the Hudson).
Cue the theme song from Gilligan's Island. The weather started getting rough, the tiny kayak tossed....
Well, not exactly. The wind was a little high, but not much. I've been on higher tide situations. One needed to focus, but that was about it. The adrenaline for me came from the fact that I am the slowest. And I'm afraid of the dark. Always have been. Always will be. But I have never let that stop me from going out. Because not going out is worse than being alone in the dark.
I almost didn't go out. Erik the (the skipper of our crew) was giving his version of Henry V's speech before Agincourt: "I am not going to be your towman." Which was a new one for me. I really didn't know what that was. Was this one of the superheroes I missed out on(I thought he said, "Toeman." Did he mean "Toerag" Or Toejam)? Turns out--he means he is not going to tow us in or back. (Not exactly we few, we proud)
When I said I was Slow, he was discouraging me, suggesting I just go out for some stroking in the cove. But stroking is not the issue. I physically don't have the ability to go a mile in 18 minutes, which is another requirement. He compared it to being on a tread mill at 3MPH, then it switches to 6MPH--but I can't turn it back. Finally, he put on another guy, so if I couldn't keep up, I could go back.
Spoiler--I made it to 60th Street. They were a mile ahead of me--and that is the problem. Their little head lights become indistinct at that distance. Alexi, my wingman, didn't have a light at all. But I made it. The tide uptown wasn't so bad. Turning back is usually easy--but this was challenging--my kayak kept wanting to go in any other direction. So instead of speeding back--I was riding a balky pony who kept wanting to roll in the grass. But I controlled the pony--even slower than going up. But I got back.
Not like a tread mill at all. More like horsebacking riding. Because you are dealing with living ecosystems with their own agency. Machines have a certain logic. You can adjust to a faster, constant speed. But the river is not a constant.
Adventures, when you are on them, are not fun. When I am on an adventure, I am whiny and petulant. I am expecting fun and am not having any. But I made it and am an intermediate.
Which may be a distinction without a difference. The novice trips are too easy and too boring. The intermediate trips--I can't go on them. They are to places like Edgewater, where you are expected to kayak to the GW in an hour (140 blocks, 7miles). I know I can't do that. And this summer has been death to any events where I can work on my arm strength--can't go swimming. And Pier 84 is the only kayaking venue, and I'm lucky if I can get a time once a week. (When I say I whine, I mean it).
The answer to the question of the title? A doctor.