The weather forecast for this boat race in Vermont was for heavy rain, wind and cold. I was sensibly thinking of saying the hell with it when I made the mistake of mentioning it to a local pal who got me into rowing in the first place.
"That’s not exactly defaulting to YES." he said sensoriously…reminding me of my own line in my own book. Harry, the toad, was up at our house in the Berkshires and said more or less the same thing.
So I loaded the damn boat on the car and drove the three hours to Putney, slept fitfully and woke up to a downpour. Went to the very funky race and HAD ABOUT AS MUCH FUN AS I’VE HAD IN YEARS. God knows why, but it was wonderful. There were over 300 people there (it’s sort of a prelim for the Head of theCharles and serious people go). The access road is dirt; the parking lot is a corn field (plenty of cars stuck) and the loading docks were connected to the shore by 2×8’s…very slippery and scary. To get that far, you had to walk down a steep, muddy embankment, with your boat on your head…not easy. And despite that it was absolutely wonderful. I found myself just grinning all the time.
I did brilliantly for me in the race (meaning I was about four from the bottom) which didn’t matter much. Walking the half mile back to the car in my socks in the slurpy mud, with my boat on my head (which did keep off the torrential rain for a while), I just kept laughing aloud. So ridiculous. So much fun. Go figure. Here’s a repeat suggestion for life: DEFAULT TO YES