While whitewater rafting yesterday on the White Salmon River in Washington, there were about three times on the 3 hour ride that we were not furiously paddling, being splashed in the face by torrential waves (slight exaggeration only), or inadvertently hitting each other in the head with paddles. During those three reprieves, I took the opportunity to ask our river guide (who dubbed us all "Lily-dippers" at first, in honor of our timid paddle strokes in the water) some important questions:
1. Did you ever have any crazy whitewater rafters (ala Kevin Bacon in "River Wild")? Travis (River Guide) said he once had a rafter who must have taken LSD right before climbing into the raft. He said he started out "just a little special" and by an hour into the trip was sitting facing backwards then a bit later ended up on Travis' lap. Wowee! I'm thinking this is not an activity during which anyone should be taking drugs or imbibing in alcohol. Dave said I shouldn't be distracting Travis with all my questions, either, while we are careening down the river in an inflatable boat.
2. What is the dumbest question you ever got asked? (and I prefaced this one by saying if it was one of my questions, he should tell me the second dumbest---Dave rolled his eyes; Travis laughed). Travis was stumped because he said there had been so many, how can we limit it to one? I said, "We have a ways to go, still. Tell as many as you want." He said many people had asked if they would get wet. He answers, "These are all Class III, IV, or V rapids. Yes, it is likely you will get wet" (the water is 42 degrees, by the way). He said a lady asked him, "Will we take out in the same place we put in?" Can you imagine? Yes, this is a circular river, much like the Lazy River at a Florida resort. We'll end up right back here in three hours. :) He said he has to resist the urge to answer sarcastically. But the last one he told us was my favorite: At what altitude do deer turn into elk? Well, now there is a fine how-do-you-do. How do you even answer that one?
Dave said I shouldn't distract our guide with questions and jokes. I said, "Pooey! It made his day and besides, I am nosey.' I began thinking about my most recent encounter with a "maybe you shouldn't joke" situation.
I was driving to meet a friend for lunch in Tucson the other day. I decided not to get on the highway for one mile and instead just stayed on the frontage road which dramatically and suddenly changes from 55 mph to 35 mph. As I passed the sign, two things happened. I lifted my foot off the gas (but did not brake) and I saw a motorcycle cop hiding (very covertly) on the side of the road. I thought MAYBE it was just the sun I saw glinting off his mirror (or his huge sunglasses), but alas, on closer inspection, it was his flashing light telling me he had caught me.
He pulled out on the frontage road, got behind me and turned those special lights on full force. I pulled to the side, and began to look for my license, registration, and insurance.
He came over to my window and asked, "I stopped you for speeding. Do you know how fast you were going?" Let me be clear---I was not apt to be funny at this point in the venture, I promise. I answered honestly, "I know I was slowing down because I saw the sudden change to 35 miles per hour, but I suppose it wasn't quick enough, huh?" He told me my speed and took my info to go back to his bike to make sure I wasn't a serial killer. Moments later, he came back to the car with all my paperwork and a ticket that looked like I had just purchased something from Best Buy (have you seen their receipts???) and said those magical words, "I didn't see any violations on your driving record..." (huge sigh of relief from me) "....so I am just giving you a warning." He continued to tell me that although I would not get a fine, have to go to court, have to suck up to my husband for months on end, etc., this warning would be "in the system, so if you are stopped in Oro Valley, Marana, or anywhere you drive around here, they'll see it." He ended his warning about my warning with a big, "So......." and maybe, just maybe, since I had been holding in such nervous energy, I finished his "So......" with "I should move?" To my surprise, he did not correct me but rather laughed outloud. I corrected myself, "I mean, I should slow down. I promise I knew that was the right answer." Another laugh.
When I told Dave of my massive good fortune, his response was a massive eye roll. "Really, you thought it was a good idea to joke with the motorcycle cop?" Hey, at least I didn't ask him to tell me about his craziest person he had to pull over or the dumbest questions he's been asked. I would call that progress, right?
Just for today, perhaps we (I mean I ) can enjoy the humor in our lives while making sure it is appropriately timed and placed.