Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Event - Part 1

Anita and I just hanging out

We all wish for many things in our lives, such as a life-long partner. Today, more than ever, people are either waiting longer to commit to someone, or not at all. And of course there are those that would love to, but can't seem to find that perfect match. I did a combination of them all. First off, I obviously didn't make any such commitment early in life, and as you all know my age from my previous post, I passed the point most average people get married. Also, at times, I thought about going solo and considered it seriously. Although, despite liking time alone, I do prefer company. Something about having someone there with you in body, mind, and spirit. Last of all, I did seek perfection. The problem was, that usually tended to turn me back to the solo option. I wasn't getting anywhere.

Anita and I work together at a hospital in Richmond Hill. Even though we knew each other for several years, I only knew her enough to say hello and have the odd exchanges related to work. This year, I had a bunch of trips planned with some friends, but needed a partner to commit to some, if not all of them. I solicited my usual paddling friends, but for one reason or other, no one could commit. It was then time to go for broke or else many of the pre-planned trips could be in jeopardy. So, I started sticking my neck out to see if anyone else would bite.

The response from my work colleagues are always amusing since they know about my canoeing exploits and think I'm off my rocker. So of course when I asked a bunch of them during lunch one day, I got the usual smirks, smart remarks, and attitude. Many had conditions attached to them which I obviously couldn't accommodate, like no bugs or animals, every night had to be in a cabin, or every site had to have a hot shower and a toilet. ("You're kidding, right?!") I was told a vacation meant getting pampered with fresh food, drinks, and a soft bed. The idea of roughing it for a vacation went totally against their principle. Sigh, why bother?

Anita did not stand out from the group, as she claimed she was a "glamper". (Combine glamorous and camper, and you get someone who enjoys high maintenance camping.) Well unexpectedly, her resolve started to soften when she read my blog and regularly heard me rave about canoe trips. She actually took the bait, and soon after, the first trip with her was booked. On our first outing in April this year, she fared okay, despite a massive face plant on the portage. (Can you imagine, she apparently was day-dreaming about soaking in a hot tub!) Yes, the weather was cold, it also rained quite a bit, and there was the kilometre long portage she endured with more weight on her back than she ever experienced in her life, but she did it and somehow found reason to go again.

Since that inaugural outing, Anita has gone on 5 trips hence with me. She has endured shivering in the cold rain, trying to extricate herself out of a bog, face planted yet again on the portage trail, and even got bitten by bugs she never knew existed. Nor will she forget her gastro-intestinal bout, almost dislocating her thumb, and some wild weather conditions, one she descriptively coined as "gale-force winds and sub-zero temperatures". Sometimes it was too much for her, like when her legs gave out halfway up a very steep portage. I did my best to make her experience as tolerable as possible, but sometimes, it was out of my control. Sure, there was some tough times, but through it all, we shouldered through it - together. She was quickly becoming a great paddling partner. Was there a chance there could be more?

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