As I mentioned earlier, getting older means getting comfortable with routine and predictability. Every once in a while, though, something (or someone) will come along and nudge us just a little into other possibilities.
Ed has always tried to get me to try new foods. I have always balked. He wonders aloud how I ever got weaned. He wants me to try various mushrooms and stinky cheeses. He wants me to taste buffalo and lamb. No thanks, I'm fine - really, I am.
This week we are hosting an old high school friend of mine, Audrey. We have known each other since 7th grade, were close in school, but our lives have diverged, as is often the case, and we have not kept in touch as we should have through the years. She works at the library in Memphis, but she is licensed as a massage therapist, and one never knows what Audrey will do next. When a mutual friend died a few years ago, we both realized that life will not wait for us to take time to see each other, so Audrey flew up to Maine from Memphis, and we are having a grand time.
And today, we are going sea kayaking.
Unless you know me well, you probably did not get the inflection in that previous sentence. AND TODAY WE ARE GOING SEA KAYAKING! By the red capital letters and exclamation point, you may infer that this prospect excites me. You would be wrong. This prospect terrifies me.
Audrey wanted to go kayaking while she was here, and I reluctantly consented. You see, I can't swim. It's one of my many limitations. I can't even tread water. I've never been in a kayak before. All this was dismissed by Audrey. "You'll love it! Don't worry! You'll be safe! Nothing will happen!" My first inclination was to respond with a resounding NO, but then I thought about stretching.
I have always believed in two kinds of stretching. The first is the kind where you lift your arms and lengthen your muscles, extending every fiber and tendon, repeating the exercise with your legs and back until every portion of your body is relaxed and content.
The second kind is what they used to do on the medieval rack. That's called torture. Whenever I "stretch" myself in life, trying something scary, I obviously choose the second definition.
Nevertheless, in less than 5 hours I will be sitting in a kayak in Bar Harbor with a 10-minute lesson on paddling, in a strange device that, with a few modifications, could look suspiciously like a casket. Everyone assures me I will have a wonderful time. I certainly hope so.
I guess this is another opportunity for me to stretch a little out of my comfort zone. Audrey is willing to take the accolade or blame, depending on how the adventure goes, because she is responsible for my stretching today. That reassured me until I realized that as a professional massage therapist, she has patients who, although they feel better in the end, are relieved only after considerable pain has been inflicted on their poor, tense bodies.
After the kayaking, Audrey wants to go hiking. You will understand, then, that as we shopped yesterday around the sports store, I hid the rock climbing brochures. No sense in giving her any more ideas.