Two Peas in a Pod
On Tuesday afternoon my good friend, Ella, asked me if I would indulge her in a spot of kayaking down at Lock 4. She pitched it as a good way to blow off some steam after a hard two days of work, and enjoy each other’s company to the backdrop of the great Murray.
To be frank, I was ambivalent towards the premise – isn’t kayaking an old persons thing? I put my prejudice aside and went along for the trip.
We left the lock in a group – Ella and I in a double, the rest in singles – and traversed into the River, towards the unchartered backwaters.
It was around the time that my navigator and I were having grave difficulty negotiating a patch of unyielding reeds that I thought to myself, “is this a metaphor for my life?”
And so the theme was set. My life was the trajectory of the kayak and our surroundings were symbols for the relentless and unpredictable obstacles which make this whole dance just that little bit more… slippery. This is how it went.
The Sun: That thing you’re still trying to figure out exactly how much of you need in your life; alcohol, chocolate, a particular person. You know it’s good in small doses because it makes you feel elevated but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing and no one wants to end up in a mad house. Either way, you’re going to have to learn how to manage your relationship to it ‘cos it ain’t going anywhere soon.
The Logs: The small yet unavoidable inconveniences in your everyday life. Sometimes they are many; sometimes they are sequential. Depending on what side of the bed you’ve awoken they can either be the quirky little additions to your usual routine (“Oh life, how many other places can you find to hide my keys today?”) or tip-of-the-iceberg-meltdown-inducing-cataclysms (“IF I DON’T FIND MY KEYS IN 30 SECONDS I AM QUITTING MY JOB AND MOVING TO INDIA!”).
The Duel Cab: Sometimes life is better with a first mate.
The Carp: Just when you think you’ve got everything sorted, you become victim to the wrath of another being, who, much like yourself is just trying to exist in this world. All you can do is sit there, accept that it is out of your control and hope they find whatever it is they are thrashing around violently looking for.
The Secret Tributary: When you finally find peace after what seemed like an endless battle. You didn’t think it existed and you never knew it could be so beautiful.
The Capsize: And then you fall off the wagon again.
The Back Pain: That insistent feeling that you could always be doing something differently and causing yourself less discomfort. Or just longing for a glass of wine and a massage.
After an hour and a half of to-ing and oar-ing, finally, we were almost back to the lock.
“What’s this bit?” Ella asked as we floated closer to the bank.
“This, El, is the end. This is death,” I exhaled.
“Nah,” she replied, nonchalantly. “It’s just a good nights sleep.”
Originally published in The Murray Pioneer