Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Star-crossed Day

I generally feel on top of the world.  I mean, I circumnavigated the world in 90 days, conquered the Mongolian dessert, braved the Siberian permafrost, and survived a bed bug infestation in Ukraine.  For some bizarre and inexplicable reason, this past Saturday I felt something no one should ever feel - defeat. 

It is true that worse things have happend to more amazing people, and I will attest that my group of friends had a great time and nothing went infinitely wrong.  There is no real explanation why, on Sauturday night, I anxiously counted down the minutes until midnight.  I am not a superstitious person, but I am positive that my stars and planets were not aligned on May 14th.

The day started off just fine.  It was the day after everyone's last final and we were going to celebrate by inner-tubing down this river located far south of Austin in New Braunfels.  My previous experience tubing with my friends in California led me to the logical conclusion that it would be an epic journey.  One year, we planned a tame 5 mile float in Healdsburg, but on the way to our entrance point we took a wrong turn.  We jumped into the river about 15 miles away from our end destination.  We realized how cold it was getting when the beer ran out, so we started calling out to our land-bound neighbors.  "Where's Healdsburg?" we would cry out.  In response, we received mocking laughs and sympathetic head shakes.  We realized our attempt to float to our friend's house was fruitless, so we all waded out of the water and blazed a trail through a local vineyard.  The owner saw our pathetic group of crying women and men wearing their boxers as shoes.  As Blanche would have put it, "I have always relied on the kindness of strangers."  He was our guardian angel; we would have spent hours in the cold hiking to our cars without him.  It was quite the Independence Day river trip.

This year's trip was much more regimented. We drove down to New Braunfels, rented our tubes, and jumped into a groomed river filled with hundreds of oddly shaped bodies, tattoos and personalities.  Although my bad luck started earlier in the day, it hit its peak soon after we hit the water.  Nat and I lost our group after funneling through a tube shoot that catapulted me and Nat into a wall.  In trying to catch up, we didn't realize there was a dangerous man-made 3ft waterfall.  At the fall, one of our friends got trampled by strangers, Nat bumped his head very hard, and I got assaulted.  Don't really need to get into the details, but a middle-aged man decided to take advantage of my half-drowned and mildly panicked state to make a move.  It took me a while to float over to Nat and scout for some cops, but by the time we led them to the scene and I gave an account, he had slowly creep away.  I watched this pervert escape, to live another day free to molest unsuspecting women.  

This violating episode combined with a few other scattered encounters left me afraid to even drive home at the end of the day.  A part of me seriously feared that I would get into a catastrophic car accident.  I felt generally defeated and couldn't wait for the day to just end.  Luckily for me it could have been worse.  At least I have an amazingly supportive and loving boyfriend and hysterical friends to laugh about this incident with. 

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