The story of how Joe and April did something in their 32nd year of marriage.
Me: Married people are supposed to do things together. We don't do many things together.
Joe: Not true. We hang out, watch movies, eat dinner....
Me: That doesn't count. Of course we run into each other at home. Of course we end up watching Netflix together. I'm talking about...you know.... "things", activities....
Joe: I offered to get you your own set of clubs...
Me: We're not having that conversation again. No golf. It's an evil pastime, designed to elicit murderous rage. I suppose you are still dead set against going to yoga with me?
Joe: Not happening.
Me: Well then. Fuck it. We'll continue as we are.
Two weeks later:
Joe: So, I found a thing we could do...
Me: (suspicious, doubtful...) Really...? It's not a golf thing?
Joe: Nope. We can go white water rafting in Squamish. What do you think?
Me: (totally blindsided- wasn't expecting adventure-type activity...) Uh....yes... That sounds like fun. I definitely want to go white water rafting.
The day of the rafting trip:
Me: So, this is an actual "thing" couples do together. We're going to do a real thing.
Joe: I know. We're doing a thing, and we're being adventurous.
On the bus trip to the river:
Me: So, do I look like a fat sausage in my wetsuit? For real?
Joe: No. You actually look pretty good.
Me: Well, it definitely feels good; I like the way it's compressing everything. I wouldn't mind wearing this sort of thing all the time. (I spend the next few minutes trying to come up with a career that would allow me to wear a wetsuit to work)
At the river, listening to the guide give the safety talk:
What I hear as the guide explains the simple and logical safety rules: " Do what we tell you, and you might make it out alive. But probably, you are going to die on this river. April Ruttle, this means YOU.”
On the river:
Guide: Who wants to jump out of the raft and go for a swim?
Me: I do! (I’ve lost any fear I had previously, and I want to have the fullest possible rafting experience, so I slide overboard and grab hold of the "Oh Shit!" rope on the outside of the raft. I know I should keep my legs and feet up. I should relax and lie on my back, with my feet facing downstream. I try to do that, but the Elaho river wants me to keep my legs and feet down so that it can snag me on an underwater branch and then drown me. Water is continually splashing into my nose and mouth. I must look panicked and semi-drowned already because a big strong kid hoists me back into the raft - demonstrating perfect safety/rescue technique. I clamber up, struggling for a moment like a beached walrus, then regain my paddling position. Joe is smiling calmly from his seat on the opposite side of the raft.)
We go through rapids with names like: "Surf City", "Mike Tyson", and "The Steamroller". It is glorious. It is raining and the clouds are creeping around close to the river, draped over the trees on the mountains all around us. Big bald eagles swoop, glide and settle onto rocky islets as we float by. The wetsuits keep us perfectly comfortable. The guides are skilled, the river and the mountains all around us are so beautiful. This is a delicious way to welcome autumn.
In the car, on the way back home after eating delectable Mexican food at Mag's99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina:
Me: That was incredible. It was so much fun. We did a thing.
Joe: Yep. We did a thing.
-by April Ruttle