I went tubing down the Comal River this weekend with Katina and some of her friends. Some of the friends of Katina’s that joined us rode in the same car and are her roommates at a sober house in Austin. So, Katina and the lovely young women who accompanied us are all recovering alcoholics. Since tubing is a water sport that is generally acknowledged to have some risk of drowning involved, people in Texas usually do this activity without life jackets, and preferably off your ass drunk. So, the first tubing trip sober was a milestone for all of them. I’ve been tubing down the Guadalupe once before, completely sober, as a volunteer with a church youth group, and I very nearly drowned. So, I wasn’t really tempted to drink even if it wouldn’t have been a social faux pas of the worst kind.
We got on the river in New Braunfels, and we arrived near noon and waited for the rest of our party. The rest of our party consisted of a female friend of Katina’s and mine, another female friend of hers, and the friend’s daughter in law, daughter in law’s best friend and daughter in law’s best friend’s boyfriend. I was there, and I’m confused.
We waited in line to get in that river in one hundred plus degrees heat for over two hours while two girls behind exactly two cash registers took money for what was probably tens of thousands of tube rentals. During this long wait we had time to unfortunately get well acquainted, by accident, with what must be the MOST OBNOXIOUS MAN ON THE PLANET. Just trust me when I say he was a pig (because I’ll spare you most of his conversation) with a large protruding belly and a pre-existing sunburn which was peeling underneath his thick white globs of sunblock. I lived for the moments when he decided that he couldn’t handle the sun anymore and slipped away to seek the shade.
Both of Katina’s young roommates are exceptionally pretty young women with rocking bodies who are under the age of 22. At one point in the afternoon, the MOST OBNOXIOUS MAN ON THE PLANET decided to focus his attention on one of them and chat her up. I watched this with hawk eyes, ready to step in and clobber him if necessary. Sadly, I realize that somewhere along the line I have turned into a crone.
I heard an oversimplified view once of the stages of a woman’s life. First she’s a girl, then she’s a mother, then she’s a crone. And then she dies. Somewhere along the line I skipped directly from girl straight to crone. Instead of fighting men away, I am busy guarding the “virtue” of women who are easily young enough to be my daughters. My young friend didn’t pay much attention to Obnoxious, and he had just enough social sense to take the hint.
They charge $11 per tube and $14 for the tubes with bottoms where you store your coolers full of beer, or, in our case, diet Cokes. It is a cheap activity, and it’s an effective way to cool off in the heat. The water in the river is cooled by a natural spring, so it’s plenty cold all year round. If you don’t already know, tubing involves floating down the river in an innertube. Most of the activity is very serene, but there are things they call tube shoots which are like log rides at Six Flags, only you could die. On the Comal River where we got on there were three of them. Now I’m not a big sissy about stuff like this. I have been white water rafting on a big river before, and that’s a lot scarier than tubing. Also, I’m a strong swimmer.
Still, these tube shoots are nothing to sneeze at. You can get carried along by the current and lose your entire group. You can flip and get stuck under your innertube, lose your innertube, or, worse, get stuck in the current when you go under. Tube shoots are probably a little more dangerous when the river is low like it is now. You have to worry about your ass scraping along the bottom of the river.
When we first got on the river, our little foursome immediately lost the rest of our group. Then there was the difficulty of actually sitting comfortably on the innertube, which requires coordination, something I don’t have. I think I’ve probably previously mentioned that I am what polite people like to refer to as a full figured woman. Also, I find the term, “fluffy” to be acceptable. Ah, hell! I’m a fat chick.
Katina had to hold the end of my innertube where my head was down in order for me to get both feet through my tube. There was also a brief moment of cringing humiliation when the lifeguards helping us over the second tube shoot shouted, “Big One!” right before I went over the drop. I’m sure that was just a coincidence.
All in all, though, I had a lovely time. I always enjoy hanging out with Katina, who is never dull. And I liked her young roommates. They were sweet. Except for the sunburn that I will write about in my next blog, it was a perfect summer weekend.