We have some friends, another couple, of whom I am completely in awe. They are slightly older than my husband and me, yet they are constantly exploring new avenues of adventure. They zip-line. They go whitewater rafting. They hike uncharted trails. They scuba dive. And now that we are all good friends, they want us to join them in their exciting adventures.
This poses a problem for me, and it’s kind of embarrassing. My idea of adventure is going to the mall on the weekend, or letting myself run low on my favorite hairspray before restocking. The closest I care to get to nature is someplace like the Georgia Aquarium, and I keep a tank of air and safety flares near me in case of disaster even there. Instead of whitewater rafting, I prefer floating on a raft in a swimming pool. It’s not the physical exertion of which I am afraid; rather, I live my life by one basic principle when it comes to the outdoors and its wildlife inhabitants: “You stay in your area, and I’ll stay in mine.”
I want to change this mindset, I really do. But here’s how I look at it. If sharks live in the ocean, and I choose to suit up and go in the water and swim around with them, they have the upper hand and I’m kind of asking for it. If they have enough sense to stay off the sand, certainly I can return the favor by staying out of the water.
If a bear has been considerate enough to mark trees along the trail I’m hiking by clawing his initials into the trunks, the least I can do is heed his warning that I’m on his turf, invading his personal space. If I see those warnings and ignore them, in my mind, I’m tempting fate.
I don’t want spiders and snakes in my house, and I’m going to assume they don’t want me in theirs. And frogs terrify me.
This same couple asked us to go rafting with them up in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. There were to be Category IV rapids. Now, when a recreational activity uses the same classifications as tornadoes, that’s a red flag to me. We couldn’t join them on this particular trip but sure enough, they were both ejected from their raft and ended up wedged between rocks in dangerously rough water, having to rescue themselves. They told the story and punctuated it with laughs and guffaws. I was astounded.
That in no way sounds like fun to me. It makes for a fascinating story, but it does not sound like fun.
I would, however, go see a movie about it.
I hope we remain friends and that this couple doesn’t decide we’re too boring (or that I am too boring. My husband would love all that nonsense).