Standing by my car, I’m eye-to-eye with him. “What did you just say?” 

“Fool” he repeats, no hesitation. 

An encounter I didn’t see coming, I’m gobsmacked, at a loss for words. All I can manage is, “Please explain yourself,” my words on the timid side, me thinking I’m better off not antagonizing this guy. 

“Fool,” says he with some force, “look around and tell me what you see.”

I look around, say, “A couple benches, the harbor, boats, the bay, three seagulls …,” but he cuts me off before I can finish.

“So pedestrian,” he snickers. “Things! All you can see are things!”

I look around again, see nothing but things. Scratching my head, confused, “That’s all there’s to see. Things. Stuff.”

“Fool,” he says, but now I cut him off.

“Please, stop calling me a fool,” I plead before he can utter another word.

“Fool” slips past my mild-mannered plea like wasps to bacon scraps left on your breakfast plate, “you can’t see past the end of your nose. You don’t see with feeling. You need feeling! What about the blue sky, the bright sun, the warm air, the calm bay, no wind to mess with you, no wet spray in your face.”

I wait for his onslaught, his tirade, to continue, but he says no more. Uneasy in his silence, I say, “Well, ummm … there’s that. Yeah.”

“Said with such passion. Hah!” A pause, then, “Why aren’t you out there paddling, the day glorious, conditions ideal? Tell me that!”

I have a very good excuse, deliver it like spooning applesauce over potato pancakes. “My paddling buddies aren’t here. Gandalf’s transported himself to Florida and Don’t Follow Don’s done a Gulliver’s Travels, grew so tall he smacked his head on the top of a doorframe. No one knows where Dragon’s flown off to.”


“So,” I say, “I can’t paddle alone. Paddling’s all about being on the bay with your buddies.” For added emphasis, I tack on, “Paddling alone just isn’t right.”

I don’t know what I said, but my Storm Paddle goes ballistic. “What the heck! I’ve been on more paddles with you than any of those other guys. You’re not alone when you paddle with me. What am I? A stick in the mud?!”

‘A stick in the mud’ I think, but don’t comment, the Storm Paddle a skinny 6’4” red cedar stick. He’s still laying it on thick, but arguing with him is futile. Best that I leave him strapped to the top of the car and drive home, which I do.

“Fool!” I hear more times than I can count from the car top, but I don’t stop.


Date: Thurseve, 30 September 2021.

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