Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wild Ride on an Autumn Day

I'm anxious about the election, nervous about the economy, and yet, today was a luscious fall day in the northwest.

The light was golden as the trees, hazy as the spiderwebs that frost branches and windowpanes, with sunshine hide-and-seeking through boughs sometimes crimson, sometimes dappled green, pumpkin, and a color I can only call "etrog." That's the lemon-esque fruit we hold, with the other three "species" of myrtle, palm and willow, in the "lulav," a peculiar combination waved by Jews on this holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

It was a perfect day for my first ride on a super-charged jet ski. A very macho friend of ours owns an ultra-powerful water vehicle that can go 80 mph. Lake Washington was relatively smooth, and now that it's fall and the nippy air kept most of the sailboats away, vast swaths of lake called for throttling the 250 horse-power machine. Did I want to go for a spin?

To quote a vice-presidential candidate: You betcha. Our host promised that only our feet might get wet, so I wore my red and white polka-dot rain boots, my puffy down coat and a life vest over it all. I put on my felty gloves and climbed on behind my beefy driver, followed by my son.

We rolled slowly out of the speed zone into the lake. My host said, "Ready?" and when my son and I said yes, I nearly went flying into the lake. My slick gloves barely held around the smooth life jacket of our friend as he gunned the motor...40, 50, 55 mph! All I could do was SCREAM at the top of my lungs, as if on the drop of a monster roller-coaster....non-stop, high-pitched shrieks that formed a duet with my son's manic laughter punctuated with his "wohhhhha!"s. It was a wild ride, the occasional leap on a wind-caused bump sometimes chopping my incessant screams into short squeals.

We rode like and in the wind five miles, toward the end of the lake, admired the vermilion trees of a shore-side park, then swung back to speedily encircle the lake's 5-mile-long island. It was another ten miles of screams, with my reach taut in a life-or-death squeeze around the driver. At one point we stopped suddenly, which I didn't mind as it gave my near-numb fingers a chance to recirculate after holding my arms aloft for 20 minutes. Once the insect that had spattered on our host's sunglasses was wiped off, he once again asked, "Ready?" and this time I knew to grip hard as we leaped from standstill to 60 mph, my screams once again uncontrollable.

Back at the boat-launch I couldn't believe the adrenaline rush I'd sustained for the entire scary-fun ride. After he saw us, my husband, who was waiting for a turn, demurred, saying he didn't really want to go, but I forced him to try. After a much-shorter excursion, he returned with the same dazed wonderment, pumped by exhilaration, that my son and I shared.

That's the kind of wild ride I like. Too bad we had to come back to the headlines and hype that bring screams of a far less enjoyable ilk.


  1. No helmets? Are you NUTS?

    Perhaps I'm too enmeshed in my bubble-wrapped generation. How do you raise tough kids in this climate?

  2. I don't think you WEAR helmets on the water! Though it's true that if you smash down on the water really fast, it could be BAD...but I didn't hear anything about helmets, just life vests.

  3. Sounds like an incredible day -- a welcome break from the media clamor and rowdy national campaigns, I'm sure.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Be blessed.

  4. You don't wear helmets on the water when riding solo, as it doesn't help with impact on the water.. Also, with the smooth water, the only concern is falling off during acceleration, since you wouldn't want to get wet doing aggressive turns. Watercraft slow down quickly once you let off the throttle (that's how they are designed). Nothing looks in any way unsafe or dangerous in what was done here.... I've seen people fall off as fast as 50 MPH and provided they dont' get run over by someone, they don't get hurt... that's the biggest risk of PWC's: getting into a collision with another PWC.

  5. That photo is too, too, too hilarious... I can't even take it, it's so funny. I love it. I am going to laugh into my dirty dishes and stinky laundry all afternoon. No more grumps for me. I love it. HA!!!!

  6. Ok, seein your husband (yes, I'm a stupid fan) sittin on that jet ski is really funny. Every time I hear him on the radio now that pic is gonna pop into my mind.

    Thanks alot.