Less than 24 hours after my last post about how much I enjoy going fishing with The Narrator and how it has lessened my desire to do it alone, I went and did exactly that.
I dropped him off at pre-school yesterday then went to see a client. The service call lasted significantly less than I anticipated, but long enough that going home before I would have to come back and pick him up from school was not an option. I was stuck for a while. So I drove around, and managed to find a beautiful lake. And I just happened to still have our fishing gear in the car. So, in spite of the unseasonably cold temperatures, and the precipitation that flipped back and forth between a misting rain and light, fluffy snow, I decided to kill an hour on the bank of the lake.
As I fished, I began to muse, as usual, and came up with a theory. As relaxing as hunting and fishing are, they are mentally exhausting. Especially if, like me- you are only marginally good at them. Take fishing for example. In choppy water, if you’re using live bait, the bobber will continuously dip and wiggle as though you’ve got something on the line. It’s been bad enough in the past that I’ve tried to set a hook on something that isn’t there. All I would manage to do is add further torment to the poor worm whose day was already ruined by the addition of a metal rod through its innards, and the sudden and continuous lack of air as it hung out under water trying to convince what was certainly the world’s largest fish that he was delicious.
Not only that, but if there’s nobody to talk to, or nothing else to do, the more you watch that stupid brightly colored ball dance across the top of the water, your eyes will start to play tricks on you.
“Holy crap, its moving. It’s being dragged. I must have hooked Nessie. Or a Shark. Someone call Jeremy Wade, this is a real….no. Wait. Never mind. Damn.”
Every time you start to reel the line in and your hook drags ever so slightly across a rock or stick on the bottom, you immediately go to combat mode, a part of your mind rejecting the fact that you’re snagged, and just for a split second, entertains the idea that you’ve just hooked onto something that will have your grinning face splattered across the internet with some living dinosaur. When reality crushes back to you, all you’re left with is a stuck line that will more than likely have to be cut, and irritation at having to string new tackle. Not to mention the disappointment that comes from knowing you won’t be getting calls for interviews on the Today Show for the catch of a lifetime.
But worse than fishing is hunting. Ever sit under a tree just before sunup in temperatures that make your home’s furnace work a marathon shift to keep the inside of your house at a survivable level? No? Try it some time.
Sometime around the first hour or so, or right at sunup, whichever comes first- depending how early you go out- you will begin to hear things. Something to your left just beyond those pine trees just cracked. It was a big crack too, It has got to be the King of the Forest. Wait! Behind me! A rustle in the dry leaves! I know for sure this has to be the mythical beast, the 75-point buck that legends talk of, the majestic beast that is the only creature capable of walking with such restless abandon through the woods because what other animal would DARE disturb him? And HES RIGHT BEHIND ME!
Turns out its a squirrel, doing something with his nuts.
Still, you just managed to waste perfectly good energy and adrenaline on a rodent.
This is what I mean. As enjoyable as these activities are, when you’re bad at them, such as I am, by the time you get home, you’re exhausted from having gone on a roller-coaster ride of emotion every time you heard a twig snap or saw your bobber dip under a slight ripple on the water.
I swear this is all true, and not just an excuse I am making up to justify to my coming home from recreational activities and taking a nap on the couch.