No one in the boat

A friend of mine likes to exercise by taking out his small rowing boat on the nearby river.  On some days my friend would venture up the river as far as possible.  That far up, the river narrows to really just a wide creek and navigating between the rocks becomes difficult.

Some time ago, my friend had gone as far as he could and on the way back down the river noticed that there was another rowing boat coming up the river.  The other boat was in the middle of the river and because the river at that point was particularly narrow, my friends boat could not easily fit past.  So my friend asked the man in the other boat if he could move over.  Apparently the man in the other boat took no notice, so my friend became somewhat annoyed and asked again for the man to move other. My friend could not believe that someone could be so mean. Needless to say, the conversation became rather heated for awhile before my fiend was able to push past.  My friend was understandably very upset about all this and it was some time before they ventured that far up the river again.

Anyway, the very next time going far up the river, coming back down, my friend was startled to find at that very same narrow part of the river as before, that another rowing boat was again blocking the middle part of the river. This time however, there was no one in the other boat, so my friend thought about what to do and decided to squeeze past this boat that was blocking the way as this was how my friend successfully navigated past the previous blocking boat. The only difference of course was that there was no one in the other boat to argue with.

Now my friend wants me to help find out who let that boat float on the river with no one in it, causing  navigation issues.  I don’t know what to say to my friend, they are my friend after all.

When I suggest we do something else instead with our time, my friend gets rather annoyed that these other people, “get away wit it”, and that they should not be allowed too. “Something has to be done about it” and my dear friend feels they have to find out who it is and get an apology or something else, I know not what.

What I have noticed though is that I am seeing much less of my friend lately who appears to be getting much fitter, spending everyday lately rowing on the river hoping to meet the owner of that boat, that had no one in it.

I miss spending quiet times with my friend and when I do see them, I know not what to say.  Any mention of talking or doing anything else much, just results in my friend becoming angry and feeling unsupported.  I manage at least, to stay calm and listen, but I fear this is not helping either and my friends energetic efforts just goes on and on, forever perhaps.

At the beginning, when they first told me what happened, I suggested a few possible reasons why someone might have left the boat empty, like they fell out and drowned, but this did not appease my friend as they think that news should have come out.  In my friends words, they must explain what happened and apologize and my friend was not going to let it go, no matter what.  They were wrong, simple as that.

Being in a small town, I know others that go rowing regularly on this river.  Many I have noticed, no longer go rowing there. 

Upon making discreet inquires, these people tell me they are sick of being interrogated and hammered by someone to join a group to track down a person who left a boat drift unattended. They tell me this person is there everyday and blocking the narrow pass in the river to ask anyone going through, what they know of the person that was not in a boat sometime ago, letting them know what a problem this boat owner was to the river.  Obviously, this was my still annoyed friend.  Apparently, anyone who did not agree my friend received a mouthful

of abuse.  I knew my friend was determined and by now, would never give up.  As time goes by though, I have noticed less and less people row on the river.  I mentioned to my friend that I had heard some people complain that this was nuts.  But my friend just says, “Good, This

The River

should force the person responsible out!”.  Quoting my friend exactly, as I have heard it often enough, they say “I really don’t care what some stranger on the river thinks of my intellect for expressing an opinion on the controversy.  “Assuming they do care”, argues my friend, “I couldn’t possibly consider them an intellectual equal until they demonstrate a fuller understanding of the issue they are complaining about. After all, there’s nothing complicated about it”.

Givin that this unknown person hasn’t come back, when I ask my friend where is the problem, my friend just gets mad and says they, as a good parent, they would never be such a bad example to their children, by not explaining and apologizing for what happened.  So my friend continues to have their reasons for stopping the rowing in the river and by now, I guess the owner of the deserted boat probably now knows my friends reasons for stopping visitors to the river.   

In the mean time, I remain glad that this person who left their boat drift unattended, for whatever reason, I am grateful they ( or anyone else for that matter ) have not instigated actions against my friend in retaliation for basically single handedly stopping most of the river passage.

More recently ( mostly at night when I am contemplating the imminent possibility of sleeping ) it has occurred to me that might know someone who is considering buying a boat, or at least, a canoe, for the exercise. I am now tempted to encourage them to take it up, and paddle up the river to where it narrows, at the time of day I know my friend goes.

I can’t help imagining how that would pan out, especially if I ask this other person ( on my behalf, saying it would help me find my lost boat ) to tell my friend they lost their previous boat on that river some time ago and to ask my friend if they have ever seen it.

Makes me laugh, just thinking about it.

© 2017, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.