Dangerous Conditions

February 19, 2012

I take great pleasure in the little things in life. Greater, perhaps, than the ever-suffering Mr. Bill, who can’t understand the ‘shock and awe’ of my constant mis-reading of signs and even deems it a ‘malady’ that I apparently ‘suffer from’. But to my mind – NOBODY is suffering ‘cept for Mr. Bill. I TOTALLY find delight in the unexpected possibilities of my everyday world. And NOBODY is gonna talk me out of it, either!

Take a recent outing to the beach, for example. We parked overlooking the Russian River and everything looked pretty calm and sedate until I espied a warning sign posted right in front of the parking lot that we had better pay close attention to.

Admittedly it held more verbiage than the usual warning sign should; but what caught my eye was it’s surprisingly ominous admonition:

“WARNING: DANGEROUS DRAGONS exist in the waters at the mouth of the Russian River at certain times!”

I was on immediate Red Alert, scouring sky and waters in hopes of achieving my lifelong dream: to See a Dragon. A passion that was only equaled by my second lifelong dream: to OWN a dragon. (Or it could own me. I wasn’t a picky person. That’s the SOLE reason I agreed to ownership of the 2.5 acres of land Bill insisted on. The fact that he envisioned ‘vineyard’ where I definitely saw ‘dragon farm’ didn’t alter the fact that we were strangely united in the land purchase piece.)

Poor Bill was totally puzzled by my sudden neck-craning and uncommon agitation.

Peanut Gallery: WHAT is the matter?

Me: NOTHING is “the matter”! I’m about to achieve my lifelong dream! Any MINUTE now! (BTW: do we have any rope in the back? Something THICK? I’ll need something to LASSO ‘em with.)

The Peanut Gallery confirmed the sad lack of proper dragon emergency equipment in his vehicle even as he queried me again and, impatient at being interrupted in my task, I waved to the sign smack in front of our car as evidence. Quietly he read it; then:

Bill: I don’t get it.           

Me: The only thing you have to be concerned about actually GETTING is MY DRAGON.

Bill: ??

Me: The National Park Service does not lie. They are PROFESSIONALS. If they say there are dragons in the mouth of the river…by George, there be dragons. (Um – do you think the coffee place over there has ROPE? This must happen a LOT if they put up a sign. Maybe it’s a breeding ground?)

Bill (re-reading the sign in a double-check just to be sure. Because, as my mother says, you just never know.): There is Absolutely NOTHING about dragons on this sign!

Ready to prove otherwise, I insultingly and slowly read the sign aloud, as if to a small word-challenged child, before finding myself blindsided by reality (…something that OFTEN happens to me.):

“WARNING: DANGEROUS CONDITIONS exist in the waters at the mouth of the Russian River at certain times!”

Hmm. My second reading was DEFINITELY nowhere as exciting as the first.

And my backpedaling attempt “I TOTALLY KNEW THAT” wouldn’t fly with the Peanut Gallery, who was now (unsupportively) rolling with laughter in the seat beside me.

That’s ok. For a few moments I had the thrill of a lifetime. Dragons or not, the possibility was RIGHT THERE. At The Mouth of the Russian River. In PRINT. Information backed by the power and wisdom of National Park Service itself.

It was like God came down and painted reality purple.

But that was nothing compared to the coupon for an advanced photography class that I haughtily turned down, much to the puzzlement of my photographer friend who listened to me rail on about it for about 10 minutes before he intervened.

My friend may have thought it quite the bargain; but I could never really imagine myself getting immersed in a ‘Low-Life Imaging’ expedition for budding photographers. Skulking around the alleyways of San Francisco risking life and limb learning how to snag a mug shot of the drunker side of town without getting killed was just NOT my cuppa tea, bargain coupon or not.

(Low-LIGHT, you say? THAT was a different matter. More boring, but likely to earn more takers.)

Still … it could prove a useful skill.

For photographing my dragon.

‘Cause…. aren’t they nocturnal?


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