My family-in-law bought a boat this past weekend. It is speedy and big enough to fit 10 people at once. The kids were in heaven and the men immediately became expert Boat Captains who didn't need sunscreen because they were so used to life on the water.
After an hour or so of zipping around the river and feeling the wind cool our bodies in the 90 degree heat, the kids requested to go tubing. I haven't participated in any water sports in a very long time. But when I was a kid, I could get up on skis, circle boards, and knee boards. Tubing was just a fun little ride. I'd put on that old hard-foam, slippery life jacket (remember those, like the pic?) and jump in the water without even thinking. I'd flip around and fall and laugh. There were so many fabulous days spent water-logged and sunburned.
So when my niece-in-law asked me if I would be her tubing partner, I immediately said yes. I'm a cool aunt-in-law! I jumped into the water without hesitation. I flopped into the giant tube with her and laughed at the prospect of how fun this would all be. The boat slowly pulled away from us and I explained to her to keep her body up and to hold on to those handles. We both squealed with excitement.
The boat started moving and we started skipping over the water in our tube. We giggled each time the tube plopped down in the water and we lost our balance. I tickled her feet to make her wiggle in the tube and get splashed! Oh, what a great memory!!
And then the boat sped up.
Within about 6 seconds, both of our faces went from pure elation to complete horror. We had no control of our bodies and the water whipped our legs like we'd been bad. Our tube skidded over wakes and waves and our bodies hit the sides so hard we lost our breath. I tried to continue laughing to keep her calm, but my laughter just started sounding like a maniacal scream. Within about a minute, her little body slid to the bottom of the tube and directly underneath me. Her face looked up at me like, "HELP! DANGER! SAVE ME! NOT A FUN GAME!" I gave the signal for stop, which is the same signal as "I'm going to slit your throat if you don't shut it off". Everyone on the boat proceeded to give me the thumbs up. Apparently, they didn't see what I was doing because I was bouncing so forcefully I couldn't steady my hands. My niece started to get tears in her eyes, but I'm guessing she didn't cry because she couldn't breathe. I started flailing my arms around my neck. I made slitting motions, hanging motions, and probably did the Macarena at one point trying to gain their attention.
About 7 hours later, they slowed the boat down and we both sat up. We slowly pulled ourselves back up on the boat and promptly laid down for the next hour. It was nothing like I remembered and I'm pretty sure nothing I'll ever do again.
Shortly after my brother-in-law said, "I think we need to blow it up some more." Yep. That's it. It wasn't fun because the tube should be blown up some more. Nothing to do with the near death experience that is tubing on the river.