Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Paddling One Morning

I went dragon boating this morning, dragging myself out of bed at 4 a.m. to catch the 5 a.m. call time. Having been inactive for almost half a year, I decided it was high time for me to train again and regain my place in the team.

Dragon boating isn’t something that one may instantly like. For one, waking up at the crack of dawn only to find yourself paddling in the murky waters of Manila Bay doesn’t seem like a good idea to start your day. Fact is, you may have to subordinate some of your priorities if you want to focus on the training. You know, like giving up Friday night socials and rescheduling sex.

Oh yes, you give up these things in exchange for blisters on your butt and fingers and muscle pains on your back and shoulders. And then you cram yourself in the lone restroom within a ten-mile radius along with a hundred or so people for a quick wash (there’s no shower, you make do with garden hose).

The benefits are mostly abstract. Like an expanded social life. But you start to have profound and scintillating conversations.

I arrived 5 minutes past the call time and Frodo was already there.

Frodo Baggins: “Oh wow, is this for real? Showing up only because you want to tour China, don’t you?”

Frodo, that’s a rhetorical question.

Me: “Then you’re going to compete in Boracay?

Frodo: “My family will start disowning me if I do that”

While paddling, we idly passed some fisherman catching fish with some spear and what appears to be a net bag.

The discussion continues and becomes more thought-provoking:

Me: “Where’d he put his catch? He doesn’t have a cooler or an ice bucket!”

Frodo: “Let’s ask him”.

Helga: “Prepare for power long, NOWW!”

At this point, I overreached my right arm and hit Frodo’s right shoulder, leaving a red mark.

Frodo: “What the…”

Later, Rambo the pacer gets transferred from the front to my back. And promptly hit my right shoulder with his arms, leaving scratch marks.

Rambo: “Oops, my fault”.

I was about to say something, but realized that Rambo’s large frame and swarthy figure means he must have seen combat in Vietnam in the 70’s.

Me: “Oh, It’s OK”.

In the restroom-cum-shower room, Bart Simpson gets fascinated by my “erect” nipples and keeps on pinching it. I swear to God I’m not aroused. That’s just how it looks, dammit.

Me, flinching: “You’re an asshole!”

Bart merely replied with a hearty laugh, grinning like a tasmanian devil.