Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rollin' on a Rver

Over the weekend The Husband and I went river tubing. No, this isn’t the sport where you’re pull behind a boat. River tubing consists of laying in an inner tube and drinking while the current takes you slowly down the Guadalupe River. That's it.

There is no way this would ever be a sport in Cleveland. Clevelanders cannot be trusted to drink responsibly in public. Someone would die during a tragic drinking accident and they’d put up guard rails along the river or something (ahem, The Flats, I'm lookin' at you).

But here in Texas? It’s encouraged to drink in public. In large quantities. They sell beer by the 48-pack. And…get this… It's illegal to bring containers smaller than 5 ounces, Too many people were taking Jello shots and casting the cups along their way down the river - thus clogging up drain pipes. So, you can bring your Jello shots - and we were the only ones without them - but they have to be in larger cups. People, this issue was the top story on the 5:00 news last week. It’s a huge deal.

We brought a measily 12-pack of Miller Lite and the woman renting us the tubes was all, “That’s it?” She gave us a tube cooler to keep the beer cold. Little did I know just how “serious” of a sport this is around here. I compare it to tailgating in the Muni lot. There were chicken wings, sandwiches, round coolers specifically made to fit inside of a tube, tubes with speakers blaring country music (sigh), tube-top GRILLS – even bumper stickers FOR the cooler that says “I’d rather be toobin’” (yes, they spell it that way).

It’s a surreal feeling when you know everyone around you had the same thought you did when they got up: “Hey, I don’t have anything better to do on a sunny 100-degree summer day, why not float on a river?” The feeling of camaraderie just would not happen in Ohio where people tend to stick to themselves or in their groups. Every once in a while your tube would wander into someone else’s party and instead of exchanging apologetic looks, you exchange friendly heys and where-y’all-froms.

By the way, almost everyone on that river that day had an Ohio connection – and they all thought I knew that person because, you know, how big can Ohio be? People actually live there? That’s another thing: South Texans cannot comprehend life below 50 degrees. They go to the beach for Thanksgiving because there are less tourists and they hang Christmas lights on their palm trees in the front yard. They’ve heard of snow and have seen it once or twice in their lives but they can’t imagine voluntarily living in a region where you can only pull out the tank tops about three months out of the year.

And after last Saturday, neither can I.

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