Uncharted waters

Our canoe was drawing attention from other people

Being the person in the middle comes with its own challenges. You pray that the two people at either end are not at odds with each other.

Recently, I had gone canoeing with my family where I found myself sandwiched between my husband and daughter. As the guide settled us into a canoe, he gave us a list of dos and don’ts. At the last minute, my daughter insisted on coming with us instead of canoeing with another girl who was her own age.

“You sit in the middle and enjoy the ride,” insisted my husband as I gave a forlorn look at the paddle in my hand. My husband decided to take the helm much to my daughter’s disappointment.

When the canoe moved away from the shore, a volley of instructions sailed back and forth over my head. The paddles were pushed against the water. In a few moments, the first sign of discord began to appear between the partners.

“You’re paddling the wrong way” my daughter argued. “How are we going to get this canoe moving in the right direction?” “Just follow my lead,” my husband spoke loudly as he began to paddle hard. Much to his dismay, the canoe began moving sideways.

As if the darn thing was tired of the ruckus onboard, our canoe had come to a standstill. We were now stuck in shallow water with stones hindering our movement. My husband stepped out of the canoe and pushed it hard, away from the shore. He now planned a strategy with his apprentice at the rear. “We don’t want to veer off course this time.”

He now planned a strategy with his apprentice at the rear. “We don’t want to veer off course this time.” I tried hard not to roll my eyes at the theatrics. Despite different tactics on my husband’s part, the result was no different. All this paddling from one bank of the river to the other reminded me of a peculiar habit of my husband.

Whenever we went for a brisk walk together, he would walk from one end to the other in a criss-cross motion ahead of me. “I’m getting extra steps here!” was his reasoning. Our canoe was certainly drawing a lot of attention from other people who were canoeing.

“We’re having the time of our lives!” declared the couple who pulled alongside us in their canoe. Noticing the smug look on their faces, I assumed they were referring to their ride when they continued, “It was so much fun just watching your canoe move from one side to the other that we stopped paddling!”


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