on piddling

So, for the record, I don’t piddle around. I do my job. Efficiently, quickly, and to the best of my knowledge. I don’t take half an hour to fold the shirts in the store. I don’t sweep leaves off picnic tables one by one just to look like I’m doing something. I don’t take an hour to sweep the store.

The “store manager”* told me today to piddle. The boss told me to piddle two days ago. But I don’t know how to piddle. One day, I might work on restocking, reordering, and rearranging — and it might keep me busy the entire day…but no longer. And seeing as I work five days a week, that leaves a lot of time between trips to…piddle.

I was told I’m not allowed to finish my work quickly and efficiently and then read on the porch, as I have done for as long as I’ve worked in the store. The owner of our company is not allowed to see me reading a book…

…even if he gave me a reading recommendation for while I wait on guests to get back from the river. And even if he complimented me on how clean and orderly the store has been lately.

Yesterday I tried to piddle around for lunch and try to make it last an hour so I would have less time to piddle around in the store.

I was gone twenty minutes. Instead of the five I usually take.

Of course, others are allowed to sit around without working. The photo girl talks to her mom. The manager sleeps in the office. The other store girl colors. They just sleep and chat and color while no one’s looking, and the moment someone’s around, the jump to attention and do the work they were supposed to be doing all along.

And if someone’s down here — a photo girl or another store girl — then I’m allowed to sit on the porch and talk with them. But if no one else is here? I am not allowed to read.

I don’t piddle very well.

***

*I quote the title store manager here because she only works one day a week and she doesn’t really know what’s going on in the store. She merely tells me what I’ve done wrong…even though it’s usually already fixed…and then leaves for her full-time “real” job.

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moon light swimming

Bull Sluice. Night time, with at-least-mostly-full moon.

Approaching the river, the roar is deafening. Raising your voice to converse with your companions, or — better yet —  drown in sound of crashing water.

The water gleams in a contrast of black and white, where the ripples don’t glimmer bright white like  in sunlight, but pale silver in the dim moonlight. Unearthly.

Stripping down for swimming, the dark provides only minimal privacy, with the moonlight (or headlights) stealing any semblance of night time away. But there’s an unstated respect among fellow dippers — something to do with the magic of the place at night.

Going without glasses makes it all blurry, giving it an even more ethereal sense, and you have to feel your way around rocks and cracks and crevices to make your way to the water. Dark blurs into light, making the whole river  and the people and the trees all one continuous shape made of dark and light amorphous blobs.

The water’s cool, and unknown objects brush against your legs — fish, trees, rocks, other legs…who knows. The current pulls at you in all different directions. Swimming across the current is more a test of your feeling for water than your knowledge of the area. And then jumping off the rock, five feet down until you hit water, another ten feet down with the current, brushing smooth rocks and little pebbles at the bottom, with hair and limbs in all different directions.

And then sitting on the rocks to dry off. Finding your glasses to look at the stars while the chill of water not really evaporating but sitting and running and pooling, cooling the skin, makes little bumps raise all over. Just sit in silence and appreciate the awe and power and beauty of rushing water. Night time. Moon light. Friends.

on communities

Brace yourselves — it’s a long post.

I’ve been traveling a bit between communities for the past couple of weeks — spending all my working hours with raft guides, then going to Atlanta for some dancing. Honestly, it’s sometimes like a culture shock — one minute I’m among those who cuss and tell rancid jokes and flash their titties…the next minute, I’m among…well…let me explain. Continue reading

adventures with juju-bees and trenchcoats

Yesterday, I took some good friends rafting: Maurissa, or “Juju-bee,” and Shelby, or “Trenchcoat.” Four-ish years ago, we all came up to my house and Evan gave my friends these strange little nicknames. Ever since, we’ve been pretty fantastic friends — there’s been road trips, dressing up as anime characters, renting an apartment together, and getting lost in Atlanta together…but until this past weekend, there hadn’t ever been rafting. So we changed that!

Juju moved to Atlanta recently, and Trenchcoat came to visit after recently breaking up with her boyfriend…and so yeah. We went on adventures. We went down to Seven Foot Falls to see the rapid and swim in the water…but then had challenges getting back upstream, and very nearly didn’t make it. And we went hiking, and we ate some sketchy mexican food…

But really, the rafting was the best. Fan-freaking-tastic. I really wasn’t sure how well they’d do — I knew Shelby wasn’t that strong, and Maurissa’s always complained a little bit about unconventional things, like having to use the restroom in the woods…but hot damn, we did it. Of course, we went the wrong way down 7Foot, and our ferry at the Hairy Ferry was a little…well, there was a moment we might not have made it…but damn if we didn’t rock it at Jawbone and make a sweet run at Entrance. Sean was our guide all day, and he really is a spectacular guide.

Two-Step helped us at Jawbone, or we probably wouldn’t have had enough power to get through — he was originally going to bow guide, and when it was decided that he would just paddle with us, I told him he “there was space between my legs for [him] any day.” He blushed and ducked his head, I laughed — I have no interest in Two-Step, as he dates a good friend of mine and…well, the bum and broke raft guides are a trap I’m wary of…but it was worth it to see him blush.

I guided a raft through the puppy shoot when we skirted Sock’em’Dog (too high to run at 1.85′), and it made me miss rafting with an intensity I hadn’t really registered until I was scrambling to stay in the raft as I went down a steep 10′ slide.

And then we took the motorboat ride out, and I sunbathed on the raft and joked with the guides and admired a blue heron on the side of the lake…all in all, a fantastic day.

Juju and Trenchcoat left that evening for Atlanta, promising to come back and go rafting again soon. It really was a fantastic day — I love when I get to take friends rafting.