I have an infamous line that I use every now and then with presumptuous acquaintances who don’t know me well at all or friends who are intimately familiar with my likes and dislikes. The beauty of it lies in its “I have no time for B.S.” simplicity. You can’t go using it without care, because it’s effectiveness is all in the delivery. This little jewel can either alienate or endear.
Here’s one memorable instance. It wasn’t the first and surely won’t be the last. Chances are, if I use it on you, you’re someone special.
A friend of mine owns the top outdoor expedition and adventure company in central Florida. For years, “Bob” has taken thousands of tourists paddling and canoeing on the state’s waterways. He’s very good at it as he used to work for the Sierra Club before striking out on his own.
Bob needed some branding done for his company, so we got together, he familiarized me the ins and outs of his business. He was an excellent client, followed my design suggestions without much resistance, had a few good ideas of his own, and to top it all off—he rendered payment way early.
Over the course of the project, Bob saw the humor in a guy named Clay Rivers working on projects for a canoe-/kayaking company and hinted that I should accompany him and few friends canoeing on a day trip, or see some bioluminescent wildlife on a night paddle, or even try out full moon paddle. I graciously declined and gave excuses like work demands or other responsibilities that I needed to tend to. Truth is I had no intention of ever setting foot in a canoe. (And, I’ll have you know that I’m a very good swimmer, so get that biased thought out of your head.)
Here’s a few of the reasons for my reluctance to go on a water expedition.
Now, I’m a native Floridian and have a limited knowledge of Florida’s waterways; but there are a few things I know for sure.
- I have a fear of alligators. They live in practically every fresh water body of water in the state—including a few pools, bathtubs, and toilets. No joke.
- Alligators are carnivores. And as a vertically challenged male, I’m not about trying to become an amuse bouche for a gator.
- Mosquitoes love me. I don’t know what it is about me, but if I’m outside on a summer night with my arms and legs exposed, if there’s a mosquito within fifty yards of, it finds me.
- I don’t love mosquitos. Their bites swell to size of a small grape on me.
- And for the above reasons alone, I’m an indoor kid.
So … after a very public invitation public to go on a complimentary weekend canoeing trip, and before I knew it, this little gem fell out of mouth and the affect was like lobbing a hand grenade lobbed into an afternoon tea party—
“I want to spend time with you, but not *that* much time with you.”
Time stopped. And laughter ensued.
Bob still invites me on trips in the hopes my resolve will cave in and also to if my side-eye game is as good as it used to be.
P.S. If you’re ever in Florida and are interested in experiencing the best of Florida’s waterways, let me know. I’ll hook you up.