So I spent this weekend at my family reunion, which was 1) very charming, and 2) featured (as life so often seems to do) a convergence of many Important Events—four new babies (either already present and wearing fetching floral rompers or Coming Very Soon to A Family Near You—or more accurately, Near Me), two wedding anniversaries, and one shiny new engagement.
One of the activities at said family reunions (apart from the eating, my goodness—the eating) is taking tubes, canoes, kayaks, or whatever one’s watercraft of choice might be down the (very mild) rapids which a river in Pennsylvania can boast. As I floated in a tube (my watercraft of choice – for me, kayaks = high probability of drowning and canoes = too hard for my spaghetti-like arms to wield successfully) on the aforementioned Pennsylvania river, through the aforementioned (very mild) rapids, I was having a “ 'I love my life exactly the way it is, but my, aren’t babies cute and engagement rings pretty?' [insert slightly wistful sigh here]” moment, when two blokes in a canoe pulled up alongside me and asked (I kid thee not, I wish I’d had a waterproof tape recorder with me so I could prove it to you), “Do you need rescuing, little lady?”
Leaving aside the facts that these blokes were 1) smoking as they canoed, 2) had a dog in the canoe with them (and a big dog, at that), and 3) actually did apply the label “little lady” to me (even though I am demonstrably not little, and arguably not a lady), the thing that struck me the most about this incident was how darned unreal it felt. It felt like something that was happening, not to me, but rather something that had happened to an SATC character at some point during the show’s run, in an episode which I now only dimly remembered.
These gents seemed way too much like they’d been placed on the river by central casting, and given their lines by an SATC scriptwriter. (“Get it, when they ask her if she needs to be rescued, they’re partly talking about her incompetent self trying to pretend she knows what she’s doing tubing, but they’re also asking if she needs to be rescued in the Deep, Philosophical Sense, as a childless, single lass drifting she knows not where on the River of Life. You see? SYMBOLISM. POETRY.”)
Thrown into such an SATC-like situation, how does one respond? If playing the role of Samantha, one would, of course, rapidly seduce (and equally rapidly abandon) one (or both?) of the canoers. If playing the role of Miranda, one would instantly develop a neurosis about this challenge to one’s athletic prowess/overall competence, which would subsequently need to be addressed through extensive therapy. If playing the role of Charlotte, one would convince oneself that one had fallen in love with one of the canoers at first sight, and proceed to daydream about a future spent living in a charming tree-ringed cabin with him, and, presumably, the dog as well.
If playing the role of Carrie, one would probably do what I did, which was to say, “No, thanks, I think I can make it on my own,” continue on my way, and then go home and write about it all.
Which, even though I got a bit scraped up and bruised in transit, is exactly what I did.