When put in a tough spot, people react differently. Some panic and make matters worse, some remain calm and search for a solution, and others resign in defeat. The first and third reactions only delay success. It’s the ones who remain calm, stay focused and work hard who get out of the tough spot the quickest. I typically transition between the three reactions based on how challenging the situation is. Luckily, he is one of the few people who is resourceful, persistent and doesn’t waste time panicking in tough spots. When Friday’s dilemma occurred, however, all bets were off.
I went to visit my boyfriend for the weekend. He and his brother purchased two jet-skies a month or two prior, and we planned to take them out on Lake Perry Friday afternoon. The weather was hot and sunny, and we knew the lake would provide the relief we desperately needed. After filling them up at the gas station, we cruised down the road toward the lake. Being an excellent driver, he backed the trailer into the lake just enough so I could board my jet-ski and hold the other in place while he parked the truck. Holding onto a jet-ski while holding onto the dock was no small task. The wind produced some small waves, which made it crucial for me to hold on for dear life so I didn’t float away with both jet-skis.
When he returned and jumped on his jet-ski, we took off around the lake. The waves, as I mentioned, were very active that afternoon. When the jet-skis made contact, water was thrusted into our faces, but we didn’t mind. Traveling at high speed, crashing into oncoming waves was exhilarating. Every time I hit a wave and was air-bound for a few seconds, I screamed! This was only the second time I’d been on a jet-ski. The first was several weeks before when we ventured up the river, connected to the lake, on the back of one jet-ski. After cruising around the lake, we decided to revisit the river.
We took off in that direction, crossing under the bridge, when out of the corner of my eye I saw him stop. Immediately, I slowed down and turned off my jet-ski. What’s wrong? He informed me that he couldn’t move. What do you mean you can’t move? He said he thought he was stuck on something. About a minute later, we discovered both jet-skis were stuck in mud. After he dismounted to check his jet-ski, I did the same. The moment my foot touched the water it sunk about 6-8 inches into the mud. At this point, I started to internally panic. I looked around. We weren’t close to land and there was no way anyone on a boat could help because then they’d be stuck too. We were totally alone.
The only thing we could do was start pushing. To no one’s surprise, the jet-skis were not light and the mud was not quick to lighten its grip on them. I felt like I was standing in quick sand. The mud was slippery and heavy, which made walking and staying upright difficult. For the next hour we pushed. At some point, my boyfriend walked back toward the bridge to see how far the mud extended. Let’s just say it was more than 50 feet. Once he got his jet-ski far enough, he came back to help me… the one of us who was truly struggling. I’d never felt so weak in my life. My arms and legs were burning, and I felt out of breath and exhausted. Having two people push one jet-ski was a lot easier, and once we got them far enough he checked the bottoms for mud and then told me to start mine. It worked. I waited in anticipation as he started his. It also worked. There was a huge sigh of relief from both of us.
We both took off toward the dock and loaded the jet-skis onto the trailer. With remnants of mud and lake water still stuck to our swimsuits, we returned to the house and jumped in the shower to wash off the horrendous afternoon. Exhaustion did not even begin to describe how we felt. We were both relieved it was over, but upset it happened in the first place. We never should’ve gone up the river. We should’ve stayed in the lake. Then he said something that made me smile, “This means we can get through anything together.” That was absolutely true.