At this point in my life, I am not at all comfortable prancing around in my bathing suit. To prevent mishap, men turning to stone, and children having nightmares of my rhinoceros legs, I much prefer to be viewed or photographed fully-clothed, wearing a furry, winter coat...in a shadow somewhere, with someone strategically positioned in front of me.
Recently, on a camping weekend, my husband, Fred, found a place to go “tubing” on a river. I have never “tubed” before, but as it was described, it sounded harmless and fun.
“You’ll have to leave your belongings locked in your car,” the clerk said, “and walk your tubes down to the river.”
“Along that busy street?”
Holding a tube over my head, wearing just a bathing suit was uncomfortable enough, but, wearing just my bathing suit marching along a busy highway was going a...little...too...far. But...my daughter, Krista, had already begun the trek down the road, followed closely by Fred. I tried to hold the tube at my side so at least the drivers would be shielded from me...but I dropped the tube... and had to bend over to pick it up. A car horn honked...and then brakes screeched. With my un-tan, poultry-white leg-skin, I must have looked like a tailless, albino mare.
“What IS that?” I imagined the driver saying to his passenger.
“That’s something’s ass.”
I was relieved once we reached the river--I wouldn’t be as “visible” on the water. Fred flopped into his tube, floundered a bit, and then opted for the prone position. I plopped onto my tube, my knees wide apart and pressed against my stomach like a "Butterball" ready to be trussed. The last time I was in this position, someone was shouting “Push!”
“This is NOT a good look for me!” I called to Fred, and repeated the “Shrek” Donkey line, “I feel all EXPOSED...and NASTY. I was a parade balloon minus ropes and helium.
The river was “low” due to a lack of rainfall. I could float for about 5 feet before my butt crashed into a protruding rock. By now, my 10-year-old was floating WAY ahead of us...alone. The only way to catch up was to "lift and release" the heavier parts that were getting stuck on the river bottom. These “Butt Lifts” made me think of Jane Fonda in her 1980s leg-warmers, saying, “Feel the burn.” The main difference between Jane’s glut-squeezes and my “Tube Maneuver” was that SHE had TIGHTS ON under her leotard! When I “hiked it up,” I prayed that my suit stayed in place, but I REALLY couldn’t tell...and I HAD to get to my daughter.
When the river bended, we got out and boarded the bus that returned us to our car. Towel-less and sore, I gave up trying to cover myself. In the bus seat, Fred pointed to my chest. Momentarily flattered, I looked down, and realized one of the under-wires from my bathing suit bra had sprung free and protruded in a half-moon up to my neck.
“Mom, what’s that?” Krista asked.
“All that’s left of my dignity.”